Sunday, October 23, 2016

THE CANDY SNATCHERS (1973)



THE CANDY SNATCHERS (1973)

Director: Guerdon Trueblood
Writer: Brian Gindoff


Starring: Tiffany Bolling, Susan Sennet, Ben Piazza

    
I first read about The Candy Snatchers in the book Sleazoid Express. The story intrigued me so I knew I had to hunt this puppy down. But wouldn’t ya know it? The fucker’s outta print and commanding boo koo bucks online (at the time it was anyways). Thankfully, a bit of miscommunication got me out of attending Halloween Horror Nights and into Amoeba Music—where I stumbled upon a copy for $30. I can tell ya I was certainly fap-happy that night. But would the movie live up to my expectations?


     Based on the 1968 kidnapping of Barbara Jane Mackle, The Candy Snatchers follows Candy Philips (Susan Sennet), a 16-year-old school girl who’s kidnapped by three crooks: sympathetic Eddie (Vincent Martorano), bad bitch and ringleader Jessie (Tiffany Bolling) and vicious Alan (Brad David). The plan: get a shitload of diamonds from Candy’s father, Avery (Ben Piazza), who owns a jewelry store. In the meantime, the three bury Candy in a hole. The only witness to the kidnapping is Sean (Christopher Trueblood). To say anymore would give away too many of the twists and turns in this movie.
     The Candy Snatchers is one of those movies you go into expecting a solid yet standard thriller, but come out with an empty feeling in your stomach. Not because
the movie’s bad, but because it shoves your face in filth and holds it there for the entire 92-minute runtime. Damn near everyone in this flick is a sleazebag or sadist only looking out for themselves. Even Sean, supposed to be a sympathetic character, is not wholly innocent: his actions reveal a little sadist in bloom. And just watch how he decides to take leave of us.
     Director Trueblood spares us any bullshit, preferring to get right to the story and making sure the screws continue to tighten throughout. Every minute the tension increases until a full-on explosion is expected (and delivered). Not a minute is wasted on anything unnecessary and the film moves along at a quick pace, keeping the viewer glued to the screen until the final shocking yet satisfying denouement. It’s truly surprising that The Candy Snatchers is Trueblood’s only cinematic directorial effort (he also directed an episode of the TV series Barnaby Jones: “The Inside Man”) as he shows considerable talent here. Had he continued directing we might be speaking of him in the same breath as some of the exploitation greats.
     All the actors here are in fine form. Granted, no Oscar winners, but the actors and actresses ensure that each character is differentiated and has personality. The three kidnappers especially stand out: desperation oozes from them and anxiety
shows in their eyes as broken dreams has made them fearful of the future—and willing to do whatever it takes to escape it.
     The Candy Snatchers is definitely one of the best thrillers I’ve encountered in some time and something I’ll be pimping out for years to come. The film is solid all-around, definitely well-worth the money dropped on it and definitely well-worth the time spent watching it. All I gotta say is: watch it!

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