Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Candy Snatchers (1973)

Directed by Guerdon Trueblood
Starring Tiffany Bolling, Susan Sennet, Brad David
Rated R

"You are a pig."
"What are you so uptight about? You want her to die a virgin?"

Candy (Susan Sennet) is an innocent young schoolgirl whose father (Ben Piazza) runs a jewelry shop. This is not to bode well for sweet Candy, as unbeknownst to her a terrible trio of desperate scoundrels have concocted a devious plan to obtain her fathers jewels; and Candy is the key ingredient in their recipe.

The kidnappers plan is simple: contact the father, offer Candy in exchange for the jewels, make the trade-off and ride off into the sunset with their newfound wealth. What they don't take into account is that Candy's dad may have some unwholesome ideas of his own and that his daughters kidnapping may not be as powerful a bargaining chip as they had hoped for.

The gang makes their move on an idyllic spring day as Candy is walking home alone from school. The three bandits roll up in their creepy kidnapper van and slowly follow behind her until the moment is ripe. With malicious intent, they strike.

Once Candy is captured, she is promptly blindfolded, bound, and gagged. Just for good measure the vilest of the trio, Alan (Brad David), hits Candy, calls her a bitch and proceeds to stare off in space with a goofy yet menacing look on his face.

The three criminal masterminds - the aforementioned Alan, his sister Jessie (Tiffany Bolling), and rotund teddy bear Eddy (Vince Martorano) - drive Candy to a desolate area high above the city. They've already prepared a stash spot for her until the deal goes down: a 3 foot deep hole in the ground. They toss her in and proceed to cover the hole with wood slats and dirt. To ensure that she stays alive in her temporary housing, they bury a metal pipe in the ground to serve as an air hole.

In a semi-fortuitous turn of events (for Candy, at least), a mute autistic child named Sean (played by director Guerdon Trueblood's own son, Christophe) just happens to be playing nearby in a bush. Upon seeing what happens, he wanders over to the premature grave and begins dropping his snacks down the tube. He also seems to enjoy plugging and unplugging the hole to hear the volume of Candy whimpering change.

The trio proceeds to make contact with Candy's father and sets up a drop-off and exchange. When he doesn't show, things start to fall apart for the amateur criminals. The threesome must change their plans, becoming increasingly willing to do whatever it takes to complete their mission. The result of this desperation comes not only at the expense of Candy, but also themselves.

To reveal much more would only serve to lessen the experience of the film but suffice to say nothing goes quite as planned for anyone involved.

The characters personalities are perplexingly inconsistent and much of the plot plays out conveniently convoluted, but such oddness is what makes the movie as endearing as it is. Without these presumably unintentional additions, the film would undoubtedly fall through the cracks as just another 70's crime caper. What makes The Candy Snatchers the cult classic that it is is indeed the unpredictable nature of its story, and I have to applaud Subversive Cinema for the lovingly realized releasing of this little gem that could have just as easily slipped into the abyss of obscurity.

If you are a fan of unique and trashy 70's exploitation, consider this a must see.

- Jeremy Vaca

1 comment:

  1. That kid always reminds me of the kid in Fulci's 'The House By the Cemetery'. Trivial note - the actress who played Candy married Graham Nash of the Hollies / Crosby, Stills and Nash fame.


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