Monday, February 19, 2018

TRICK OR TREAT (1986) (Team Blu Blu-ray Review)

The Ultimate Comeback Edition 

Label: Team Blu
Region Code: Region Free
Rating: R
Duration: 97 Minutes 
Audio: English Dolby Digital Surround 5.1, Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 (No Subtitles) 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1)
Director:  Charles Martin Smith
Cast: Marc Price, Tony Fields, Gene Simmons, Ozzy Osbourne, Leslie Graham, Glen Morgan, Elaine Joyce, Doug Savant 

Trick Or Treat (1986) is gonna be one of those reviews wrapped ina nice warm layer of teen-nostalgia, I'm a rocker from way back and in the mid 80's I was a teen coming of age. I first saw this one at a party at a classmates house, if I am not mistaken it was my first teenage, no-parents, drinkin' beers and have fun sort of get together. I don't remember much about the party other than I watched this entire movie laying on the floor in the living room, the girl hosting the party got really upset and ran crying into the nearby woods, and someone was annoyingly dropping Skittles into my can of Old Milwaukee and it started foaming over - that's literally all I remember about the party, and that's enough, because I love this friggin' movie and it's about time someone made it available on Blu-ray in the U.S..  

In Trick Or Treat we have a teenage metal head named Eddie Weinbauer (Marc Price, Skippy from fucking Family Ties!), he's a bit of a loner and is completely devastated when he find out his shock-rocker hero Sammi Curr (Tony Fields) has died in a mysterious hotel fire - you know he is because he goes into his room and tears down nearly all his metal posters in a anger-spree! Sammi Curr was a hometown kid made good, having attended the same school as Eddie years earlier, Lakeridge High School. 

Sad Eddie heads to the local radio station to seek comfort from his friend, a rock DJ named Nuke, played by Gene Simmons of rockers Kiss, who gives the teen Curr's last, and as of yet unreleased, final album, giving him the only existing copy, an test pressing. With this exclusive slice of vinyl in his hands he runs home and gives it a spin, accidentally discovering a series of backwards messages hidden in the grooves, the message seem to be aimed at specifically at him, sort of helping him get his revenge on a group testosterone fueled bullies at school who harass him on the regular. The bullies are lead by typical 80's asshole (sort of a James Spader-lite type) named Tim (Doug Savant, Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence)

Under the apparently demonic influence of Curr from beyond the grave Eddie begins to change for the worse, becoming a bit of a mean-spirited asshole bimself, almost killing douche-nozzle Tim in metal shop, realizing the evil-influence Eddie tries to separate himself from the evil record but the rocker manifests himself one night in Eddie' room, appearing in a zap of electricity like he's Horace Pinker from Wes Craven's Shocker (1989). The movie culminates with  the evil-rocker appearing at the school's Halloween concert at his high school Alma mater with the kids believing it's part of some weird  Sammi Curr tribute show, and Eddie trying to stop it before he kills everyone.

I have always loved heavy metal horror and this is one of my favorites, the directorial debut of actor Charles Martin Smith (American Graffiti, The Untouchables) and written by writers Glen Morgan (who plays Eddie's best friend in the movie) and James Wong who went onto work on the X-Files and the Final Destination series, the movie is chock full of 80's cheese but in a really enjoyable way. I don't know who thought to cast Skippy from TV's Family Ties as a teen rocker but they're geniuses, back in the day I thought it was odd, having remembered him a Skippy from Family Ties, but that's all part of the charm, his dweebiness is something I could relate to as I was a bit of high school outsider myself, it's good casting if you want a misfit. 

The cheese factor is strong with this one, but the gore is seriously lacking with hardly any blood of any kind, there's some gooey horror with a teen girl being molested by a demon while listening to a cassette tape of Curr's music, a scene thagt also offering some appreciated nudity, so that's appreciated, but if they had managed to squeeze some more gore it  would have pushed it to the next level. What it lacks in gore in makes up for in ridiculous fun, such as a montage of the bullies chasing Eddie through the school, tripping them up with mop buckets and chairs, sending one flying into stairwell at full speed, and causing bully Tim to burst into the teacher's lounge and spray the teachers with a fire extinguisher, fun 80's stuff like that always brings a smile to my face.  

As heavy metal horror goes this is near the top of the mark for me, it could have been bloodier and more gruesome but it's a lot of fun, the pace is brisk, and the soundtrack featuring hard rockers Fastway is still a great listen.  

