BAD CANDY movie poster | ©2021 Dread

BAD CANDY movie poster | ©2021 Dread

Rating: Not Rated
Stars: Zach Galligan, Corey Taylor, Riley Sutton
Writers: Scott B. Hansen & Desiree Connell
Directors: Scott B. Hansen & Desiree Connell
Distributor: Dread
Release Date: September 10, 2021

BAD CANDY is a very mixed bag. There’s no question that the movie provides more stories than we might expect for a modestly-budgeted horror anthology. It also has good creature and gore effects. There’s a CREEPSHOW-comic book vibe here that is often fun, but sometimes unfortunately extends to the CGI, which doesn’t always match the stronger practical aspects.

The framing device for BAD CANDY is the Chilly Billy show on the small-town radio station 66.6 (what else?) FM in a small rural town. The two deejays having a good time with their Psychotronic Halloween programming are storyteller Bill (Corey Taylor) and his sidekick Paul (Zach Galligan). We’re in the present – everybody has cell phones – but there’s a timelessness to the enterprise.

The first, and perhaps best, tale features a tween (Riley Sutton) who’s an unusually talented artist. She wants to spend Halloween trick-or-treating with her friends, but her alcoholic stepfather puts a stop to it – unwisely, as it turns out.

Other segments range from one in a morgue that is impressively crazy to one that seems to be rooting for vigilante (and extreme) violence against drug addicts. Really? There’s what also might be a blame-the-victim-as-well-as-the-perp assault scenario, though this one is confusingly staged at its finale.

BAD CANDY should be praised for its awesomely scary clowns. Even people who aren’t normally perturbed by painted visages and grimaces will be unnerved; viewers who are already afraid of clowns may have to watch from between their fingers.

Writers/directors Scott B. Hansen & Desiree Connell don’t tie their various storylines into a cohesive whole, a la TRICK ‘R TREAT, where everything turns out to be connected to everything else. This doesn’t exactly work, because while two are clearly tied together, the rest never have a linking payoff.

BAD CANDY either goes from setting up little morality tales to freeform havoc with no explanation, or else the filmmakers think the last few segments are still morality tales. One is narratively messy, the other has an ick factor that has nothing to do with gore.

We might suppose that we’re meant to ponder the way BAD CANDY goes from having us easily cheer on the demises of unpleasant characters to finding ourselves in a moral quandary. However, there’s a concluding voiceover that implies how we’re meant to take what we’ve just seen. The filmmakers might have done better to keep this ambiguous.

There is no doubting the skill that goes into BAD CANDY’s good qualities, and the al-libs/outtakes shown during the closing credits are genuinely funny.

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