Marc Price talks about making “Trick or Treat” and his early days as an actor
By Brian Tucker
Actor and comedian Marc Price returned to Wilmington to perform stand-up comedy in May. But twenty-five years ago he starred in horror movie Trick or Treat about heavy metal high school kid Eddie Weinbaurer who feels estranged from everyone around him. He takes solace in a love for heavy metal music, especially hero rock singer Sammi Curr who recently died. Eddie is given a final recording by Curr by a radio DJ (played by Gene Simmons). When Eddie plays the record backwards he summons Curr from the dead to disastrous results.
The film was made during the early output of DEG Studios, built by legendary movie producer Dino De Laurentiis in Wilmington, N.C. Released in October 1986, the story was conceived by Rhet Topham and directed by Charlie Martin Smith (Never Cry Wolf, Dolphin Tale) with a soundtrack by Fastway, and also featured a cameo by Ozzy Osbourne as a preacher. Though not a huge hit during its initial release, the movie went on to be a cult favorite.
What do you remember about being up for the role?
Price: I wanted it really bad. Keanu Reeves was up for the role. I got it due to Charlie Martin Smith, definitely. The producers later made Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure with Keanu. Family Ties was very popular at that time. That was one of the reasons I got the movie too. The show was hugely popular, the height of my young celebrity.
Ozzy Osbourne was looked at differently in the 80s, more dangerous compared to today.
Price: Not until reality shows. I knew back then. I knew Ozzy was a little goofy. Nobody else did. He was the demon of death at that point still. People know he’s a little bit silly and Sharon runs the boat. People kind of know that now. So I got a little glimpse into that ahead of time.
And Gene Simmons?
Price: Yeah, the same with Gene Simmons and his sense of humor. Gene was more here as sport, a couple of days for him in his long money making career. Another move. He did another movie that everyone said he was good actor in, Runaway. Trick or Treat was a small role. I remember he wore sunglasses the whole time reading the script, while we were doing it, using his sunglasses to hide his eyes.
Ozzy had done music videos but still new to acting.
Price: Ozzy was more into it. He was working with the director a lot. He’d never acted before and here he was playing a preacher with short hair. It was an important role for him too because he was the guy accused of lending a hand by his music’s lyrics to someone’s suicide on a specific song. So this was an important opportunity for him to play one of the very people coming after him to show the absurdity of it.
When you were here it was ILM’s golden age of making movies.
Price: The studios for Family Ties had been around since the turn of the century. DEG was a couple of years old. It was really a series of warehouses more than it was a studio is how I looked at it. I showed up and it was like all these big warehouses. It didn’t quite feel like a movie studio because all those studios have all that history.
Especially compared you what you same from.
Price: My buddy was a security guard at Paramount Studios and he had keys to everything. He was a young, hip guard. He worked the night shift and had keys. We’d hang out at the Cheers bar and we’d go over to the Dynasty mansion. He was bold too. We’d go on the Starship Enterprise and he’d plug stuff in and things would start blinking. We took pictures of us in the captain’s chair. We brought girls on the Enterprise. In the daytime I’d go visit Wil Wheaton and they wouldn’t let me on the Star Trek: The Next Generation set. They didn’t want anyone to see the set. It was a big secret and here we were hanging out.
Glen Morgan was a young actor on Trick or Treat. He later wrote for X-Files, became a producer and director.
Price: Who knew. You never know. If they hadn’t put the money on me they wouldn’t have known him. He was learning and growing his skills and then he did become a big time writer. Talented guy. Super nice guy.
Did they play music during filming?
Price: (The band Fastway) were making it. I remember hearing some of the soundtrack while we were making it, early versions of the songs. I would play Judas Priest and stuff to get into (scenes). I don’t remember if it was three-quarters or halfway, the director came and said they sent some new material. Everybody was very excited about the soundtrack. The soundtrack really carried the movie in a lot of ways. Even though the band Fastway didn’t become huge, the music was good enough that it really held together an okay movie. I think the music was better than the movie really.
The gym scene where you were naked was bold.
Price: I’d be uncomfortable now. At 17 I was skinny. I remember making a deal with the director that they wouldn’t show anything. Just tushy only. I didn’t really care. Now I’d care.
What were the reactions to you, the actor who played Skippy, as a heavy metal guy?
Price: Right around the same time Michael J. Fox became a huge movie star. I was actually cast in another movie and they didn’t let me out of the Family Ties contract to go do it. It was low budget but this one became a massive, massive hit. The Family Ties producers were apologetic to me afterwards. It was Can’t Buy Me Love with Patrick Dempsey. I was cast in it first, 100% cast and they wouldn’t let me go do it. I was robbed.
They were filming King Kong Lives at the same time.
Price: They had Kong on a gurney or medical table or something. We used to sneak over to the set and take a nap in the palm. I napped on the palm. It was like 5 couches.
You performed comedy at the Blockade Runner during filming of the movie. You also performed at 14 on Merv Griffin’s show.
It was one of my first times doing it on the road. I had done it before but never travelled before. I was seventeen. I performed a little guest set and that was it. I was sold. I was going to be a stand-up comedian on the road after that. It was a big deal for me working at that Blockade Runner. It was an eye opener to what this world was like hanging out with the comics. I enjoy comedians more than actors. I think they’re the best people.