Graveyard Billy is a cat with an extra special gift: he can see and communicate with the dead. When the unthinkable happens and Brighton’s “Graveyard Killer” murders Graveyard Billy’s owner, Piper, the small black cat is left alone in the world. Living feral in Woodvale Cemetery with nowhere to go, Graveyard Billy isn’t alone for long. The spirit of a recently deceased girl –Kelly Minter – attaches herself to the cat and makes a deal with him: If he helps her get back home to see her family one last time, she’ll help him find the spirit of Piper – and maybe even discover the creature responsible for her death.
The odd couple embark on their mission, relying on one another to get by: Graveyard Billy, the living cat, planted firmly in reality; Kelly Minter, the human ghost, stuck in that in-between place of life and death, both searching the South Coast of England for the answers they seek in life with the help of the inhabitants of the secret world of the dead. But the “Graveyard Killer” is still at large, and while he lurks no one, living or dead, is safe… ALL proceeds from Graveyard Billy will go to cat rescue charities on the South Coast of the U.K Between Brighton and Worthing
Sounds like a great book for the horror/cat lovers out there. Especially when you consider all proceeds going to cat charities! There’s even a trailer to tempt you…
If you’re interested in buying the book, you can find it on Amazon here
There’s something about urban legends that tends to resonate with the masses. Whether this be the mystery, intrigue or the peril they usually portray, many of these chilling tales of folklore have been around for generations. Some have regional variations, whilst others are a mosaic of legends; bits and pieces of different stories brought together to show a terrifying new image. The Candy Witch seems to fall into this category.
With a tagline of ‘Sweet dreams… forever!’ The synopsis states;
Two ghost hunters are called upon by a distressed family who claim they are being tormented by an evil spirit known in their local town as The Candy Witch. But as the mystery of her curse is uncovered, surprising and sinister turns are discovered around The Candy Witch’s identity. Their hardest case yet, can they solve this evil curse before more people are killed by the demonic spirit?
Now before we go into the review let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, there are a number of similarities with Candyman, the biggest being the Candy Witch’s hook-like weapon of choice; a sharpened candy cane (ingenious right?) And also a few other themes from popular culture (turning lights on/off which conceals/reveals the spirit for example) However, as mentioned previously, some of the best urban legends are a mishmash of horror tales. Whilst The Candy Witch adopts a number of these traits, it doesn’t lose its individuality in terms of storyline, location and unique delivery.
The movie itself starts out strongly. There’s a brief introduction to the turmoil of the O’Neil family, followed by a bit of a prelude which introduces ghost hunters Reece (Jon Callaway) and Kat (Abi Casson Thompson). The prelude in particular provides us with some great visual effects which sets the standard for the rest of the movie.
In terms of acting, The Candy Witch is comprised of a stellar cast who all bring a unique aspect to the movie. Admittedly, there are a few shaky performances here and there, but overall it was very good. Whilst Callaway plays a decent part he doesn’t really dominate the screen in a lead role, but he is supported by a convincing performance from Thompson. However, the accolade for acting performance has to go to The Candy Witch herself (Kate Lush). Whilst there isn’t a great deal of speech on her part, Lush brings the character to life through expression, mannerisms and good old fashioned jump scares (helped tremendously by the amazing cinematography)
The only critique I have is the number of Americanisms adopted throughout the movie. I get that the director is trying to appeal to the US market, but it feels to have sacrificed a level of authenticity in doing so, with the majority of the movie being set in Surrey, England. If some of these were dropped (as well as the questionable American accents that popped up every now and then…) I feel the movie would sell just as good, if not better. However, saying that, I completely understand the reasoning behind the ‘Candy’ Witch as the ‘Sweet’ Witch (as most Brits would call it) doesn’t have the same effect!
Overall though The Candy Witch is a fun, compelling splatterfest filled with inventive confectionary-related kills. I thought it was a great film and a great premise for an antagonist. I feel if there was extra work done to give the Candy Witch more of an initial, impactive scare, it could easily pave the way for a new horror icon.
From writer-director Rebecca J.Matthews (Pet Graveyard), and starring Kate Lush, Abi Casson Thompson, Heather Jackson and Richard D Myers, The Candy Witch serves up sweet death June 9 on DVD and Digital from Uncork’d Entertainment. Check out the trailer below!