‘Trick Or Treat,’ a Reminder of Eighties Fear of Heavy Metal

You may have seen this DVD cover on the cheap rack during Halloween time and wondered what it was. If you grew up in the eighties and like campy horror that doubles as a satire, then Trick Or Treat is for you. If features Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne on this particular version of the movie cover, but the main star of the movie is Marc Price–who?! Marc Price was “Skippy” the nerd from the sitcom series Family Ties. If you check out his Wiki page you can see he is not exactly a celebrated actor–which is nothing against him since Hollywood is brutal and I probably relate more to him because of it. Trick Or Treat is his one big film, and admittedly a bad one at that.

But it is a “good” bad film. It draws on the conservative Christian scare of the mid-eighties–HEAVY METAL! Parents were concerned their kids were turning into satanists, atheists, and witches because of bands like Kiss and Wasp to harder stuff like Slayer and Metallica. When you go back and listen to much of the lyrics you have to laugh at the hype. Much of the rock put out for mass teen consumption was like a comicbook script being put to music. And yet, as corny as metal bands could be, they were subversive and welcomed as a fresh of breath air against Reaganism and the Moral Majority.

Trick Or Treatactually starts out really strong with a tale of an outsider, a teen heavily bullied by preppy jocks. The scene where Marc Price’s character Eddie Weinbauer is dragged out of the boys locker room and left naked in front the girls playing in the gym is fairly heart wrenching. Especially when a cold-hearted girl takes a Polaroid of him cowering to mark the moment.

Unfortunately, the film spirals down into a ridiculous story of  a rock idol coming back from the dead wanting to kill everyone, which we can’t take seriously. Your viewing of this movie will be for campy satirical purposes only. Highlights are backmasking on a record telling Eddie how to get vengeance on his teen torturers, a bully’s date who is molested by the villainous Sammi Curr while listening to his music (as he apparently can turn into a demon) and Ozzy playing an evangelist, mocking the people who were out to get him at the time.

It’s easy to forget the past when Christians were so damned silly and easily offended. And it is hard not to be amused at the devil and obviously juvenile lyrics celebrating the devil. Christians still believe in the devil but you’ll notice that they try to redefine him as something we can accept–like he is disguised as the Pope or he influences us with an oppressing spirit or he is simply a metaphor. The devil’s literalness is fading despite apocalyptic Christians trying to revive his evil presence.

I’d put Trick Or Treat on your Halloween movie list. You can let your kids watch it too if they don’t laugh too much at the hair metal heroes depicted in the film. Sammi Curr, who turns evil, is a stereotype of every metal star that was played on MTV in the mid-eighties. I still listen to hair metal on occasion for nostalgic purposes and I have to admit I love hearing the lyrics sticking it to the preachers and stuffy conservatives. There’s better music out there of course but we all need to feed our past child sometimes.

One thought on “‘Trick Or Treat,’ a Reminder of Eighties Fear of Heavy Metal

  1. Yet another timely post. So excited about the fact that I joined your blog about 3 days ago, and I would suggest that other readers right now do the same. I’m sure, you will love it.

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