One of the movies I picked up was a little something called Trick or Treat, starring David Carradine and Carrie Snodgress. The box promised that this movie, the anxiously-awaited directorial debut of Orson Welles’ chief cameraman, would be a terrifying tale of spoiled brats, magic tricks, and an escaped nutso from the local insane asylum. After Trick or Treat came home with me, I checked out some reviews online and, shock of all shocks, it seemed that the promises promised by the box would turn out to be the lies of a liar. Apparently, it’s a dull, plodding movie with no scares whatsoever. Unexcited about the prospect of watching a dull, plodding movie with no scares whatsoever, I kept putting off putting it in the VCR. There was always something better to watch, or something worse to watch but at least the crappiness and letdown would be a surprise.
Push came to shove the other night, however. In a fit of reckless abandon, I decided to attempt to recapture the glory days of USA’s Saturday Nightmares or Up All Night and stay up late watching a horror movie. Perusing my shelf, I saw the Trick or Treat box peering at me plaintively, sending me signals of neglect and rejection. Dude, I sent it signals right back. I was all “Trick or Treat, nothing personal, but…I know you’re gonna suck. I’ve read all about you, and quite frankly, I can’t say that I’m all that enthusiastic about spending 90 minutes with you.” The next thing I know, Trick or Treat was totally getting whiny and was all “But you brought me home! You brought me into your home, you put me on a shelf, and you’ve ignored me ever since. How do you know I’m not the right movie for you? Just because I’m misunderstood by everyone, doesn’t mean that you and I won’t really connect, dig? We could really get something special going if you’d only give me a chance to make you happy.” I thought Trick or Treat was getting in way too deep here, so I was all “Trick or Treat, listen, I—“ and then Trick or Treat cut me off with “If you’re not going to watch me, then cut me loose, dammit. Just cut me loose! Sell me on eBay, sell me at Half Price Books. Take me to Goodwill and offer me up to the poor, tired, huddled masses. Drive me all the way back to Pittsburgh and throw me in the Monongahela, I don’t even care anymore. But if I sit here ignored next to your copy of Clash of the Titans much longer, there’s no telling what I’ll do.”
So I was like “Umm…are you threatening me, Trick or Treat? Are you fucking threatening ME in MY house? Because I will totally whale on you like you’ve never—“ but then I stopped. Trick or Treat had started to cry softly. I couldn't take it...I relented. I decided just to watch the damn movie and get it over with. I didn’t want to fight anymore, you know? I just wanted to sit in the dark and watch a horror movie without all the fussin’ and the fuedin’. So, after months and months of procrastination, I took the tape over to the VCR, put it in, pressed play, and…
It was the wrong fucking movie! After all that time, it wasn’t even the right Trick or Treat. You see, instead of the 1982 David Carradine flick, I was treated to the 1986 Trick or Treat starring Marc Price of television’s Family Ties as a mulleted metalhead who unleashes the spirit of a dead rocker upon the bullies who bully him.
I have to admit, when I realized what was going on, I was a little excited. I’d seen Trick or Treat in the theatre during its initial run, and while I didn’t remember going all goo-goo over it, surely it had to be better than the turkey I’d been avoiding. I’m sorry to say, however, that as the movie progressed, I remembered that I thought Trick or Treat sucked when I saw it the first time and lo and behold, it still kinda sucked. It fit the bill of late night cheesy horror, though, so I suppose I was satisfied on that level.
As I said, Marc Price of television’s Family Ties stars as Eddie “Ragman” Weinbauer, your typical picked-on, metal-lovin’, mullet-sportin’ outcast. He’s humiliated repeatedly by the preppy crowd, led by none other than Doug Savant of television’s Melrose Place. Eddie finds solace in music, particularly the supposedly scary devil-worshipping style but really lite and lame style metal music of his hero, Sammi Curr. When Curr dies in a hotel fire, Eddie is distraught. As a…err, consolation prize, Eddie receives from a DJ friend (Gene Simmons of
No one really ends up getting terribly harmed, but Eddie thinks things are getting out of hand anyway and tells Sammi their reign of lite terror needs to end. Sammi ain’t havin’ none of that, though, and decides to show up for real. Now corporeal, Sammi starts shooting Emperor Palpatine-style lightning out of his fingers and his guitar while he glowers at the camera “menacingly”. It’s up to Eddie to save the day, but how can he turn against his “rock warrior hero”?
Yeah. Trick or Treat starts out promising, and I think Marc Price does a believable job as the metalhead outcast everyone knew in high school. Once Sammi Curr starts wreaking “havoc”, though, the movie falls apart. The end is dull and drawn out as Eddie races around town destroying radios and avoiding Sammi’s glowering. Though I yearn for those sweet sweet yesterdays when our high school’s disenfranchised youth would play heavy metal records backwards and invoke the evil spirits of dead heavy metal rockers to smite their enemies instead of simply toting shotguns to school, Trick or Treat is just kind of a mess.
It’s entirely possible, however, that I avoided an even bigger mess by watching this Trick or Treat, so I suppose I should be thankful. At least the box will no longer stare at me longingly from afar.