Dir. Guerdon Trueblood, 1973
USA, 94 minutes.

You know, we’re all about fun here. Good fun. Pie-in-the-face fun. But, to be honest, we’ve got a bit of a mean streak too. And this Mandatory Midnight is one of the meanest films we can come up with. Vicious, even. In fact, let’s just get this out of the way right now:

Trigger Warning: This film contains scenes of sexual violence, child abuse, and an adult contemporary theme song.

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Three would-be criminal masterminds decide to kidnap Candy (Susan Sennett) and blackmail a diamond merchant named Avery (Ben Piazza), and though they try to cover all their bases – they didn’t count on one thing: he doesn’t want her back. If Candy dies, Avery (who isn’t Candy’s father but her stepfather) stands to inherit quite a chunk of change. So he tells the thugs to keep her. Now they’re in real jam so they do the only sensible thing they can – bury her in a hole with an air tube and plan their next move. Paranoia sets in and things go from bad to worse to…well…even worse than that. There was a witness to this crime, but they’re also trapped in a different way and things are looking bleak for Candy.

We love a good heist movie and we love it even more when a heist goes wrong and absolutely nothing goes right for anyone in this film. As dark and venomous as any Jim Thompson material, THE CANDY SNATCHERS escapes the trappings of other mean-for-the-hell-of-it grindhouse outings by keeping you on your toes…or at the very least – the edge of your seat.

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