Back in 1986, heavy metal was riding on one of its biggest commercial waves ever. You had rock bands like Crue, Bon Jovi, Quiet Riot, Def Leppard, Ratt, Dokken, Tesla, and Twisted Sister; speed metal like Yngwie, Helloween, and Grave Digger; power metal from Dio, Scorpions, and Maiden; thrash metal from Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer. Life was good then, folks. We were excited that OUR heavy metal was finally being acknowledged from OUR fan point of view (Spinal Tap was the band's pov). Life was good being there live and in living color.
It's no surprise that the movie industry tried to get their middle finger in the pie by putting together two things that seem to fit well together--heavy metal and horror. I can remember going to the theater to see "Trick or Treat" thinking that it was going to be real cool because the entire movie was based around metal, not just the soundtrack. Now, I hoped the movie would stay true to the 'old-school' roots of metal instead of pandering to the 'poseurs' (or posers) that were skipping through the genre.
Marc Price, aka Skippy from "Family Ties", is the serious lead star, Eddie Weinbauer aka Rag Man, who takes his metal seriously. He's the metalhead social outcast of the school with his pseudo, messed-up mullet; got his black shirts, jean jacket and leather bracelets--the real ones, not that cheap junk they sell at Claire's Boutique and mail order stores. All over his attic room is metal posters and magazine covers with Judas Priest and Anthrax when Scott Ian had hair. Right in the middle, hanging like Sebastian Bach's portrait of himself from MTV "Cribs", is a giant photo of his hero--Sammi Curr. That's Sammi with an "i" because great guitarists end their name with a long 'e' sound (Jimi, Eddie, Randy, Jimmy, and Tony Iommi worth double points).
Now, I don't know why Eddie was the lone headbanger at school because metal was hot and trendy at the time, but he only hung out with some other dork and always ends up on the bad side of the popular, gel-haired, collar shirt, prep-jocks who get the gorgeous girls and like to towel-snap guys in the ass. They make his life difficult with insults and pranks, but Eddie doesn't pull himself up by his own bootstraps and learn karate like Daniel LaRusso. Of course, Eddie isn't getting any girl action, but there is one who feels sorry for him.
Alas, Eddie's world gets more difficult when Sammi dies in a hairspay hotel fire at the age of 38...thirty eight!? Shit, he was old like Alice Cooper. Unlike some of the kids who wanted to kill themselves after Kurt Cobain offed himself, Eddie carried on like a wayward son and went to see his buddy "Nuke" played by Gene Simmons. Gene plays this rich, rock...sorry, radio DJ with a black, George Washington wig who feels Eddie's pain and gives him the only studio master of Sammi's last record, "Songs in the Key of Death". He's supposed to play it at midnight on Halloween. Gene can give it away because he already has a taped copy. <---MAJOR PLOT TWIST!!!!!!
Now, for the mallcore kids from this generation, a vinyl or phonograph is a thin circular, black piece of plastic with grooves that when placed on a record player causes a stylus to vibrate. The cool thing about them was that you could use your hand to run the record at different speeds or even in reverse. Bands slipped little backwards messages in their music to screw with fans and there were even ideas from blowhards that the messages hid references to Satan but Sammi didn't go on trial like Judas Priest.
Eddie plays Sammi's last record backward and it tells Eddie how to get revenge; tells him that he's gonna "get them all". Pretty cool of him to die and use the record like a Ouija board, so Eddie can get vengeance through him, or is there an evil motive that Sammi has? Turns out that anytime somebody plays a pirated copy of the record, bad things happen. Man, the R.I.A.A. had some really crazy mojo back then!
Ozzy shows up as a moral crusader on TV...ironically cool. Eddie tries to destroy the record 'cause he's really a decent boy, but the room shakes like a Quiet Riot video and out comes Sammi--Heavy Metal Murderer. He looks like a combination of black metal meets hair metal meets Two-Face. It just happens to be time for the school Halloween dance, so Sammi, who can move through electrical items, shows up at the school, takes to the stage and wreaks havoc like another film from 10 years before whose title rhymes with "harry". I have to say that when he started singing, his scary quotient dropped faster than egg drop soup at a porno convention. He sang high-vocal Fastway songs and it would've been better if he sounded closer to Lemmy.
Anyway, I don't want to spoil the already weak ending and this review is getting as loose and cheesy as my boxer shorts, so to sum it up--it's metal, it's Halloween, Eddie gets the girl at the end and you can find it on DVD at a pawn shop bargain bin for three bones and some change.
Look: Low budget with crappy special effects esp some blue cartoon lightning.
Flesh Factor: Some high school ta-tas.
Violence: Comic book with no blood.
Scare factor - If "The Exorcist" is a 10, this would be about a 3.
DVD extras: none.
1. Don't fuck with evil. 2. Don't go to high school dances. You should've learned this from Carrie. 3. If you shake hands with Gene Simmons, check for your rings then check for your fingers.
My biased opinion: 2 1/2 devil horns if you're a headbanger from the day.
0 - Buy some rope and hang the filmmakers. 1 - Wish I could sue to get the two hours of my life back. 2 - Only thing that might save this trash is some T&A. 3 - Some redeeming qualities in this movie, but it might translate better as TNN Movie of the Week or just watch it on matinee day. Worth a cheap rental. 4 - You won't feel bad dropping $$$ to see this one and you'll probably want to watch it again when it hits the rentals or streams. 5 - The shit...a must have for your private home collection. Buy it, download it, steal it; however you can get your hands on it then memorize every line of dialog and store that nugget in your head for future quoting with your buds.
About this Writer: Frank Hill // Frank Hill has been at this site since its slimy, crying birth in '03. He was born on National Metal Day--11/11 and will turn his hearing aids up to 11 when he's 111. He secretly listens to a lot of old Country and Doo-Wop tunes and wants to start a cyberband with lead vocals by Robot Plant. He is still trying to figure out what Judas Priest meant by "paratamize you". If you read this, then he salutes you.
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