‘Bad Candy’ is Good Halloween Fun [Review]

The new independent Halloween horror film Bad Candy is one of 2021’s must-see movies destined to be revisited for many Octobers to come, with vibrant Halloween atmosphere, a killer soundtrack, wicked practical gore, and a twisted story that delivers all sorts of fun creatures of the night.

Bad Candy takes place in the fictional town of New Salem, where radio DJs Chilly Billy and Paul host their annual Psychotronic FM Halloween show, telling tales of the supernatural from years gone by. Zach Galligan (Gremlins) stars as Paul and Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor is perfectly cast as Chilly Billy.

Written and directed by husband-wife team Scott Hansen and Desiree Connell, Bad Candy hands out a full bag of treats for all tastes, from a young witch just expanding her powers to a lonely morgue worker who takes a wild ride on a stiff, to a stunning giant dracu-bat creature, created with absolutely amazing practical FX designed by Wayne Anderson (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Predator). This is the kind of massive, incredibly detailed monster you might expect to see in a major studio blockbuster, but never in a low budget indie production.

The film will inevitably draw comparisons to Michael Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat, as it has similar themes about following the traditions of Halloween …or else, but the tone is closer to something like Evil Dead II. I especially loved the horrible fate of one little boy who smashed pumpkins and took too many pieces of candy from a “take one” treat bowl. Then there’s the creepy old guy putting razor blades in chocolate bars, who is ultimately served a taste of his own medicine.

There is an irreverent, over the top unpredictability to the kills, sometimes committed by the film’s “hero” Hallow-enforcer, a maniacally smiling clown named Bad Candy, and sometimes done by others as Bad Candy approvingly looks on.

The movie never takes itself too seriously, and seems to revel in its B-movie freedom to do whatever the hell it wants. You can feel Hansen and Connell having a blast throwing everything in their wildest imaginations into this mixtape of mayhem. This is fun horror meant to make you smile, and often laugh, not torture you or give you a headache.

Haley Leary delivers a standout performance as Abbie, who makes the mistake of taking some bad candy of a different kind from a local sleazebag after her date stands her up. What comes next will likely be the most talked about scene in the film, and Leary rocks it.

Alexandra Lucchesi also brings a lot of presence and truth to her performance as Marie, who finds herself in a home invasion situation after dipping from a party early.

The cinematography beautifully captures the colorful essence of the season in each frame, while the soundtrack features in excellent score by Nero Bellum, punctuated by some well-placed metal and industrial tracks.

Bad Candy spares no blood, and surprises with pitch black humor.

Evil beings of every kind get their due eventually, as this Halloween night winds down with a big reveal that connects all of the intertwined stories, and unmasks the real monsters.

Bad Candy is out now on VOD and on Blu-ray, from Dread.

You can watch our exclusive video interview with Bad Candy co-writer and co-director Scott Hansen below.

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Matt Artz

Founded Halloween Daily News in 2012 and the Halloween International Film Festival in 2016. Professional writer/journalist/photographer since 2000.