By MICHAEL GINGOLD
Another long-awaited horror title is finally making its way to hi-def (and ultra-hi-def) disc, as Red Shirt Pictures’ Michael Felsher recently revealed on THE SPOOKY PICTURE SHOW podcast that he’s working on a special edition of 1986’s TRICK OR TREAT. The Charles Martin Smith-directed rock-and-shocker will be released by Red Shirt Home Video through Synapse Films with a new 4K transfer on both UHD and Blu-ray, and RUE MORGUE spoke with Felsher to get more details on what will accompany the movie.
TRICK OR TREAT stars Marc Price as bullied teen Eddie Weinbauer, who idolizes heavy metal superstar Sammi Curr (Tony Fields). After Curr dies in a mysterious fire, Eddie gets his hands on the only existing copy of Curr’s final album, and when he plays it backwards, Curr’s spirit is released to help Eddie get payback against his high school tormentors, and then to threaten far more widespread mayhem. Featuring appearances by Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne and makeup effects by Kevin Yagher, TRICK was not initially a major success at the box office, but has since built a following as what Felsher calls “the STAR WARS of that group of rock-and-roll horror movies that came as a response to the whole ‘Parental Guidance’ sticker crap, the Tipper Gore thing, and the idea of ‘Play this song backwards and it’s going to tell you to kill your parents.’”
After both the rights to the movie and the proper elements were tracked down, Studio Canal created the 4K transfer from the original negative that Felsher says is “gorgeous. TRICK OR TREAT has never looked this good. I doubt it looked this good when it played in theaters for the, what, two weeks it was out?” Synapse’s Don May Jr. is currently overseeing final color correction, and audio work is underway as well. “We got some good elements to work with, and the original theatrical sound mix will be preserved on the disc. We already have that pretty much done, it just needs a little cleanup here and there. It won’t be a downmix of anything we do, it will be the original mix, and then we will try to do something a little more expansive, like a Dolby 7.1 track. Obviously, the way the music in that film is presented could definitely benefit from having a new Surround mix done.”
Another natural for the TRICK OR TREAT release would seem to be a CD of Curr’s songs, performed by the band Fastway, though Felsher says it’s not that simple. “The issue there becomes that that soundtrack was done through CBS Records back at the time, which is now Sony, and that’s a whole other kettle of fish. Those rights didn’t come to us with the video rights; that’s a situation we have to look into, to see if it’s financially doable. I know [Real Gone Music] reissued it on vinyl not long ago, so there may be a possibility of including a CD in the package. I would love to do that, because Fastway’s music is such a big part of that film. Sadly, a couple of members of the band are no longer with us, so we’re going to try to interview someone associated with them.”
There are also plans to talk to horror specialist Christopher Young, who composed TRICK OR TREAT’s score, and to honor Fields, who died of HIV-related cancer in 1995. “I definitely want to have a tribute to him,” Felsher says, “either in the documentary we’re doing or possibly separately. That’ll be a long documentary; it won’t be a 30-minute piece. It’ll be closer in length, I would imagine, to what I did for MASSACRE AT CENTRAL HIGH and THE KINDRED, something pretty substantial. Then there’s going to be a still gallery, TV spots, the trailer, all the requisite stuff. Hopefully there’ll be some behind-the-scenes footage, if we can get the original EPK; there’s a whole bunch of stuff floating around out there. I’m also hoping to involve the DP, Robert Elswit, who went on to work with Paul Thomas Anderson and won an Oscar for THERE WILL BE BLOOD.”
Beyond that, there will be an audio commentary on the film, for which Felsher is aiming to involve the director and/or the lead actor. “We’ve already spoken with Marc Price,” Felsher reveals. “We actually talked with him the night of the announcement, so he’s on board to do something. He’s very happy about this, as you would expect him to be; it was an important film for him, because he was known as Skippy from FAMILY TIES, and this was his chance to break away from that, and he did a great job. And Sean Clark has done a HORROR’S HALLOWED GROUNDS [locations featurette] for TRICK OR TREAT, a very thorough one. He went down to Wilmington [North Carolina] and got pretty much every location there was to get, as befits his normal approach to things.”
Finally, Red Shirt will likely offer variant packaging for the TRICK OR TREAT discs. “We’ve released temporary artwork [seen above], kind of a placeholder, to give an indication of what the sleeve will look like; that will be the original theatrical artwork, and the reverse side will probably have foreign or UK art. And we’re definitely going to do O-cards or slipcovers; there may be a couple of different pieces of art. This is all stuff we’re trying to nail down and figure out right now, so that we can get it together over the course of the summer. I’m guessing it will be an October release, but that’s not an official announcement, just a hope, because it would certainly make sense to have it out around that time. But when we have the opportunity to make a firm date announcement, you’ll be able to take that to the bank, because we’re not going to announce that until we have everything in hand and ready to go.” Keep your eyes here for further updates!