Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tales from the Darkside: Halloween Candy

"Halloween Candy," another episode directed by Tom Savini and written by Michael McDowell, reminds of a couple a movie and another anthology show.

That would be the 2007 anthology movie Trick 'r Treat, in which Brian Cox plays a grouch under siege by a masked imp in his home on Halloween, and "The Invaders," a classic Twilight Zone episode in which a mute old woman is attacked by tiny "alien" invaders. The story is harrowing, intense, and fun.

"Halloween Candy" has a much similar story, and it draws on "Trick or Treat" from season one as well, and while it's not as effective as the others, it's a ghoulish good time with a great monster.

The main problem is the main character, Mr. Killup (Roy Poole). He's just too cranky, misanthropic, and bitter to be much fun, and his actions make little sense. His son buys him candy to give out and leaves it out by the front door. Killup has no qualms about answering the door when kids show up, only to tell them to get lost or to dump "goblin candy" (a concoction of honey and mayonnaise) into their sacks. Strange that no kids cry and no parents show up to give him an earful for being such a hateful bastard.

Savini's direction is quite good and memorable. With "Inside the Closet," he teased and suggested the monster's presence, careful not to show too much. Here, he shows more of the ghoul, an ugly goblin, pulling off now-you-him, now-you-don't tricks. One second, he's at the window peering through the curtains, and the next, he's gone.

The creature also has some sort of power to manipulate reality, such as when he makes cockroaches appear in a cracked egg and in Killup's glass of water. Plus, he looks great and mean, his voice is creepy (sounds like Frank Welker), and he's got a personality. At times, Savini splices in random cutaways of the monster saying "Tricks or treats," suggesting he has the power to be anywhere.

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