Bad Candy Movie Review

Written by Sean M. Sanford

Released by Epic Pictures | DREAD

bad candy poster large

Directed by Scott B. Hansen and Desiree Connell
Written by Desiree Connell, Scott B. Hansen, and Thacker Hoffman
2020, 103 minutes, Not Rated
Released on September 14th, 2021

Zach Galligan as Paul
Derek Russo as Vince
Corey Taylor as Chilly Billy

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The autumn fog unfurls against the forest floor, sweeping an embrace around the woodsy carcasses laid bare for the year. Every bird has gone silent, every branch de-robed and nothing remains but silence beyond the occasional landing of a leaf or acorn from the tendrils above, the straggling remains of a livelier time. A soundtrack one is likely to find only in a cemetery before the forested expanse has gone to bed for the year. That is, other than the wolves who cry at the full moon, the bats who amble across the nightscape, and any of the other creatures who only come out when all signs of life have left. I walked through the sprawl and out to the grey cityscape, dead to the world, so I could go grab a beer at a haunted tavern on Haight street…

Whoa, sorry, I got a little side-tracked, what were we talking about again? Oh yeah, the movie Bad Candy. It seems to have put me in quite the creepy mood, and for good reason. Bad Candy takes place on Halloween, pockmarked by a DJ named Chilly Billy, who’s recording his radio show in which he shares tales of macabre wonder.

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The movie is like a collage of horrors, going from one story to the next, some characters spilling into the yarns of others. It’s not a Tales from the Crypt sort of scenario with a title screen for each story, but a mesh in which one story will flow into the next, most times forwarded by an intro by the cheesy and moderately dislikable Chilly Billy.

I enjoyed this movie because it has all the horrors one hopes to fear encountering on Halloween, from Dracula to Frankenstein’s Monster, to partying teens, to a guy who puts razor blades in his candy, right down to quite possibly the last thing a young woman wants to see alone in the dark, a bro-dude wearing a MAGA hat. Holy shit, talk about terrifying! It does a great job embodying the classic merriment of the most horrific and wonderful time of year; orange leaves scattered through the streets, jack-o-lanterns blazing on darkened stoops, little hellions running around like they just got their yearly Fuck Shit Up Hall Pass.

The special effects are pretty bootsy but thankfully sparing, as the movie focuses more on make-up and costumes, both of which hold a nauseating girth. Some of the monsters featured here are wont to haunt me even more than some of the more disturbing storylines; like an undertaker who tries to bone her latest customer, apparently misunderstanding when told he was a stiff.

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This movie holds all the midnight wonders of old-fashioned ghost stories, inspiring my pilgrimage to Trax Bar, a haunted watering hole on Haight street. The folks who were bartending there all had similar reports of a man who kept popping up, be it by turning on the light in a room that nobody was in, tussling the bead curtains, and even coming through the locked front door when a barkeep was counting the money at night.

One year a fire broke out in the bar’s backroom, revealing things hidden in the walls from back in the early and mid-1900s. Like a Winchester Model 54 (which haven’t been manufactured since 1936), an antique timepiece, and a photo of the inside of the bar taken one New Year’s Day. Everyone in the photo is wearing Jazz-era garb and looking like they’re Gonna Party Like it’s 1939. They’re casually posing for the photo, and one man is pointing at the camera, donned with a devilish smirk. This man was recognized by all present as the bar’s resident ghost. They hung it up in the bar’s entrance, maybe as a way to make peace with the spirit. Nonetheless, he’s said to still come back, inspiring stories like the ones seen in Bad Candy. Although with likely less necrophilia.

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Movie: 4 Star Rating Cover

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Sean M. Sanford
Sean M. Sanford
Staff Reviewer
Sean M. Sanford was born and raised in the Sierra foothills of California on a haunted ranch that was constantly trying to remind him how wonderful it is being scared shitless. He later moved to San Francisco where he currently resides in an apartment that may or may not be cursed. With so many horrific dimensions to his life, Sanford has been known to revel since birth in scary movies, novels, comic books, and tales told by friends and loved ones. He writes fiction for the skateboarding magazine Lowcard, through which he has a collection of stories and photos called A Manbaby’s Requiem. He also wrote fiction for the online periodical Defiant Scribe. He writes book reviews for Night Worms, and Horror Oasis, and has written horror movie articles for the website, The Infinite Eleven. He has an Instagram account all about books, called @skaters_who_read. He and his wife Candice have started a homemade incense company called Effin Relax, and he’s been known to burn said fragrances during the scariest of movies to help calm his nerves. He looks forward to being the most freaky and creative spirit once he’s left this mortal coil.
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