When I heard of Bad Candy for the first time, I figured it would be a documentary about taffy, and how it’s nefariously infiltrated our society’s taste buds. Instead, it turned out to be a gleefully gory horror anthology on par with contemporaries such as V/H/S or The ABCs of Death, and we the audience are all the better for it. Bad Candy is stuffed full of humor, campy Halloween decor, and of course, numerous horror movie killings and absurdity.
Directed by Scott B. Hansen and Desiree Connell, Bad Candy follows two radio DJs, played by Corey Taylor and Zach Galligan, as they tell scary stories on-air to the local listeners of New Salem. These stories then make up the bulk of the film, as they are depicted on-screen in delightful detail, intermittently cutting back to the DJs to create an overall collage of Halloween.
I haven’t seen anything quite like Bad Candy before, as its characters and storylines interlock in a perfect jigsaw puzzle all crammed into one fun-size piece. It reminded me of Black Mirror in that it immediately crafted a full universe with easter eggs and references to itself for the viewer to catch onto. Bad Candy’s attention to detail makes me want to watch the film again, just to catch more of those little moments.
The content of Bad Candy is full of satire and comedy, but its funny moments and colorful visuals don’t detract from its genuine scares throughout. The film can be very frightening as it ranges in everything from classic slasher chases to haunting ghost stories. It isn’t a downer though, and that’s largely thanks to consistent jokes and appearances from Taylor and Galligan’s radio personalities. They function a bit like “the Creep” from Creepshow, breaking tension and centering the audience in between stories. Still, Bad Candy isn’t a copy as the duo’s chemistry and levity bring something new to the anthology table that I was glad to see.
Another constant of the film is the eponymous character Bad Candy, introduced early on as a terrifying-looking clown that can be found in several of the stories. It acts as a sort of vigilante or a villain depending on what story you’re in, or even your interpretation of the film’s events. This mysterious element further ties the stories together, keeping the world intact and not letting the film get muddy.
Bad Candy is stuffed full of sound effects and musical cues too, which all feel in place crafting the creepy atmosphere. The story is a stunning achievement considering how many characters, locations, and moods are all threaded together into one, but Chris Dudley’s music stands out as really cementing the fantasies. The music shone alongside countless sound effects, thanks to David Knight. The vibes are clear and clean in every aspect of the film.
A good anthology film can be a rare treasure, and I’m grateful I genuinely enjoyed Bad Candy. There were hilarious moments juxtaposed with genuine scares, all drenched in classic Halloween elements and strong production all around.
9 out of 10