Although it’s February, I discovered a couple of Halloween selections on Prime that I had not seen. Meanwhile, Hulu offers a new “Valentine” installment of Into the Dark for February, and it’s the only one here that won’t be landing on my full list of holiday horror films. Here’s why.
SHARP CANDY (2019)
I’m always up for a low budget streaming service Halloween anthology series, especially since The Witching Season was a goodie.
Prime series Sharp Candy starts strong, with a total 80s vibe and synth score, and plenty of Halloween spirit. There is an effort to make all the stories come together, but the episodes become less impressive as they progress.
Episode 1 – a young woman refuses candy to a masked trick or treater she thinks is too old…and is then terrorized by a clown instead. That tablecloth is virtually the same one I have on my dining room table in October.
Episode 2 – it begins in a cornfield then jumps to a pawnshop, where a cute guy is advertising his Halloween inventory.
Sure it’s nice to see him tied up while wearing a tight T-shirt, but this one feels a little cheap, silly, and disjointed.
Episode 3 – on the way to a Halloween party, a young deaf woman is abducted by the not-so-scary clown from the first story, who talks way too much about his philosophy on killers and horror, especially considering his victim is deaf.
And don’t ask me why he has a jump rope made of penises—even if it is my favorite part (of the show).
Episode 4 – a tale of a student trying to get revenge on his high school principal on Halloween night, this one runs the longest at 28 minutes.
I think the production ran out of money, because the character spends way too much time at the end of the episode basically explaining to another character how the four tales connect.
MY VALENTINE (2020)
For its second February horror movie, Hulu’s Into The Dark series gives us a “what could have been” take on a bizarre and scandalous real-life Internet sensation (or two) in the music industry. If you don’t know the story of how producer Titanic Sinclair transferred the quirky video persona of his singer girlfriend Mars Argo to his new girlfriend Poppy, who grew even more popular with her weird, robotic video personality, then catch up by watching this intriguing recap video on YouTube.
Basically lawsuits, accusations of abuse, and restraining orders followed. That is where this fictional account picks up. This dark thriller filled with awesome pop songs and music videos may appeal most to those who are familiar with the true “bizarre love triangle”. The songs for the movie are performed by an artist named Dresage. Oddly enough, her usual music is more Mars Argo, while the stuff she did for the movie is more Poppy. Here’s Dresage as Dresage:
And here’s one of her “Trezzure/Valentine” tracks as lip-synced in the movie:
As for the plot, Valentine has had her identity stolen by her ex-boyfriend/producer Royal and his new girl Trezzure, so she’s attempting to rebuild her career, starting in a small venue, where she must face both her true fans and those who think she is the phony.
But then Royal shows up, despite the restraining order, with Trezzure in tow.
As the night unfolds, real motivations are revealed, the pop hits keep spinning, and things turn violent and deadly in a splash of campy flickering footage, neon colors, split screen, and booming bass beats.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the “sides” taken in this film fan the flames of the online Mars/Titanic/Poppy wars, which still haven’t wound down. If only this fiction were fact, the ongoing drama would finally be beaten to death for good.
Meanwhile, although one of the characters is named Valentine and there are a lot of hearts in the music videos, I believe this film isn’t even set on Valentine’s Day.
DOLL FACTORY (2014)
I’ll say right up front that I ordered the DVD of this one before it was even over. I was expecting a low budget killer doll movie, not the funny little Halloween killer doll horror comedy that unfolded.
It opens on Halloween 1976, with a sheriff, his deputy, and a black dude right out of a 1970s blaxploitation film fighting killer dolls behind the specks and tears of a grindhouse movie filter. The sheriff is really cute.
Well, at first…
In the present day, kids at a Halloween party decide to visit an abandoned doll factory with a spell book to see if they can conjure up some ghosts.
It all seems pretty typical and cheesy at first, but since I didn’t realize this was a horror comedy, once the dolls show up and the kids begin dropping funny one-liners in reaction to being hacked to pieces, I was wickedly surprised.
Not to be overshadowed, the killer dolls are just as quirky and silly.
They all look alike, talk with high-pitched voices, and have loads of fun collecting souls for their “master” while smoking pot, being sexual perverts, and delivering super gory kills that don’t rely on CGI.
I can even overlook some minor shit humor because everything else is so up my Halloween horror comedy alley.