The eighties were the golden age of heavy metal and horror movies. Occasionally the two worlds collided. One such union is the 1986 film, Trick or Treat.
Trick or Treat stars a metal fan named Eddie Weinbauer who goes by the nickname “Ragman.” As a freethinking outcast, Ragman endures constant torment at the hands of classmates. Heavy metal provides not only an escape from suburban hell, but instills hope in a post-high school existence.
Eddie takes inspiration from rocker Sammi Curr. An alumnus of Eddie’s high school, Curr found fame as a prominent musician before dying under mysterious circumstances in a hotel fire.
Sammi Curr soon connects with Eddie from beyond the grave! The recipient of an unreleased album, Curr first communicates with Ragman through a backwards message. With the aid of his mortal fan, Sammi gains strength before returning to unleash murderous mayhem.
The opening scene sets the stage for the movie. For the metal enthusiast, it’s fun to spot bands that adorn Ragman’s bedroom walls. There is a Judas Priest calendar and posters ranging from Anthrax to Twisted Sister.
The song in the background provides our first brush with heavy metal royalty. Fastway performed all songs in the movie. The brainchild of Motorhead’s “Fast” Eddie Clarke, the group was co-founded with U.F.O.’s Pete Way before hiring the drummer from Humble Pie. Unknown vocalist Dave King joined the band before finding wider fame with Flogging Molly.
Hiring the guitarist behind the classic Motorhead era was a blessing but it also prevented Blackie Lawless from assuming the role of Sammi Curr. The W.A.S.P. frontman was reportedly ready to sign on and even offered to write the soundtrack. The exclusive music of Fastway proved too much for Lawless’s ego. Blackie balked at the concept of lip sinking to ANOTHER band and opted not to perform.
The film did manage to add big name musicians to their cast. Gene Simmons played the role of “Nuke,” a radio DJ that knew Sammi personally. Nuke delivers an acetate of the final Sammi Curr album to Ragman, thereby setting the deceased rocker’s plan into motion.
Ozzy Osbourne makes a memorable appearance as a television evangelist. It’s a comical scene as the prince of darkness warns of the danger of heavy metal.
Trick or Treat is a snapshot in time. A visual/auditory glimpse into the mid-eighties, the film transports us to the era when metal infiltrated popular culture and left an indelible mark upon the American consciousness.