There's tons of movies out there where a bullied kid rises up and seeks out revenge on his bullies - a humble, heart-warming story of coming of age and inner strength. But what happens when the bullies accidently kill the freak they're picking on - what happens then?! Enter CANDY CORN - the much anticipated new crowdsourced horror flick written and directed by Josh Hasty and based on a short story by Butch Von Dreaux (@butchovision) - which tells a story much like that. Candy Corn shows the rise of the freak and the revenge of wrongdoing, and it's a bloody hour and a half that will pull you in pretty much from the get-go and hold you tight until the credits roll. I had a feeling the film was going to be good based on the trailer, but Candy Corn ended up surpassing my expectations to the point where I'm comfortable saying it's a must-watch film this Halloween season, and for multiple reasons. While the film may not be the next Halloween or Friday the 13th, there's no doubt in my mind that if the film reaches the masses that there's a chance that two of the main characters - Jacob and Dr. Death - could become notorious names in the horror community, at the very least. Candy Corn is a fucking awesome new entry to the genre and I can only hope it gets the recognition it deserves this season.
Readers beware: possible spoilers ahead so please proceed with caution!
There's a trio of friends who make it an annual tradition to haze and harass Jacob Atkins (Nate Chaney) - the towns local "freak" - the weekend of Halloween. The friends, who are way too old to be doing shit like this in the first place, take it just a little too far this time when they begin to antagonize Jacob at his new job working at a traveling freak show/carnival called Dr. Death's Sideshow Spookhouse Spectacular, hosted by Dr. Death himself (played by Pancho Moler, who you're undoubtedly familiar with from 31 and 3 From Hell). The bullies kill Jacob but luckily his new boss Dr. Death is a voodoo practitioner who manages to bring Jacob back from the dead (and with a killer brand new look!) to seek out revenge on those who wronged him. It's time for the freaks to fight back, and Jacob's not fucking around when it comes to getting his revenge this Halloween night.
Plot wise, Candy Corn is an entertaining and fun story from beginning to end. The added in elements of a traveling freak show, the freaks that work it (including Tony Todd of Candyman fame), and the whole using voodoo to bring Jacob back from the dead definitely helped set this bizzare tone to the film which was awesome. Throw in two of 2019's new horror icons - Jacob and Dr. Death - and you have a recipe for a pretty memorable flick. Jacob pre-death is pretty boring and plain, which is fine because that's not the Jacob you're here to see; the Jacob you're here to see is the undead, bloodthirsty vengeful killer who's out to put an end to the bullies who have tarnished Halloween for him every year. And that Jacob? Yeah, that Jacob is fucking sick. From his demonic pumpkin faced look to his demeanor to his kills, Jacob is an awesome monstrosity that viewers will no doubt fall in love with. He is very reminiscent of Hatchet's Victor Crowley, and I mean that in the very best way possible. Jacob is a weaponless killer, so you know you're going to get some pretty brutal and downright violent kills; even if you don't like the plot, the gore and blood in the film alone will make this film worth your time, I promise. I loved Jacob and looked forward to all of his on-screen appearances!
The character I did underestimate, however, was Pancho Moler's lunatic character Dr. Death. Moler plays some of the best parts of the movies he's in, and Candy Corn is no different: every time Dr. Death is in the scene, you know you're going to get some sadistic humor, some witty comments, and plenty of crazy talk. Moler plays the part dangerously well and will make you fall in love with Dr. Death almost from the get-go. While the other cast members do a great job in their roles (including P.J. Soles as the Sheriff's office assistant), outside of Nate Chaney's portrayal of Jacob, Moler's performance of Dr. Death definitely steals the show and will have you begging for more. I seriously loved every scene he was in and thought the character was perfect for the film.
Candy Corn is one of the better indie films I've seen this year, with a fun, lighthearted plot and plenty of awesome kills (again, much like the Hatchet franchise). I've been following the hype surrounding the film and honestly had pretty high expectations with the amount of excitement, teasing, work, and involvement that went into the film. While some other reviewers may have vastly different opinions from mine, I gotta say: I loved the fuck out of Candy Corn and was not disappointed one bit!! I feel like the film has potential to be an underground cult classic if it gets the viewership that it deserves, simply because it's just a truly fun Halloween tale. If the story doesn't do it for you, the cast undoubtedly will. As we quickly enter October, Candy Corn will be one of the films I recommend to my friends and family when they come to me asking what are good horror movies to watch this time of the year. With that, I leave the same recommendation to you as well: rent it, buy it, do whatever you gotta do - just watch Candy Corn this season, you'll thank me later.