The Candy Snatchers

Vince Martorano, Brad David, and Tiffany Bolling as the Candy snatchers in The Candy Snatchers (dir. Guerdon Trueblood, 1973).

Ben Piazza.

Susan Sennett.

Over thirty years after The Candy Snatchers came out, star Susan Sennett, in the DVD extras interview, is still visibly traumatized by the experience of playing a Catholic schoolgirl who is abducted, buried alive, threatened with mutilation, raped, and otherwise terrorized by three kidnappers seeking a ransom in precious stones from her jeweler father. She spent much of the movie bound and gagged, and the burial scenes were particularly harrowing, as she actually had to be placed in a hole that was covered over with wooden slats and dirt as the camera rolled. Understandably, she has little love for the film.

The violence in the film is in fact less extreme and lurid than in many of its contemporary shock horror films, like Last House on the Left, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Cop Killers, or at least the constant undertone of dark humor makes it seem so. For a low low budget movie, it looks really good: the colors are as vivid as a spring garden, and cinematographer Robert Maxwell, who appears to have worked on nothing but exploitation films for the duration of his career from the early sixties till his death in 1978 (he shot such classics as The Astro-Zombies, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, and The Centerfold Girls), is better at stylishly shaping a scene than many a mainstream pro.

The over-the-top highlight has to be the little autistic kid (played by director Trueblood's own son) with the gun.

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