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Review: Trick or Treat (1986)

Directed by: Charles Martin Smith | 92 minutes | horror | Actors: Marc Price, Tony Fields, Lisa Orgolini, Doug Savant, Elaine Joyce, Glen Morgan, Gene Simmons, Ozzy Osbourne, Elise Richards, Richard Pachorek, Clare Nono, Alice Nunn, Larry Sprinkle, Charles Martin Smith, Graham Smith, Richard Doyle

“Since when did Ozzy become an actor?” This must have been questioned by many when ‘Trick or Treat’ was released in 1986. Former Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, then still controversial for allegedly “pernicious” influences of his on teenagers, also plays a small ‘tongue-in-cheek’ supporting role in the production. Another rock icon, from the band Kiss, is also present in the role of a rock and roll DJ. Coincidentally, the harmful influence of certain controversial artists and music genres was a hot topic in the United States in the 1980s. Osbourne was indicted in the case of a teenage suicide and the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center), led by Tipper Gore, fiercely opposed the pernicious influence of musicians such as Prince, Judas Priest and Twisted Sister on American Youth. The well-known “Parental Advisory” sticker is a relic of the PMRC crusade.

So it must have been a good idea to incorporate this theme into a film. A link with the horror genre was quickly made. This genre had been back in vogue with young cinema audiences since the late 1970s since the emergence of the slasher film, and a 1985 like ‘Teen Wolf’ (starring ‘ Ties’ star Michael J. Fox) was a great example of how to play horror. and “teenage problems” in a light-hearted way. The fact of ‘Trick or Treat’ is therefore simple: a bullied teenager (a role by Marc Price, also from ‘Family Ties’) resorts to heavy metal and in particular his adoration of rock star Sammi Curr. The latter dies in an apparently self-inflicted hotel fire and it turns out that Price’s character Eddie Weinbauer can make contact with his mind by playing Curr’s record backwards (“backmasking”). Now the revenge on the plagues can begin! Of course, Eddie repents when he sees the consequences of his lust for revenge and confronts the ghost. As said, a simple story that is easily told. You can see from miles away that the popular girl Eddie is in love with will fall for him too. And of course the genie goes back into the bottle at the end. Of course, Eddie repents when he sees the consequences of his lust for revenge and confronts the ghost. As said, a simple story that is easily told. You can see from miles away that the popular girl Eddie is in love with will fall for him too. And of course the genie goes back into the bottle at the end. Of course, Eddie repents when he sees the consequences of his lust for revenge and confronts the ghost. As said, a simple story that is easily told. You can see from miles away that the popular girl Eddie is in love with will fall for him too. And of course the genie goes back into the bottle at the end.

No real malice and therefore safe for a wider viewership. The advantage is that director Charles Martin Smith knows how to keep the momentum going and provides us with a solid viewing experience. The many references to heavy metal artists will be a feast of recognition for fans of the genre. Leading actor Price does not have the charisma of a Michael J. Fox but nevertheless gets a pass. The guest roles are certainly in the case of Osbourne, but they add little else. It is also unfortunate that the otherwise excellent soundtrack does not contain songs by the artists we see on the posters in Eddie’s room! ‘Trick or Treat’ is an entertaining teen horror that is excellent for an evening on the couch with friends.

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