Audio/Video: Trick or Treat  (1986) arrives on Blu-ray from artisan MOD label Team Blu in 1080p HD widescreen (1.85:1) with an AVC encode. This marks the first time I've ever seen the film in widescreen, all previous U.S. releases have been fullscreen. There's grain present but it's not too finely resolved, but the image is not the most crisp and detailed HD you will ever see but it's better than anything I've seen on home video before. The source looks decent, though there's dirt, debris, and white speckling throughout. Skin tones look a bit mottled and red/brown at times, obviously this is not a fresh scan of the original camera negative and lacks the clarity and fine detail that would bring tot he front, but again this is the best I've seen the film look. I have not seen the German and Australian Blu-rays that are out there to compare, though I've heard some unflattering reviews of both. 

The audio on the disc includes two options, we have a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix, while I have no info about how it was created it does offer a fullness to the presentation, though I still preferred the Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 mix  which was likely sourced from the 2003 Platinum Disc Corporation DVD. The lossy audio sounded just fine to me, no issues whatsoever, and while I would have preferred a lossless option I've heard the foreign releases have serious audio issues - which is why I put off purchasing one. 

In regard to this being a boutique/artisan/custom release, here's what Team Blu have posted on their eBay site about this 
release: This is an out of print or a previously unavailable on Blu-Ray title that has been manufactured "On Demand" by our group that has the rights from the studio to release our custom set using Recordable, not Pressed, media. This does not make it a bootleg. All of our releases are licensed as On Demand titles. "On Demand" is how movies of this type are made available other than a digital file or streaming. The quality is a True HD restoration of the film in question, performed by our team, along with as many bonus features as could be included. 

Let's have a look at the extras on the disc,  we get a vintage EPK featurette that runs about five minutes, this includes behind-the-scenes footage, clips from the film, brief interviews clips with director Charles Martin Smith, actor Tony Fields who plays rocker Sammi Curr, producers Michael S. Murphy and Joel Soisson, plus both Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons speaking about acting in films. 

Also included is the complete Fastway - Trick or Treat (1986) soundtrack album,  if you're not familiar with Fastway they were comprised of "Fast" Eddie Clarke of Motörhead, Pete Way of UFO, and Jerry Shirley of Humble Pie, plus vocalist David King who went onto to sing with Irish rocker Flogging Molly. The soundtrack is presented in a potent DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo mix, it sounds great with some nice separation in the mix, great fidelity. You can play the song separately or hit the play all option and sit back and enjoy the tunes, it's a great 80's hard rock album. On the same menu is the option to watch four of the songs as videos versions,  one is an official Fastway video, plus a live version of "Heft" with a what I believe is a different singer from a later incarnation of the band, plus a performance as seen in the movie of "Trick or Treat" and a clip of "Get Tough" that plays along with clips from the film. 

There's also a  fullscreen trailer and TV spot for the film, both of which look like they're from a VHS. The single-disc BD-R release comes housed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a one-sided custom sleeve, which is printed on heavy card stock, non-glossy paper. The disc itself also features artwork printed on the diss. There is a start-up menu with options for scene selections, extras, and set-up, the set-up option let's you choose between Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 and Dolby Digital Surround 5.1. 

Special Features: 
- Behind The Scenes (5 min) SD
- Trick or Treat The Album by Fastway: 1. Trick or Treat(2:47) 2. After Midnight(3:39) 3. Don't Stop the Fight (4:21) 4. Stand Up (4:04) 5. Tear Down the Walls (2:07) 6. Get Tough (3:30) 7. Hold on to the Night" (3:22)  8. Heft (Live Performance)(5:19) 9. If You Could See" (4:34) (English DTS-HD MA Stereo 2.0) 
- Music Video: 1. Trick Or Treat (4:52) 2. After Midnight (Official Video) (3:55) 3. Don't Stop the Fight (4:21) 4. Heft (Live Performance)(5:55)
- Theatrical Trailer (2 min) SD 
- TV Spot (30 sec) SD

I'm not very objective when discussing Trick Or Treat (1986), it's one of my favorite slices of 80's heavy metal horror, and while my love is laced with teen nostalgia I do think it will still appeal to fans of 80's horror, particularly those who love 80's hard rock. The lack of gore definitely detracts from it but it's hard not to enjoy this cheese 80's teen devil-music movie, it's just fun stuff. Highly recommended to fans of stuff like Evil Speak, The Gate and Idle Hands. This release can be purchased from Team Blu on eBay HERE

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the review. I found it very helpful. I love this film and have been anxiously awaiting a descent blu ray release. So fingers crossed I ordered it