Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
The Devil’s Candy: Play it Loud
Hellman would like to be the next Derek Riggs. He certainly has the name for
it. Unfortunately, there is not much demand for heavy metal art in East Jesus,
Texas. However, he is about to get some sinister inspiration. You could almost
say it is like he’s possessed. That is pretty much the case for Ray Smilie, a
fellow metalhead who killed his parents in the Hellman’s new, suspiciously
affordable home, not so very long ago. Maybe heavy metal lyrics and album
covers are more accurate than we realized, if we judge from the Hellmans’
experiences in Sean Byrnes’ The Devil’s
which opens tonight in New York, at the IFC Center.
likes to play loud, because it drowns out the voices. When he is forced to
listen, he is compelled to do terrible things, like murder his mother.
Apparently, his distraught father committed suicide shortly thereafter. Somehow
the system lost track of their grown son with a history of mental illness, but
the Smilie’s house was duly liquidated.
and Astrid Hellman were legally notified of the house’s notorious history, but
they were not really paying attention. They were distracted by the fire sale
price. However, when the highly-agitated Smilie starts coming around, they
finally start to focus. Of course, the imposing Ray takes a liking to their
daughter Zooey, because she is a metalhead, like her dad. He even wants to give
her his flying V, which makes her parents extremely uncomfortable. At least
Hellman’s painting is going well—actually too well. He has started losing time
while painting, as if in a trance. When his latest piece reveals itself to be a
portrait of Zooey and several other children in Hell, Astrid really starts to
freak—and so does he.
the comedic carnage of the similarly metal-themed Deathgasm, Candy is a
moody, atmospheric pressure cooker of a horror film. You would even call it
quiet, were it not for the eye-drum shredding soundtrack. Nevertheless, Byrne
takes viewers to some dark corners of the soul, as well as some lonesome stretches
of Nowheresville, Texas. He maintains a tight command over mood an mise-en-scene,
doing justice to the venerable tradition of demonic horror.
unrecognizable Ethan Embry and Kiarra Glasco develop some surprisingly touching
father-daughter rapport together. It is also inpressive how thoroughly Embry
commits as Hellman the head-banger, bulking up and grunging out. Yet, it is Pruitt
Taylor Vince who really creeps us out as the totally messed up Smilie.
There is no question the gleefully chaotic Deathgasm is more fun, but Candy is a much more stylish work of
cinema. If forced to choose, we would lean towards the former, but happily,
there is no need to opt for one over the other. Recommended for fans of horror
and metal, The Devil’s Candy opens
tonight (3/17), after midnight, at the IFC Center.
Labels: Horror Movies, Pruitt Taylor Vince