Sunday, October 29, 2006

Album of the Week 10/30/06:
Trick or Treat Soundtrack

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Suggested by: MJ

MJ: I picked this for obvious reasons, but I’ll admit I was intrigued with both the movie and the soundtrack. This is one that you have to consider in the context of the year it came out, 1986. “It was twenty years ago today…we got to jam to the sounds of Fastway…” (Sorry.)

Let me start by saying that with all of their deficiencies, both movie and soundtrack are not as bad as I thought they would be. I figured the special effects and the acting in the movie would be pretty lame. But I thought it was a decent “scary” movie with pretty good acting. There were high school outcast clichés galore, but I thought the storyline was interesting at first. The backward messages in the album were kind of creepy when first introduced in the movie. You have to remember that this did seem to be a threat back in 1986 – metal music corrupting youngsters minds to the point of making them do crazy things (other than just banging their head). (As a sidenote – I think it’s kind of interesting that the advent of CD’s kind of threw out the ability to play stuff backwards. I guess now the evil bands just have to come right out and say it to the kids forwards!) But I will admit the movie kind of falls apart in the end and the whole point becomes a little cloudy. It seemed like they had a good idea for the movie and then lost interest when it came to actually finishing it up. The DVD that is out tries to capitalize on the fact that there are appearances by Gene Simmons and Ozzy. Pretty misleading marketing, their scenes are very short and not all that interesting. But in the end, I sat through the whole movie and kind of cared how it was all going to turn out. And I did get a kick out of how the was music featured in the movie.

I listened to the soundtrack a couple times before watching the music, which made it much more fun. Almost every tune is very anthemic in nature, which I always get a kick out of. And like the movie, clichés galore! This stuff exists for the sole purpose of making kids pump their fist in the air. There’s no way at this point that any fist pumping that I will do to this will be accompanied by a tongue firmly pressed in my cheek. Absolutely none of the song titles or lyrics will surprise you AT ALL: “Don’t Stop The Fight”, “Get Tough”, “Tear Down The Walls”, etc. But you know, what the hell. It’s pretty fun stuff, even if it is kind of silly. And the singer (Dave King) has pretty good chops. I’ll play this again when I don’t want to think to hard and just want to rock.

I find it very interesting looking back that they went with a full soundtrack of original material from Fastway. I don’t recall them being that big at the time, and they were kind of living or dying with these guys. What’s really funny is that the music isn’t scary at all. There’s a hilarious scene in the movie where this guy comes back from the dead to sing a song at the high school dance. There’s a ton of suspense as he’s staring down the crowd. Then he starts beating his crenched fist against his hip. With the look on his face, you would think he would be getting ready to emit mouthfuls of super evil shit. Then the song starts and he starts singing. If I had been drinking a beverage at that instant, it would have been a classic spit take moment. The song isn’t evil at all, just some stuff about rock n’ roll and stuff. I mean, at the time there were some bands out there that put out some pretty brutal stuff. But alas, they wouldn’t have had a chance to be hit singles – and it’s my guess that’s what they were going for. Well, hit singles on a pretty limited budget…

MH: My first comment on movies like this is: PROPAGANDA! It is such a message movie to parents and the producers who made this were clearly in the PMRC. Basically, if you let your children listen to heavy metal, they will end up dead or killing someone. When the scene happened where Skippy from Family Ties started to play the music backwards and the mom had such a scared look on her face, and the mom just didn't understand, I felt so preached to. I listened to a TON of metal growing up, and I am as pleasant as a salve. Bonus points for Melrose Place's Gay icon Doug Savant who, as a bully, looks GREAT in a skinny tie!

The second thing I thought of, while watching this movie, and listening to the soundtrack deftly played by FASTWAY (with a lead singer who always reminded me of Lauraine Newman for SNL): THIS scared parents? The evil main rock character and the music are simply just not scary. Now, don't get me wrong, parents, there are a ton of bands that could be feared. Mayhem, Gorgoroth, slipKnot, Dimmu Borgir and alot of those norweigan bands who advocate the burning of churches. That kind of stuff. That's scary because they are actually following ancient Nordic religious practices of trying to demolish catholicism. I would have bought it more if they threw down some Immortal or Emperor or something....., um, but Fastway? Not exactly scary. But of course, I am comparing them to today's standards where shocking is pretty mainstream and not as shocking anymore.

Oh well. On the musical side. I think Fastway could have been big. The singer, Lauraine, has chops and I think maybe they were just kind of overshadowed by more flashy, glammed out bands at the time. Too bad for them. The guitar playing is tight, the energy is up. Their lyrics are awful, but they could be seen as empowering to young budding teenagers who are just sick of it all. I wonder what Fastway is up to now? Um, hard to tell. I bet they are certainly not scaring anyone.


Your Weird Friend Cathleen Yay said...

I'll always remember Trick or Treat as the movie where my dad said, "Look! You can see the boom mic over the kitchen table!"
Kinda ruined it.

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