‘Candy Land’ Review: Death Comes to the World’s Horniest Truck Stop

adminJanuary 7, 2023

Every wanton trucker heading west on Route 66 knows that Exit 16 is the last place to get any real action before you hit California. In wanton trucker social circles, the rest stop has come so synonymous with its force of “ clean, medicine-free cat ” that it’s earned its own unique CB radio handle “ Candy Land. ”

Watching a horror movie about the lawless, transactional affairs that take place in the taxicabs of thesesemi-trucks is every bit as amusing as you might anticipate. Equal corridor slasher film and softcore porn, pen- director John Swab’s ode to roadside coitus workers is the kind of film that Quentin Tarantino would have seen dozens of times if it came out when he was still a criminally unsupervised nine- time-old. Pervy grindhouse sleaze oozes out of every frame, to the point where it feels like the only proper viewing system would be a scratched 35 mm print in a theater with three different inexplicably sticky substances on the bottom. In other words, it’s noble.

The icons of our story are Riley( Eden Brolin), Levi( Owen Campbell), and Sadie( Sam Quartin), the “ lot lizards ” who earn a living by navigating the complex social rules of anonymous gas station alliances. And boy, are there a lot of them. For illustration, a coitus worker should noway knock on the door of a truck unless the motorist flashes the lights to invite them in. But if a implicit client starts tapping their bottom in the restroom, they ’re probably a exhilaration candidate who’ll appreciate a more direct approach. It’s exhausting work, but notoriety has to do it.

Swab demonstrates plenitude of empathy towards his characters, noway reducing them to caricatures of their sad circumstances. They all take solace in the community that has formed between the hookers who live at the truck stop motel, and they ’re suitable to find enough simple pleasures to distract themselves from the reality of what they actually spend their days doing. The script does n’t feel particularly interested in exploring how they ended up in those circumstances, treating the truck stop like a liminal space where everyone just appeared and nothing asks any questions.

But that’s impeccably fine, because the film wisely devotes utmost of its screen time to the kind of stag movie magic that trash- loving cinephiles are going to seek it out for. Like a clergyman cunnilingus sequence involving a brace of removable dentures that’s as hauntingly muddy as anything Cronenberg ever shot. Or a scene where a Black department store Santa insists on staying in character while getting laid. Or one of the reduction Baldwin sisters trying to buy a manly courtesan with a hamburger, but in a way where you ’re noway relatively sure if he’s talking about the burger or his penis.

Riley, Levi, and Sadie have more or less made peace with this monotonously sexual actuality, indeed if they remain adamant that it’s only a temporary arrangement. nothing is making any plans to leave the truck stop life, but the macrocosm gives them a bit of a punch when Remy( Olivia Luccardi) arrives at Exit 16. The putatively-innocent youthful girl was abandoned at the truck stop by a crazy cult seeking to “ cleanse ” the earth of colorful immoralities, and finds herself with nowhere to go except the motel that functions as a de facto trucker cathouse.

The lot lizards take her in and begin tutoring her the tricks of the trade, which is contemporaneously gladdening and saddening as all hell. But Remy’s progress as a lady of the night snappily mesas when she starts killing all of her guests andco-workers. She may have given the print that she was on the outs with her religious cousins, but supposedly she’s an indeed bigger ideologue than the rest of them. It soon becomes clear that Remy is less interested in turning tricks than she’s in orchestrating an elaborate self-murder charge that sees her trying to kill all of her musketeers in an attempt to relieve the earth of sin. nothing differently is particularly on board with that plan, but the soft-spoken church girl is the last person anyone suspects in the killing spree that’s gulfing the world’s goatish truck stop.

Taken purely at slasher movie face value, “ Candy Land ” is n’t nearly as scary or charmingly bloody as numerous of the flicks that inspired it. But it succeeds by taking a deep dive into a fascinating folklore and refusing to wince down from the gross realities of everyday life.

The end result is a purlieu movie where the devil is in the hugely vile details. Watching “ Candy Land ” is a lot like eating beef jerky from a truck stop. In both cases, you might find yourself allowing, “ if someone told me this was made in 1973, I ’d believe them. ” Yet both gests can end up being pleasurable despite leaving you with an inviting desire to rain. And if you ca n’t have a good time with violent stabbings, tawdry 18- wheeler coitus, and Crowded House needle drops, there might be no saving you.