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31 Days of Halloween

[FAFF] ‘Bad Candy’ review: Halloween anthology more trick than treat

Less is usually more on Halloween.

Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.

Horror anthologies and Halloween go together like peanut butter and chocolate. And past experience has shown, a Halloween anthology can be an instant classic. Bad Candy is a collection of horror stories about the town of New Salem. Radio DJs Chilly Billy (Corey Taylor) and Paul (Zach Galligan) share grim tales of All Hallows’ Eve. What is true and what is just a story?

Bad Candy starts off with an interesting premise. An extremely frightening clown seems to be killing those who disrespect Halloween. Think a less cute version of Sam from Trick ‘r Treat. Things seem to move away from this idea real quick. Bad Candy becomes a series of interconnected stories. This is the first issue with the film. It is hard to tell what is a fiction and what is actually happening. This gives the movie an odd feeling. The audience keeps waiting for an ending that does not really come.

This also makes the movie’s pacing seem off. The stories seem too long before suddenly ending. An important part of horror anthologies is making each segment as impactful as possible. In Bad Candy, since it is impossible to separate fact from fiction, the audience is left waiting for diabolically ironic endings. These never come as the movie awkwardly moves along.

The bumper segments do not help. The introductions and outros to each story are fine. It is when they interject comments in the middle of the tales that things get weird. Some of the stories cut in studio to Paul and Chilly commenting on the story. This can break the flow. Even worse, they sometimes comment on things that seem to be happenings as they are recording. This begs the question: how do they know?

Bad Candy does have a lot going for it. The stories that are more in the anthology spirit are pretty fun. There is some great creature design and make up effects. The movie also boasts some creative kills that bring gore and levity. Ultimately, the film proves a good horror anthology is not as easy to make as it seems. Along with strong scary stories, there has to be a solid wraparound. Bad Candy has a promising start but ends up losing its way.

Bad Candy is playing at the virtual Frightening Ass Film Fest. Badges ($25 gives access to everything!) available here.

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