With Halloween just over a month away, horror anthology Bad Candy makes its way to VOD platforms. From Amicus Productions to the V/H/S series, the horror anthology has a longstanding history in the genre. Some anthologies – Dr Terror’s House of Horrors, Creepshow, Tales from the Hood, Trick R’ Treat – are justly regarded as classics. Like individual segments themselves, there are also quite a few middling, or otherwise, forgettable efforts (Creepshow 2, Cat’s Eye). Regardless, the horror anthology never really goes out of style. In the last year, Nightmare Cinema and Shudder’s Scare Package have revitalized some interest in the format. A new V/H/S sequel, V/H/S/94, ensures we’ll get at least one more anthology this Halloween season, which is good. Because as it stands, neither critics nor audiences are overly impressed with Bad Candy.
On Halloween night, radio DJ Chilly Billy and his cohost, Paul, regale their listeners with stories of haunting local myths.
Bad Candy an Assortment Box of Undercooked Treats
Bad Candy starts off promisingly enough. Writer and directors Desiree Connell and Scott B Hansen’s idea of radio DJs spinning local town myths is a great setup for an anthology of ghoulish Halloween tales. And Bad Candy’s opening segment flashes some decent camera work alongside a tease for the kind of morality tales one expects in this sort of movie. Sadly, Bad Candy never comes close to fulfilling this promise. Amongst its problems, a lack of focus plagues the movie almost immediately. Not satisfied to tell three or four coherently scary tales, Chilly Billy and company bounce from segment to segment in a haphazard manner. There’s little setup and sluggish pacing. Oftentimes these segments fail to provide any sort of payoff. Too often the storytelling feels hyperactive.
Oftentimes these segments fail to provide any sort of payoff.
What’s worse – Bad Candy seems to badly miss the mark on the horror anthology structure. Almost nothing seems to hold these different segments together. Even the ABCs of Death had its ‘alphabet’ conceit to make it feel like something of a cohesive movie. Typically, horror anthologies rely on their wraparound segment to bind together their morality plays. Here, the Chilly Billy wraparound segments feel disconnected until nearly two-thirds into the movie. Oh, there’s a creepy-looking clown that randomly pops up now and then. Unlike Trick R’ Treat’s ‘Sam’, however, this clown never ties the stories together in a coherent manner. Moreover, generally awful people populate the segments with little in the way of an overarching morality.
Bad Candy Struggles to Overcome Its Own Randomness
Clearly, Bad Candy is low-budget, indie horror. That in an of itself is not the movie’s problem. Trilogy of Terror was a made-for-television movie. And Nightmare Cinema, Scare Me, and Scare Package delivered the goods with small budgets. Comparatively, Bad Candy doesn’t just look cheap – it feels cheap. Choppy editing and poor camera placement are recurrent problems. Occasionally, Connell and Hansen overreach their grasp including a segment with a haunted notepad and some suspect demons. Other scenes that open up the action – like a chase scene from a failed break and enter – feel clumsy. To be fair, a few scenes boast the kind of gory carnage you want from low-budget horror. And one segment in a morgue featuring a necrophiliac attendant dressed in a sexy nurse outfit at least feels like it’s pushing boundaries.
…a few scenes boast the kind of gory carnage from low-budget horror.
Don’t go into Bad Candy expecting much from the performances. Veteran character actor Zach Galligan (Gremlins, Hatchet III) has little to do and mostly looks bored. As ‘Chilly Billy’, Slipknot’s Corey Taylor is perfectly fine for the role. Connell and Hansen’s screenplay doesn’t ask much from him either. By the time the movie ends, Taylor’s casting feels like a random, missed opportunity. Perhaps one of Bad Candy’s segments best exemplifies the movie’s random, unfocused vibe. A ride share driver, who pops up for no reason in a a couple of other segments around the movie’s halfway point, joins other war vets to launch an inexplicable assault on … bad people. Because. Oh, and someone turns into a winged demon. For reasons.
Bad Candy a Bag of Rocks for Most Horror Fans
Though some diehard indie horror fans will appreciate Bad Candy, it’s hard to imagine this horror anthology finding a big audience. Poor editing, hyperactive and unfocused storytelling, and iffy visual effects are amongst the chief problems. Just about every horror anthology lays at least one dug of a segment. But Bad Candy struggles to stick one good landing. Creepy and awkward describe the most effective segment. By and large, however, the rest of the segments feel rushed and incomplete. With little tying the different stories together, Bad Candy feels long with no real payoff.