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{Movie Review} Candy Corn-The Most Hated Halloween Treat Gets The Pumpkinhead Treatment

Candy Corn, just like the beleaguered confection is disgusting but addictive and you might feel weird for liking it so much.

Dr Death Candy Corn

​​SMLXL

Courtesy of Epic Pictures
Out this week this throwback to the horror movies of the late ’70s and early ’80s is fun with a capital F.  It will creep you out and make you cheer as the tables are turned in this traditional horror trope filled carnival.  The age-old tale of bullies brazenly taunting and beating their victims ruthlessly and the comeuppance that comes to those who truly deserve it never gets old.  Candy Corn strips away complicated plot devices to focus instead on what makes horror movies fun.
B movies have been an integral part of the genre since the very beginning.  Films like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Alice Sweet Alice are perfect examples of B horror success.  These movies are opposite ends of the spectrum but both represent the best of what B has to offer.  Just because there are so many comedic cousins in this group doesn’t mean there aren’t some pretty scary films among the list.  Part satirical hokum and relentless fear, B horror is often disrespected.  Candy Corn should change all that.
It’s packed with cameos and small parts designed to draw in the hard core lovers of horror films.  P.J. Soles from the 1976 Brian DePalma Carrie, the original Halloween, and not a genre film but a personal favorite Stripes(over the lazy dog sir), gets top billing but has a small part as a police station receptionist.  Tony Todd, Candyman himself, has a similarly small but memorable role as one of the members of a traveling carnival called Dr. Death’s Side Show Spook House Spectacular.  His large frame and iconic voice are put to good use as a deadly but sympathetic monster.  Courtney Gains everyone’s favorite creepy ginger from Children of the Corn and The ‘Burbs is a enabling parent and town sheriff.  The Greasy Strangler’s Sky Elobar is unbridled dirtbaggery that is as obnoxious as it is fun to watch.  The dialogue is written to be both laughed with and at.  There is nothing serious about this film, just unabashed cheese that sits just this side of scary by delivering a nice monster in the form of a bloodied, masked, undead Jacob.  The ringmaster for our band of murderous misfits is Pancho Moler.  Moler has a long history of genre work in 3 from Hell and 31.  Collectively its a casting made in horror Heaven or maybe Hell.
The story is a familiar one.  A group of cruel teen boys and a sleazy uhmmm lets call him an entrepreneur(think Damone from Fast Times at Ridgemont High twenty years later) plan and execute a Halloween prank on a mentally challenged young man.  The marginalized kid was taken in by the carnival where he finally found a job and a home.  It is obvious the group of boys have abused this unfortunate teen for years and are looking to increase the prank until they take things too far and Jacob loses his life.  Why they choose to go after this kid each year is unimportant.  It’s cruelty for the sake of cruelty.  After Dr. Death performs some sort of voodoo ceremony on Jacob’s dead body Candy Corn rises and his scarefactor is impressive.  Kudos to the effects and makeup team comprised of Josh Mabry who sculpted the newest Michael Myers mask in Halloween, Chris Gallagher, Erik Porn, Russ Lukich, Dave Hartman, and costume designer Cody Varona.  The practical effects, particularly the spine scene, and the creation of the monster himself are very effective and standout in a sea of star studded cameos.  This film succeeds because of their phenomenal work.  A B horror movie with a A horror killer.
What unfolds is one grisly death after another of those who have wronged Jacob over the years.  The kills are bombastic, bloody, wet, and gross.  It is everything you want in a kill scene plus a bloodied plastic pumpkin full of candy.  The final kill is the pinnacle of violence complete with limb ripping and teeth pulling.  It’s a repulsive good time.  Eventually the Carnival performers themselves get in on the action in a fantastically fist-pumping pep talk delivered by Dr. Death himself.  This shift in the singularly focused kills to collaborative murders allows the many sundry performers to shine and evokes the classic horror movie Freaks.
This is a film for the underdogs; anyone different who has been pushed around, mistreated, or overlooked.  The bad guys get what’s coming to them in creatively gory ways, and each murder is more satisfying than the last especially when the bloody waterworks start. This is the kind of film where everyone is in on it.  It’s loud, brash, and laughs at its own jokes.  When everyone is on the same page the smartness of the film reveals itself.  Candy Corn is one scary killer and mixed with all the chuckles there are a few quality scares.  This film is just like the candy, a guilty pleasure that never goes out of style.

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