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Heavy Metal-Sploitation Part 1

You may be thinking to yourself with this title what are Heavy Metal-Sploitation movies? It is a genre of horror movies that used Heavy Metal music as a part of the story. Most of them came out in the 80's. Some of the most well known titles being Trick Or Treat, Black Roses, Rock & Roll Nightmare, Rocktober Blood and many more. In this article I am going to talk about one of my favorites. This will be an ongoing series of articles.

The first movie we will be talking about is my favorite movie of all time, Trick Or Treat. A 1986 movie starring Marc "Skippy from Family Ties" Price, and Tony Fields and featuring guest appearances by Ozzy Osbourne, and Gene Simmons. With a soundtrack by the band Fastway which featured "Fast" Eddie Clarke formerly of Motorhead, and Dave King who is now in Flogging Molly (and refuses to acknowledge his past in metal music). 

The plot of the movie being a boy by the name of Eddie "Ragman" Weinbauer (Marc Price) is a metal head who is constantly picked on in school because he loves heavy metal music. One day he is writing to his idol Sammi Curr (Tony Fields) telling him about how he hates his life in the high school he goes to which Sammi Curr is a alumnus of and how Sammi inspires him to rise above the hell of being there. He mails the letter and goes to wash some laundry and finds out that his idol has died in a hotel fire and he is crushed.

He goes to the local radio station and talks to his friend the local DJ Nuke (Gene Simmons) and finds out that before his death Sammi recorded one last album and that he is going to play it on Halloween night and that Nuke wants to give him the copy of the original vinyl pressing as a present knowing he is the biggest Sammi Curr fan he knows. He lets Eddie know he recorded it to play on Halloween as that was Sammi's request and that he could have that copy. Eddie is elated. 

Once back home Eddie falls asleep listening to the album and has a dream about Sammi burning in the hotel fire doing a satanic ritual. He wakes up to find the record skipping and he hears something weird and decides to play the record backwards and Sammi starts speaking to him from beyond the grave. Sammi then instructs Eddie on how he can get revenge on his tormentors. Eddie then explains the situation to his best friend Roger (Glen Morgan) who is highly skeptical of the whole thing. 

At first the revenge is light-hearted and non-violent, then things start to go awry. With the plans getting out of hand Eddie has to make a decision on what to do. I will not ruin the rest of the film for everyone else but to say it is epic is an understatement.

I relate to this movie a lot because I am a lot like the Eddie character as I was constantly bullied in school for loving heavy metal music and being different. So much so I now have post traumatic stress disorder because of it and to see a movie where the lead character refuses to put up with the bullies anymore is inspiring. The way he goes about it though is ludicrous and I understand that but it gave me hope when I first saw it in high school that everything would be OK. 

Production of the film started in 1985. Originally slated to play the Sammi Curr role was Blackie Lawless of the metal band W.A.S.P. but he declined and the role was giving to Tony Fields, a former Solid Gold dancer. The director was Charles Martin Smith, known for his acting roles in the movies American Graffiti and Never Cry Wolf. This was his directorial debut. Special effects in the movie were done by Kevin Yagher, who would go on to do effects for such horror icons such as Freddy Kreuger and The Cryptkeeper from Tales Of The Crypt fame.
The film was released theatrically in the US by the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group in October 1986. They also released such films as Blue Velvet, Transformers: The Movie, Evil Dead 2, and more. It grossed $6,797,218 at the box office. It was released on VHS the following year by Karl-Lorimar Home Video. In 2002 the film was released on DVD by the Platinum Disc Corporation, no extras are included on the disc. It is currently out of print in the United States. In 2006 Anchor Bay Entertainment were set to release a deluxe DVD reissue for the film's 20th Anniversary but because of the music copyrights they could not release it. You can get a 3 disc Blu-Ray, DVD, Soundtrack CD German copy of the film (which I need to get as soon as possible!!!), which has tons of extras. 

I cannot recommend this movie enough. I own the original DVD copy released by Platinum Disc Corporation. I also have a tee-shirt from Fright Rags. If you love metal music, horror movies, or revenge films I definitely recommend you check it out. 

Here is the trailer for the movie:

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TylerB Posted on Aug 30, 2015 at 04:10 AM

Man it's been age's sense I have seen that film!

Hoju Koolander Posted on Aug 18, 2015 at 10:01 PM

As a KISS fan I am ashamed to admit I haven't seen this one, I will have to rectify that this Halloween. I was ridiculed for TRYING to be a heavy metal fan. Had a band and everything, but nobody was buying the fact that the drama kid who played Kenickie in Grease was a metal head. Ah well, I knew what I liked, whether my classmates believed it was up to them.

massreality Posted on Aug 18, 2015 at 04:42 PM

I LOVE Trick or Treat. I was working at Blockbuster when they were selling off the old VHS copy and I had no idea what it was. I was huge in 80's metal, so I figured, it's got Ozzy and Gene Simmons, I might as well pick it up. I wasn't ready for the awesomeness that ensued. Awesome cheesy 80's horror, with some great music, and over the top special effects. It's an all around good time.

Vaporman87 Posted on Aug 18, 2015 at 12:10 PM

I have to say, I wasn't aware that films like this had their own genre... Heavy Metal-sploitation. But it certainly fits.

This undoubtedly tapped into a lot of frustration and angst being felt by young fans of Heavy Metal, and kids who've been on the receiving end of a bully's wrath. I was one of those kids too. I was probably one of the shortest kids in my school, and an art nerd at that. So I can relate.

Somehow, I managed to steer clear of confrontation for the most part. Sure, there was the occasion when my books were knocked out of my hands from behind, or the stupid "Made Ya Flinch!" fake punch that meant you had to receive a raised knuckle pounding to the arm (seriously... for having good reflexes?), but I kept to myself and away from those I knew might cause me trouble.

I can see a movie like this helping to cope with all that. Nowadays, there is such an anti-bully movement going on that such things are borderline criminal. Which, I suppose, is a good thing. But it does make one wonder how prepared kids will be when they face that sort of thing in "real life". You need to know how to face confrontation in life, and how to avoid it. Hopefully that is also something happening in today's schools. But I doubt it.

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