It's amazing that in my young teen years of gobbling up the '80s horror movies, I never quite took to the 1986 film Trick or Treat (not to be confused with the exceptional anthology film Trick 'r Treat which I've raved about far too often HERE).
I just recently revisited the film and though it's not a great example of a Halloween-themed film, it IS a perfect time-capsule of a movie that embodies everything about the mid-to-late '80s teen metal scene.
You'll find the following in Trick or Treat:
- The lead actor is Marc Price who played Skippy in the '80s Family Ties TV show.
- References to Satanism (which was a big scare back in the day) as it's implied that Sammi worshipped the devil and this is why he's able to come back to life and kill teens.
- Backwards masking - Also a big deal in the '80s. Religious groups were very concerned about hidden messages in metal music, that could only be heard when the record (yes, LP, kids) was played backwards. Sammi encodes a secret message in his very last recording.
- Sammi Curr (the 'villain') is half burned. (After A Nightmare on Elm Street became a hit, there was a small rush of slasher films that involved villains who had been horribly burned just like Freddy Krueger. See also Bad Dreams, The Horror Show, Shocker etc.)
- Eddie (the lead) has adorned his walls with posters of all the popular metal bands of the time. You'll find Judas Priest, Motley Crue, and a bunch of others.
- There are two cameos by rock legends Ozzy Osbourne (ironically as a preacher raging against heavy metal) and Gene Simmons (KISS) as the Wolfman Jack-type DJ who's a mentor to Eddie.
- The soundtrack by Fastway is exceptional and embodies everything great, terrible and trashy about metal glam music. It's all catchy if you liked that sort of thing and though it's original, it evokes Bon Jovi, Warrant and hundreds of other bands making it very familiar.
I think if anything had put me off on this movie, it's that the advertising makes it look like Halloween is a much more central part of this film than in actuality. Sure there's a Halloween dance/ball in the movie, and sure a jack o' lantern sits on the porch of Eddie, and sure Halloween figures into the plot (but with a plot hole: if a key moment is supposed to occur on Halloween at Midnight, wouldn't that technically be November 1st?), but the metal music storyline overpowers everything and Halloween takes a back seat.
So if the film isn't that great, and isn't a good example of a Halloween-themed film, why post about it?
Well, I wanted to talk about the exceptional poster.
Take a look at it to the left there.
The title of the film is scratched out in bright orange, complete with a decent looking jack o' lantern. On top of that, the grinning visage of a jack o' lantern is burned through the poster in the middle-- almost overpowering the image of rock-god Sammi Curr.
The actual film poster (see left here) had the Sammi/jack artwork and the slogan: "What are you afraid of? It's only rock & roll."
Which is all fine and good and very cool.
Seriously, if you stare at the DVD cover for 30 seconds you've already seen Ozzy longer than in the film.
Truth in advertising.
Gone are the Halloween themes, burned in jack o' lanterns, etc.
Do I what I did, use the cool movie poster to make your own DVD cover.
BUT... I have an ad that I carefully removed from a Circus or Hit Parader magazine from back in the day that had the same artwork and the much BETTER tag line of: "Sammi Curr is a rock and roll nightmare. His fans won't let him die. He won't let them live."
This is the same tag line used in the voice-over for the commercials and home video trailer. You can check that out HERE.
I don't know if there's such thing as an "internet first" but I think I may have it with this metal magazine ad. I've never seen this ad with the different tagline anywhere else on the Google tubes, so I think this might be a break-out HalloweenAddict.com EXCLUSIVE for the fans. I scanned it in hi-rez just click the image to make it bigger.
So in the end, this whole post was just a reason for me to share my ultra-rare vintage magazine ad for Trick or Treat.