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Trick Or Treat

Trick Or Treat

By Patrick Samuel • February 26th, 2014
Static Mass Rating: 3/5
De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

Original release: October 24th, 1986
Running time: 98 minutes

Director: Charles Martin Smith
Writers: Rhet Topham, Joel Soisson, Michael S. Murphey

Cast: Marc Price, Tony Fields, Lisa Orgolini, Doug Savant

Trick Or Treat

We all have our own private idols. When I was teenager and growing up in a town where I felt nothing but alienation and with a family who couldn’t understand me, it was James Dean I looked up to. I’d write in my journal how we would’ve been such great friends and how I understood him. Meanwhile, others were growing up with their own idols like Elvis, Marilyn, Cubain, Hendrix, Joplin and Mama Cass… So what makes a good idol? Well, for starters they’re usually dead, cut down in their prime, thus cementing their legendary status and usually they have something we can either identify with or aspire to. I guess that’s where we begin with this 80s cult horror gem, Trick Or Treat.

Having stumbled upon it late one night when I couldn’t sleep, I was surprised that I missed it completely during the 80s, 90s and 00s as it had everything I usually enjoy in movies – horror, high school and a fantastic soundtrack. Taking the lead is Marc Price, he immediately looked familiar and at first I couldn’t remember where from, but eventually it came to me – he played Skippy on Family Ties! In Trick Or Treat he plays Eddie Weinbauer, a high school outcast who’s shunned by his classmates because he doesn’t play sports, dress cool or like any of the same music they do. Instead he likes rock music and idolizes rock star Sammi Curr who once attended his high school before becoming famous.

Eddie not only spends most of his time listening to Sammi’s song, he also writes to him, confessing to him that they’re alike. Eddie sees himself as misunderstood, undervalued and underestimated by those around him. Like Sammi, he wants to be somebody and show them they’re all wrong. While he does have a couple of friends, including “Nuke” (Gene Simmons), a radio DJ who knows Sammi personally, Eddie’s pretty much on his own in his own little world, so when news of his idol’s sudden death in a fire appears on the TV news, naturally he’s distraught.

Trick Or Treat

To ease his pain, Nuke gives Eddie the only copy of Sammi’s last and only unreleased album, “Songs in the Key of Death”, on an acetate disc. Nuke copies the album for himself and plans to play it in its entirety on-air at midnight on Halloween as tribute, since according to Nuke, that was always Sammi’s plan for the album’s debut. Eddie spends the night listening to the album in his room and eventually dozes off. When he wakes he finds the record skipping, but with a specific phrase being repeated. It doesn’t sound right though, so he tries spinning it backwards and he hears Sammi speaking to him from beyond the grave!

From here on in, Trick Or Treat becomes a standard horror revenge film like Slaughter High which sees a high school nerd coming back to settle the score with his bullies. Yet there are some nice surprises including the appearance of dead Sammi, who now looks like a cross between Freddy Kreuger and Dr. Frank-N-Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and rock legends Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy plays Rev. Aaron Gilstrom who speaks out on TV about Sammi’s corruptive music and the effects it has on society. Oh the irony!

Tony Fields, a former Solid Gold dancer, does a great job of playing the sinister rock star. He’s menacing, dramatic and has the kind of stare that should’ve made Sammi one of the 80s best known horror icons, but perhaps that only happens with films that churn out four or five sequels per decade… Trick Or TreatNevertheless, he’s amazing to watch. While the film, and Sammi, does lose some of its edge as it approaches the inevitable final showdown, becoming as comical as one of the Nightmare On Elm Street films, it still holds together quite well in comparison to the dozens (possibly hundreds) of other horror films that came out around the same time.

It manages to balance horror, rock music, high school angst and blossoming teen lust all in just the right amounts, but what it misses is a truly unique showdown. The one we have takes place on Halloween night with the school dance being interrupted with an unscheduled performance by Sammi. Obviously, this leads to pandemonium but it’s hardly as horrifying as when Sammi reaches into a TV set and pulls out one of his critics. For all its build-up, the last act leaves us wanting more.

I’d still recommend seeing it though, very much so. I got a strong nostalgic whiff of the 80s while watching it, and Sammi is without a doubt an entertaining screen villain to match any of the Freddy, Jason or Michael wannabes that rampaged through our screens since the original horror icons spilled their first ounce of blood. As a said, we all have our idols!

Trick Or Treat

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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