The Candy Snatchers

The Candy Snatchers (1973)
Subversive Cinema
Cast: Tiffany Bolling, Susan Sennet
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurette

I love "The Candy Snatchers." It is one of the lost gems in the exploitation genre and has been ignored far too long. I haven't been this passionate about a movie for a long time. I have certainly seen some great films this year, but there is something different about a Grade A, B-movie. There aren't a lot of chances to get lines and scenes right, so we are left with a finished product that is rough around the edges. Does this make for a bad movie? Possibly to some, but those critics who feast on the caviar of film forget the passion of a movie. In the process of filmmaking, sometimes the desire for perfection clouds the natural energy as a movie is being created. A structured set and multiple takes can leave even the best scenes feeling stiff and forced. With an exploitation movie, the low budget and breakneck speed of shooting the movie generally gives actors and actresses one chance to deliver a line from a script whose subject rarely has boundaries. The finished product, as we see in "The Candy Snatchers", treats viewers to a crazy blend of dark humor and odd characters that are a treat to lovers of trashy cinema.

For a movie made in 1973, "The Candy Snatchers" is in a world of its own. The basic kidnapping plotline is accented with odd characters with a variety of flaws. I am not sure which wacky character is my favorite. My vote may have to be for the silent brilliance of Christophe's Sean Newton. In any other situation, Sean Newton would not blend in well with other characters, but this is "The Candy Snatchers". Only in an exploitation flick could this kid bring sanity to an insane world. Cast by his father, director Guerdon Trueblood, Christophe steals scenes, including the best 70's trash movie ending since Jack Hill's "Big Doll House". It is dark comedy at it's finest.

The picture quality on this DVD blew me away. After seeing a film print covered in specks and scratches, sporting washed out colors, "The Candy Snatchers" 16:9 enhanced 1.85:1 widescreen transfer is like watching the movie for the first time. Understand that this disc is not reference quality, but for a forgotten 70's movie it could not look any better. The sharp colors and cleaned up look almost takes away some of the novelty that an overused film print provides to an exploitation flick. DVD is not a format for poor transfers though.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 track sounds good. Dialogue is at a good level and there are no pops, hisses, or dropouts. There aren't a lot of opportunities for "The Candy Snatchers" to wow you with its full, rich sound, as the movie is relatively tame in the sound department. The only real noticeable difference between the included Dolby Digital Mono and the Dolby Digital Stereo soundtrack is the detail in the music. The songs are a bit more defined in the Stereo track.

One issue I have with the DVD is the menu. Before getting to any screen in the DVD, viewers are given small clips from the movie that could spoil some of the thrills "The Candy Snatchers" provides. Though it is pieced together well, I would hate for anyone to have his or her fresh experience hindered before seeing the movie. If you have not seen "The Candy Snatchers" keep your DVD exploration to a minimum before watching the feature.

For a lost gem "The Candy Snatchers" has been given a decent amount of extra features. The dual layered DVD begins its special features with a feature length commentary by stars Tiffany Bolling and Susan Sennet, which is moderated by Norm Hill and Marc Edward Hueck. The track, which is oddly not mentioned on the DVD coverart, starts off a little slow as the group tries to fall into a groove. The moderators have an abundance of questions and do a good job of getting information from the ladies of the film. "The Women Of Candy Snatchers" featurette gives a hindsight look from Bolling and Sennet at the impact "The Candy Snatchers" had on their lives and careers. Though a lot of information is carried over from the commentary track, Susan Sennet's reflection gives a first hand look at how the exploitation genre can leave long term affects on a young woman looking to pay her rent. A photo gallery gives us some stills from the set to the tune of the opening theme song "Money Is The Root Of All Happiness". The inclusion of the song is a nice touch. The DVD also includes trailers for "The Candy Snatchers" and other Subversive Cinema releases and biographies for a number of cast and crew members. Finalizing the deluxe collector's edition is a miniature reproduction of the European poster art for the film.

"The Candy Snatchers" has finally arrived on DVD and Subversive Cinema has given it the royal treatment. For you movie fans who hold a special place on your DVD shelf for "Switchblade Sisters", get ready to discover an underrated gem of 70's cinema. The extra features are more than I would have expected with a great commentary and one of the best featurettes I have seen in some time. The picture quality is outstanding, shaving years off of this 32-year-old movie. Treat yourself to a great blind buy and support the up and coming Subversive Cinema. Highly recommended.