From Josh Hasty, the director of 2016’s In Hell Everybody Loves Popcorn: The Making of 31 documentary, comes a delightfully fun and horrific feature film called Candy Corn.
A few weeks shy of the beginning of the Halloween season, Candy Corn is set to be released through Epic Pictures and DREAD on VOD as well as Blu-ray Tuesday, September 17th. Pure Horror nostalgia, reminiscent of John Carpenter’s early work combined with the stylized gore of Rob Zombie, the cast also comes stacked with seasoned vets like P.J. Soles (Carrie 1976, The Devil’s Rejects 2005), Courtney Gains (Children of the Corn 1984, Can’t Buy Me Love 1987), Tony Todd (Night of the Living Dead 1990, Candyman 1992), and Pancho Moler (31 2016, 3 From Hell 2019).
Gains, alongside Matt O’Neill and Hasty produced the film, while Todd joined James Claeysas executive producers. The film’s cast also has many fresh faces stepping up to the front seat such as Caleb Thomas (Did He Do It? 2015, The Terror of Hallow’s Eve 2017), Madison Russ (Star Trek: Renegades series, Junkie 2018), Lovelee Carroll (Anabolic Life 2017, Solve series), Matt O’Neill (Edgar Allan Poe’s Lighthouse Keeper 2016, Coffin 2017), and introducing Nate Chaney in the key role as Jacob Atkins.
Set in the ’80s, Candy Corn follows a group of friends that are planning their annual Halloween hazing on the local outcast, Jacob Atkins. On Halloween night, things take a turn for the worse when Jacob decides to fight back, causing them to jump him and beat him to death. His body is later found by the carnies at the traveling carnival in town that had previously taken a liking to Jacob. Dr. Death (Moler), who as his name suggests, is into the occult and runs a voodoo act at the carnival, performs a ritual to bring Jacob back from the dead to exact his revenge on those who have wronged him.
Thanks to the success of media like Stranger Things, there has been a huge ’80s revival in Horror and Sci-Fi. Now more than ever, we can see elements of ’80s classics strewn throughout the genre, paying homage to the iconic films and shows that were birthed during that era. Right down the the revenge plot involving Jacob’s resurrection into this otherworldly creature with a grotesque Jack O’ Lantern face was all very Pumpkinhead. Even the upcoming season of American Horror Story revisits the 80s slasher craze complete with excessive hairspray and excessive gore in the AHS: 1984. Everything from the bold orange title cards, the slight sepia-toned coloration, the score – it all screams vintage horror.
One of the things that makes this film stand out are the practical effects. The award-winning SFX-team behind this film includes Justin Mabry, who sculpted the new Michael Myers mask in the 2018 Halloween reboot. Mabry is also the co-owner of Trick or Treat studios, which offers high quality masks, costumes, props, weapons, makeup, appliances and accessories for various retails, distributors, collectors and haunts. Chris Gallaher, who previously worked on Vice and Fear The Walking Dead, and Erik Porn who’s work can be seen on Scream Queens and American Horror Story. Additional accredited effects team includes Russ Lukich, and Emmy nominee, David Harman. The costume department was led by designer Cody Varona, who is responsible for the wardrobe design for artists like Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, and Guns n’ Roses.
Candy Corn is a delectable treat for horror lovers. It is chock-full of morsels of what made ’80s Horror delightful, mashed together with all of the blood and gore of modern Horror. It marks the first film financed by Local Boogeyman, and if it’s any indication of what’s the come, then Horror is definitely in for a delicious treat.
That all said, while Candy Corn is by no means an award-winning film, it’s a fun film that’s bound to be a bloody-good time for horror and non-horror fans alike. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives it 3 out of 5 stars.