Bad Candy is 2020 American dark comedy anthology horror film that recounts small-town Halloween stories of both myth and lessons learned. With the annual Halloween show on Psychotronic FM, reenactment Radio DJ personalities Chilly Billy and Paul cover multiple stories spanning years within their city limits. With each story providing its own valuable lessons, it’s a grim ending for most, but will the few good souls survive?
Co-directed by Scott Hansen (The Possession Experiment) and Desiree Connell, based on the latter’s screenplay, the Digital Thunderdome production stars Corey Taylor (lead vocalist of the nu-metal band Slipknot), Zach Galligan (Hatchet 3; The Chair; Gremlins), Derek Russo, Ryan Kiser (The Dawn; House of Manson), Kenneth Trujillo, Mike Milligan, Haley Nicole Leary, Bill Pacer and Alexandra Lucchesi.
“This is ADHD moviemaking all right; the restless camera doesn’t really stay on anything that long, but the great practical effects and very on point Halloween production values make it watchable, if at times baffling […] This is scrappy, well played but ultimately rather uninvolving fare…” Bloody Flicks
“There seems to be a theme of retribution in the mix, but Hansen and Connell don’t offer an organized picture to really hang their big idea high. Bad Candy is a messy endeavor, and with lowered seasonal demands, perhaps its disjointedness will suffice, but in the grand tradition of horror anthology releases, it doesn’t have the consistency to really deliver prime Halloween escapism.” Blu-ray.com
” …apart from a few outright ugly shots, plentiful passion exists in energetic production design […] A little more attention to technical details like consistent color timing and Bad Candy could hit for par on an average homespun indie course. Unfortunately for that effort, a tragically underfed script loaded with nearly nothing but redundantly empty deaths never stood a chance of plopping out anything other than a flop.” Culture Crypt
” …a very satisfying entry in the horror genre, with a well-constructed series of tales – and a surprising pay-off at the end. Added crossover appeal is thanks to the presence of Zach Galligan, whose work in Gremlins defined a generation of cinemagoers and he is very good here as one of the DJs.” Film and TV Now
“A scary story often benefits from the restrictions of limited locations, a truncated length and the necessity for a sharp, smart twist in the tale. There’s none of this in Bad Candy, in which all of the stories feel roughly the same and none of them come to any sort of satisfying conclusion. Instead, there’s often just a weird clown wandering into frame and an abrupt cut back to the radio studio.” Flickering Myth
“Muddled and messy, Bad Candy offers barely a morsel of the fun that a Halloween-set anthology should do. The creative team have tried their hardest to replicate the enjoyable madness of a film like Trick R Treat, but sadly do not achieve their goals.” The Hollywood News
“The practical effects are handled very well and help with the immersion […] The costume design is on point, especially in regards to the clown demon who acts as one of the throughlines through the vignettes. It’s actually really cool how they explain the creation of them (not sure of their gender) without giving us a boring expository scene.” Horror Obsessive
“It’s a far from perfect film, but with enough entertaining tales, laugh-inducing gore and spookiness to make it a solid transport to Halloween whenever the mood strikes.” Killer Horror Critic
“This is a crowded film, with stories that bleed into each other Short Cuts style, but there’s a coherent overall look, with an emphasis on 1980s-ish practical effects (you can imagine the vintage Fangoria spread). Nevertheless, it has a streak of ruthlessness that makes it more than a simple retro exercise – that MAGA hat and the Not All Men horror aren’t the only touches that root it in a 21st century divided America.” The Kim Newman Website
“Yes, Bad Candy is corny and silly, but it’s also a real blast, an ideal choice for the season. There’s a real love for Halloween at play here, and you can definitely tell that the creators love the theme immensely. It’s a playful movie with a generally fun nature, which makes it easy to watch and easy to like. Sometimes the stories are a little creepier, sometimes they border on comedy, but they all work.” Nerdly
” …while there is a lot to like here, it felt a little bit too long and didn’t go into quite enough depth in some of the stories to make it a perfectly satisfying anthology. It could have been better to cut something and lose 10 minutes than try to cram it all in, to let things breathe. Despite that nitpicking, one thing that is certain though is that Bad Candy is a cut above a lot of independent horror…” NerdSpan
“Most Halloween anthologies are content with four or five stories, but Bad Candy attempted to cram as many stories as possible in its hour-and-45-minute runtime. As a result, it’s inconsistent throughout, and unfortunately, it falls flat at the end when it concludes on the weakest story of the bunch.” Nightmare on Film Street
“The tight story, breakneck pacing, high body count, dark humor, and exceptional effects combine to make Bad Candy an instant late-night classic that competes with some of the best indie horror movies from the past few years.” Signal Horizon
“The lack of originality at times really hurts, and the segments are not really given time to develop. On the plus side, favouring mostly practical gore effects is great to see. Thanks to the cinematography of co-director Scott Hansen and Blake Studwell, the movie looks great, but the visuals can only do so much. There are a few too many tricks in this bag of sweets.” Starburst
“A deaf kid features prominently in the opening segment, and there are several POC included at various points too, but nobody is developed enough to really make an impact. They all, essentially, boast one-line descriptors — abusive stepfather, rat-faced drug dealer, horny weirdo, etc. The only real character development in Bad Candy, in fact, is with Paul and Billy, and even then, it comes so late in the game that it’s hard to conjure up much reason to care.” Vague Visages
In the USA, Bad Candy will be released by Epic Pictures subsidiary Dread in select theatrical locations on September 10, 2021. The film will be available On-Demand on September 14, 2021.
In the UK, Kaleidoscope Entertainment will release Bad Candy on DVD and Digital on October 4, 2021.
Cast and characters:
Zach Galligan … Paul
Derek Russo … Vince
Corey Taylor … Chilly Billy
Kevin Wayne … Greg
David Walterhouse … Jimmy
Ryan Kiser … Charlie
Chris Mayers … Customer
Kenneth Trujillo … Daryl
Samantha Noel Van Sickle … Vanessa
Alexandra Lucchesi … Marie
Jay Plyburn … Scotti
Champ Hollins … Stephen
Michael Whinnett … Tim
Bill Pacer … Mr Grimsley
Riley Sutton … Kyra
MOVIES and MANIA says:
Bad Candy has superb production values for its budget with impressive cinematography, lighting and editing. On the downside, it’s filled with really obnoxious unlikeable characters so the viewer has no one to identify with. Sure, horror anthologies often focus on immoral characters that get their comeuppance but Bad Candy is so relentlessly downbeat it soon begins to grate. And continues in the same vein for its slightly overlong running time.
No matter how well a movie is created if there is zero interest in anyone portrayed onscreen most viewers will soon zone out. If you’re misanthropic with a deeply dark sense of humour you may well enjoy Bad Candy.