trick_treatrating-2.0Do you remember the episode of "Family Ties" where Skippy got into metal, grew out his rock mullet, and listened to backmasked messages on his vinyl until a Satanic rocker showed up to destroy the world through him? If you do, you're actually thinking of Trick Or Treat, featuring the fine acting talents of young Skippy in a totally incoherent fable of rock evil and overcoming personal demons so you can get a date in high school (at the expense of dozens of lives).

Trick Or Treat is, ostensibly, a satire of the 80's fundamentalist anti-heavy metal movement that brought us the PMRC, Congressional hearings on the spooky Satanic boogeyman of rock & roll music and guys wearing fishnets and too much eyeliner, and Parental Warning stickers.

At least that's what I'm told and what I assume, given the obvious love that the filmmakers have for the subject of metal, the appearance of Gene Simmons as a sleazy local disc jockey and a cameo by Ozzy as a TV preacher, both of whom earn more space on the DVD cover than anything else, because they're the only people that seem to be memorable from the film. God knows young Skippy isn't on there, even though he's the star.

The plot is straightforward enough: the young metalhead loner, who is hated and abused by a school full of preppie people, looks up to his idol, a hair metal god who went to the same high school before moving on to bigger and better things; the rocker dies and his fan mourns; the young man is given the last, unreleased album by his DJ buddy, a cursed piece of vinyl, featuring backmasked messages and dark evil... Of course, the young man keeps playing it and bad things start to happen. Vengeance is laid out upon his tormentors. Finally, he realizes he has to stop it before it kills more people. So he does the heroic thing and gets the girl.

The bigger question of this movie is why you would attempt to lampoon Christian fundamentalists and the notion that metal is evil and Satanic by having the fantastic thesis of your movie be that metal is evil and Satanic? Isn't that counterproductive to your cause? Doesn't that make you look like a stupid asshole or opportunistic douche?

Now, despite Skippy's very decent acting (and my apologies on continuing to call him "Skippy", but it's easier), much of the rest of the movie is crap. It's silly, it's dated, and it's laughable, but I can see why some people continue to enjoy it. It wasn't awfully produced for that time period and wasn't a wretched film. It was just a bit hokey on some of the effects and had an incredibly stupid plot, but one could do worse, though you can't find things much less comprehensible.

It stands as a testament to a time when evil records could possess all your electronics and music could be a deadly killer, without even getting into Ozzy or Metallica making anyone slash their wrists.

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