True-crime adaptations Candy and Love and Death haven't been easy on Betty Gore's family
Candy Montgomery’s brutal killing of Betty Gore in 1980 with a 3-foot ax has spawned two true-crime adaptations in 2022: Hulu's Candy, which premiered Monday, stars Jessica Biel as Candy Montgomery and Melanie Lynskey as Betty Gore from creators Nick Antosca and Robin Veith. And HBO Max's Love and Death, premiering later this year, stars Elizabeth Olsen as Montgomery and Lily Rabe as Gore from David E. Kelley. As Buzzfeed News' Stephanie McNeal notes, other than the 1990 CBS TV movie A Killing in a Small Town, the case has received little pop-culture attention over the past four decades. "Betty’s loved ones weren’t looking to dredge up their trauma over her death, and one family member told me they don’t understand why they now have to do so more than 40 years later. But apparently, the case makes for a good story, and for some, that is what’s important," says McNeil, adding: "Betty’s family is still living with the aftermath of her death. They aren’t quite sure why the tragedy is now being turned into multiple TV shows. A family member, who asked to remain anonymous to protect their privacy, told me that they personally were not contacted before either series was made, nor were they informed that the projects were in the works." While HBO Max's Love and Death isn't completed, McNeil says Hulu's Candy "simplifies two complex and real women into easily digestible TV characters. The viewer is meant to root for Candy and distrust Betty, and there isn’t much character development beyond showing the differences between their lives and social standing. Neither comes off as especially well-rounded, and their motives are rather vague. The only real sense you get as a viewer is that when Candy tells her story, we should believe her."
- How Jessica Biel and Melanie Lynskey's real-life spouses Justin Timberlake and Jason Ritter ended up on Candy
- Hulu's Candy is too cut and dry, with little insight into why it's now telling the Candy Montgomery-Betty Gore story
- Why TV's true-story addiction has been so disappointing: "Reality has its virtues. But there ain’t nothing like the fake thing"
- Watch the full trailer for Hulu's Candy, starring Jessica Biel as ax killer Candy Montgomery