Influence is a term we’re familiar with when analyzing the work of up-and-coming filmmakers. Inspiration is another that generously coats the homages and nods back to the brilliant works of great artists to come before them. Both can be worked to elevate a film within a grounded level of appreciation or are abused to the point of total recognition, stripping the film of originality and awareness. Josh Hasty, writer, director, and co-composer of Candy Corn, belongs to the former group. 

Years in the making, Candy Corn revives the Halloween holiday with a unique villain, a cast full of new and old talent, a compilation of intriguing scores, and some of the most perfect set pieces I’ve ever laid eyes on. I had the true pleasure of speaking with Hasty about all of the hard work put into Candy Corn and was satisfied to learn that he brings just as much heart to the content as he does precision to the mechanics of his debut feature film.

I’d like to know what started Candy Corn? Where did you come up with the idea? It’s pretty great and original. That’s hard to do. 

That was hard to do. That was the genesis of it for me. I wanted to create something that was original, but also paid homage to everything that I love about the genre and the season. I’ve made a lot of projects that are just between me and a few friends and family and whoever just because I love filmmaking. After I finished my Rob Zombie documentary I was in a position to work with some of the people that I had met on the set of 31 and we all shared that. My production designer, Shawn McKinney, is Rob Zombie’s production designer. We spent a lot of time together doing the documentary and we found out that we’re both from the same place in Ohio. I would have those types of conversations with different people on the set and with the crew and obviously with the cast. You sort of start talking and you just get excited and creative juices start flowing. I realized like, “Man, I’ve got some real people now.” I love what I was able to do with friends and family and I learned a lot, but now I’ve got a real cast and crew on my hands. 

Ultimately, I want people to enjoy it and have a fun time watching the movie. I want people to appreciate it and be able to tell that we put our hearts and souls into this.

They also know other people so we could do something that’s bigger and better than anything I’ve ever done before. With that I decided I would come up with something that really meant something to me. If was going to do it right for the first time, raise money, and work with real professionals, then I wanted to do something that meant a lot to me and something I knew. It’s like they always say, “Write what you know,” and it started as that. I started coming up with the idea of where this story would take place because when you’re writing a script, especially on a budget, you have to think about that. You have to think about where it is going to take place. I can’t make a low budget film in space and do it right so that was the first part.

So, my story is going to take place in Ohio, in a fictitious town, and I’m going to write about the places I was inspired by growing up living here. You start to come up with some character ideas and then before you know it, it’s out of your hands and it’s just a living breathing story with people that are real characters with backstories and motivations and arcs. It all started to snowball from there in a good way. Really, it was just me wanting to make something I hadn’t seen, but, like I said, it has elements of things that I love and have inspired me without ripping it off too much or without just making something that people will watch and go, “Oh, I’ve seen that before.” 

Interview continues on the next page…