The Good & Plenty of Halloween Horror

Rather than re-watch films I’ve seen umpteen times, I sought out new thrills this past Halloween night. So, with little concern for package inspection, I willfully consumed some Bad Candy.

Ugh, did I ever make a stupid decision.

This anthology film (written and directed by Scott B. Hansen and Desiree Connell) might as well have been called Bad Acting, because that’s what stuffs this putative treat bag. Not that the players are given much to work with here in terms of material. The scripted characters are flatter than a steamrolled Snickers, and form the most hackneyed of figures (the drunken stepfather, the weirdo candy-tainter…). Each one proves more reprehensible than the last; it’s hard to find a single character in the entire film worthy of rooting interest.

Bad Candy is framed as a series of tales of supernatural lore shared by a pair of radio dj’s (Zach Galligan and Slipknot’s Corey Taylor) during their special Halloween night show. Their stories, though, get old quickly, as they all employ the same formula: vile people (the skeevy drug dealer, the corpse-humping morgue attendant…) getting dispatched in nasty ways (the film definitely does not skimp on the gore). Middling attempts to intertwine the various tales are muddled at best, and the not-so-big twist revealed in the climax just results in another ho-hum scene of comeuppance.

The adopted structure here naturally invites comparison with other Halloween anthology films. Aligning with tradition is fine, but this film seems more concerned with ripping off superior precursors. The plot device of a young girl’s monster drawings coming to life serves as a pictorial riff on book of preordaining horror tales in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. More glaringly, Bad Candy derives from Trick ‘R Treat, as an evil clown (a stiffer and less interesting stand-in for the iconic trickster Sam) pops up all over town to take out Halloween do-badders.

Perhaps the most positive statement that can be made about Bad Candy is that it creates further appreciation for just how well-made Michael Dougherty’s 2007 film was. This grungy and unpalatable offering, meanwhile, will have the most hardcore horror junky reaching for the Pepto. Sample at your own risk, kids.

 

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