TRICK OF TREAT (1986)
Directed by Charles Martin Smith
Written by Rhet Topham (story), Michael S. Murphey & Joel Soisson (screenplay), James Wong & Glen Morgan (uncredited)
Starring Marc Price, Tony Fields, Lisa Orgolini, Doug Savant, Gene Simmons, Ozzy Osbourne
Nope, this isn’t Michael Dougherty’s recent horrific anthology TRICK R’ TREAT. This TRICK OR TREAT is an often awesome/often hilarious film about a dead rock star who returns from the grave to unleash some rock and roll mayhem!
Director Charles Martin Smith (who many will remember as the nebbish teen from AMERICAN GRAFFITI and the loner scientist in NEVER CRY WOLF) puts together a film with the most eclectic cast I’ve seen in a while. First off, it stars Marc Price, best known as Skippy from FAMILY TIES as Eddie, a teenage outcast who worships the music of Sammi Curr, played by former SOLID GOLD dancer Tony Fields. When Curr dies in a mysterious fire, Eddie is devastated. But rock and roll never dies and when Eddie is given one of Sammi’s final recordings, he finds out that the eternal soul of rock and roll isn’t just talk. Soon, Sammi is an electric god, shooting bolts of lightning from his guitar and forcing Eddie to play his final tape at the school Halloween dance. Nope, Sammi doesn’t want his songs to be played around the world. Nope. The school mixer will do. Shoot for the moon, Sammi!
Also in this cast is Glen Morgan who went on to pen some of the cooler X-FILES and FINAL DESTINATION. It turns out James Wong and him were uncredited script doctors on this film as well. Plus if you ever wanted to see Doug Savant from MELROSE PLACE and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES’ head go all ‘splody, this is the movie for you. Plus we’ve got cameos by a slender and slightly less arrogant Gene Simmons as a radio DJ and Ozzy Osbourne playing a rock and roll protester.
At times, there’s a lot of imagination to this film. Smith pulls out all of the stops and brings to life all of the rock and roll myths your mother warned you about with satanic incantations heard when played backwards, speakers and amplifiers morphing into veiny monstrosities, and demonic rockers leaping out of the radio to steal your soul. Then again, there are some unintentionally hilarious moments as Sammi electrocutes himself in a toilet and a nubile young nymph get seduced by a rock and roll Pazuzu looking demon. The effects by Kevin Yeager (who created the Crypt Keeper and a lot of the effects for Freddy Krueger) are pretty phenomenal from the death scenes to Sammi’s burn makeup.
The dated aspects of TRICK OR TREAT are what makes this film so hilarious. Eddie’s friend talks about just getting call-waiting. And music is played on cassette tapes and it’s just so precious. The feathered and hair sprayed hairstyles are a riot as well. TRICK OR TREAT was made in a time when everyone was trying to make their own slasher franchise with FRIDAY THE 13TH and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET flicks hitting the screens on an annual basis. Itself feels like a distant relative to Wes Craven’s SHOCKER in many ways, including the use of electricity as a weapon. In no way is this film a good film, but it is a fun one to unearth if you’re looking for an obscure Halloween treat by way of MTV’s Hairbangers Ball.