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Review: Josh Hasty’s “CANDY CORN” (Thee Throwback Film of Halloween 2019)

A handful of truly awesome horror films are coming out this Halloween season. Whether it be for production design, big budget expenses, special effects or series continuation, there’s a lot to sink your teeth into when contemplating what to watch on dark and dreary nights. I would recommend Josh Hasty’s CANDY CORN, especially if you’re looking for a throwback that isn’t tacky or trying too hard to appear like a cult classic. Written, directed and edited by Josh Hasty (In Hell Everybody Loves Popcorn), CANDY CORN finds a Halloween weekend prank gone wrong when schoolyard bullies haze the local outcast. As with any movie in this demographic, the hazing goes too far and the loner, Jacob, is accidentally killed. But that’s not the end of his story. Thanks to a mysterious acquaintance who uses dark magic, Jacob returns from the dead to seek revenge against those who wronged him. Shot as the first feature under Local Boogeyman Productions, CANDY CORN stars Courtney Gains (Children of the Corn), P.J. Soles (Halloween), Tony Todd (Candyman), Pancho Moler (3 from Hell) and Sky Elobar (The Greasy Strangler) alongside Caleb Thomas, Lovlee Carroll, Matt O’Neill, Nate Chaney, Jimothy Beckholt, Madison Russ and Cy Creamer. Find it in select theaters on September 13th 2019 followed by a VOD/Blu-ray release on September 17th 2019 courtesy of Dread Central and Epic Pictures.

The two best aspects of CANDY CORN are the picture quality and the palpable atmosphere. CANDY CORN looks retro by today’s standard and it FEELS like Halloween; not like a movie capitalizing on the holiday. These components really establish the mood and vibe of this movie, while also being fueled by the trippy scores, which is sure to grab the attention of old school horror fanatics long before the first on-screen murder. CANDY CORN speaks to the little devils that once lived inside us before we grew older and more jaded. When you throw in a sideshow spectacular/carnival adventure and the use of black magic to supercharge the killer, CANDY CORN has all the components from The Golden Age of Horror and pulls them off flawlessly. And in case I forgot to mention that CANDY CORN is the best throwback film of Halloween 2019, let me say that it features realistic special effects from Justin Mabry (Halloween ’18), Chris Gallaher (“Fear the Walking Dead”) and Erik Porn (“Scream Queens”). There’s no question that director Josh Hasty was inspired by slasher films of a generation once removed, and I even saw what I believe to be homages to both John Carpenter and Rob Zombie’s Halloween films. A good, cold story of revenge, CANDY CORN breathes life into the clusterfuck of horror catalogs just when we need it most.

Just because we’ve seen a ton of movies like CANDY CORN before doesn’t mean it’s short on surprises. With the epic on-screen kills and the sleuthing cops on the murderer’s trail, CANDY CORN delivers a lot of unexpected punches. Sure, we get a few fake scares and jump scares, but it strays from the traditional horror film cliches enough to not bore the audience. This can be seen when (SPOILER ALERT) the would-be-predictable survivor girl ends up on the chopping block. But, to steer you away from that little detail – let me say that CANDY CORN features dozens of classic cars and that appeals to be as a basic human being! Seriously, though. CANDY CORN has so much to offer to a viewer even when you remove the retro vibes and special effects. The acting is stellar from start to finish, and the cinematography looks great. There’s a scene when Courtney Gains is walking on a road near a “See You Later” sign and it looks absolutely beautiful and award winning. I encourage you to watch this movie when it becomes available. Don’t let the Halloween season go by without watching this gem. It’s a coherent, thrilling slaughterfest in the tradition of some of the greatest slashers in horror film history. And it’s chalk full of screen legends who are more than minor characters, they’re part of the central plot. Alright. I’m done raving now.

Final Score: 8.5 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)