A prank taken too far. An unintended death. The bloody retribution that follows. The basic plot of many genre films. Candy Corn takes them, adds a carnival sideshow and sets it all on Halloween in the 1980s. Writer/director Josh Hasty (Honeyspider) delivers a tribute to the films he, and many of us grew up with.
It’s a yearly tradition for Mike (Jimothy Beckholt), Steve (Cy Creamer), and Bobby (Caleb Thomas) to abuse mentally challenged Jacob (Nate Chaney) on Halloween. This year however things are a little different. Jacob has a job with the carnival that’s passing through town.
When the trio plus newcomer Gus (Sky Elobar, The Greasy Strangler) turns up he fights back. Which results in him being beaten to death. Dr. Death (Pancho Moler, Fright Fest, 31) the carnival owner decides to do something about it and revives him via a voodoo ritual.
As the bodies begin to drop Sheriff Bramford (Courtney Gains, Deadly Crush, Children Of The Corn) and Deputies Fox (Patrick Ryan, Circus Of The Dead) and Conrad (Justin Mabry, Puppet Master: Axis Termination) try to stop what the think is a human killer.
Candy Corn manages to catch the feel of 80s horror nicely. Having PJ Soles (Halloween, Carrie) in a supporting role certainly helps. Tony Todd, (Candyman, Worth) unfortunately just turns up for his usual extended cameo. But the overall feel is there as Jacob comes back to settle the score with his tormentors. The practical effects that show his retribution are the perfect compliment. realistic and not to bloody. Just solidly R rated like back in the day.
Then suddenly in the last act, it takes a much darker turn that just doesn’t fit with what we’ve already seen. And that’s a shame because Candy Corn could have worked with a darker tone throughout the whole film. It wouldn’t have had the same nostalgic vibe, but it could have been a good slice of horror. The abrupt change feels like an attempt to catch the audience off guard. And it did, just not in a good way.
Still, up until then, Candy Corn is an enjoyable film. One that’s still worth watching, but it should have been much better. Epic Pictures and Dread will release Candy Corn on VOD and Blu-ray September 17th. You can get updates on Dread’s Facebook page.