BARE BONES: CANDY CORN (2019)

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CANDY CORN (2019)

Boring Halloween set horror has a group of small town thugs following their cruel Halloween tradition of pranking local boy Jacob (Nate Chaney), who now works for a carnival. Their bullying takes an unexpected turn when Jacob finally fights back and they accidentally kill him in retaliation. The carnival’s ring master Dr. Death (Pancho Moler from Rob Zombie’s 31) uses his voodoo powers to resurrect Jacob as a mask wearing monster that avenges himself brutally on his attackers, leaving candy corn stuffed in their dead mouths.

Flick is written and directed very by-the-numbers by Josh Hasty, who has obviously seen a lot of horror films, but doesn’t really understand what makes them work. His script is a dull hodgepodge of flicks we have all seen before, from Carpenter’s classic to Pumpkinhead, yet without any of those films’ chills or thrills. He thinks all that he had to do was hire some familiar faces from horror films past and present, yet gives us no likable or interesting characters for us to identify with or root for. The victims of his dull creature are all cruel local thugs, so they are getting what’s coming to them and we have no sympathy or interest in their deaths whatsoever. Jacob looks like some guy wandering around in a generic Halloween mask and exudes no threat or menace. If you can’t conjure memorable or likable characters, at least have a memorable monster. Epic fail on both counts. Add to that, the cast all recite their dialogue with a deadpan monotone and it makes every scene tedious. There is some routine bloodshed, but absolutely no suspense, atmosphere or tension to give it weight. At 85 minutes it’s a bore to sit through and is as forgettable as it’s vengeful walking corpse. Don’t waste your time unless you have to see every Halloween themed movie out there. Also stars Candyman‘s Tony Todd, Halloween’s P.J. Soles and Children of the Corn’s Courtney Gains.

-MonsterZero NJ

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: CAN’T BUY ME LOVE (1987)

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CAN’T BUY ME LOVE (1987)

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Flick is now renown as an 80s teen comedy classic and upon a revisit, it still has it’s charm and plenty of 80s nostalgia.

Story finds nerdy Ronald Miller (Patrick Dempsey) hopelessly infatuated with high school cheer-leading captain Cindy Mancini (Amanda Peterson). Ronald has saved up over $1,000 for a new telescope, but when opportunity arises and Cindy needs to replace one of her mother’s (Sharon Farrell) expensive dresses she’s ruined, Ronald uses the money to “rent” Cindy for one month. Ronald believes that if Cindy pretends to like him, he’ll become popular…and he does. What he doesn’t foresee, is a real affection forming between the two that Ronald’s new popular status may cause him to overlook.

It’s hard to deny this teen romantic comedy written by Michael Swerdlick and directed by Steve Rash is cliché as they come, but it is loaded with charm and has a sweet center that is kind of irresistible. Film is basically a teenage high school version of Pretty Woman with a young man “renting” a pretty popular girl instead of a prostitute. There are all the expected lessons, such as being cool isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, being yourself is the most important thing and true love can conquer all. There is nothing original about it, but it has a charming cast, some funny moments and some very sweet and romantic moments too…not to forget the traditional corny speech by the hero when he finally figures it all out. Add to it all those 80s styles and music and you have a really fun movie that has gotten even more enjoyable with the nostalgia element thrown in by the passing of time.

As for that charming cast, they go a long way to helping make this flick click. Dempsey plays the quintessential nerd here who transforms into a slick Lothario and then finally back to himself, though now with a bit more confidence from his experiences. The actor plays the transformation and growth well and is very likable until the moments where he acts like a jerk, but we are willing to forgive him when the time comes. It’s not hard to understand Ronald’s obsession with pretty and spunky Amanda Peterson bringing the role to life. Her Cindy is not the stereotypical popular girl, she is smart, girl-next-door pretty and seems to not be totally on board with her peers’ high school elite behavior. Peterson makes her really endearing and despite being the ‘popular girl’ we feel sorry for her when Ron’s over-inflated ego cause him to be a jerk to her. Peterson has charm and charisma and she and Dempsey have some nice chemistry together.

This is a favorite. I liked it back in the day and I still love it now. It’s cliché but charming and even more fun with all the 80s nostalgia thrown in. Also stars familiar 80s faces Tina (Teen Witch) Caspary, Courtney (Children Of The Corn) Gains, Darcy (Friday The 13th Part 6) DeMoss and a young Seth Green as Ronald’s obnoxious little brother.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 and 1/2 80s riding mowers.

Farewell and RIP Amanda Peterson 1971-2015

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