What’s it About?
The Candyman, a murderous soul with a hook for a hand, is accidentally summoned to reality by a skeptic grad student researching the monster’s myth.
Directed by Bernard Rose
8 out of 10
“Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman…Ok, I will stop right there…”
In the 1992 horror film, “Candyman,” almost immediately, during the mysterious and melodic opening aerial shot infused with Philip Glass’ otherworldly music, we are thrown onto a mysterious canvas. An eerie, perpetually dark world full of aphotic dogma and urban legends. We are immediately immersed in something horrifically tangible, fable like and mean. A visceral experience that takes us into a lengthy ride of terror. A kind of twisted and tenebrous version of the Bloody Mary legend. This film, brilliantly directed by Bernard Rose (Immortal Beloved), is based on a short work of horror named “The Forbidden” by author Clive Barker (Hellraiser, Books of Blood). The atmospheric story takes place in modern day Chicago.
Virginia Madsen (Sideways, The Haunting in Connecticut) plays grad student Helen Lyle, who along with Kasi Lemmons (Silence of the Lambs), is writing a thesis about an urban legend called “Candyman.” The legend seems to especially thrive within the closed off, dis-enfranchised and destitute poor community of a Chicago housing complex named Cabrini Green (which no longer exists). After Helen ignores warnings and is spurned and abruptly disregarded by her Professors and husband she takes matters into her own hands and investigates the legend of Candyman herself. Mainly to prove a point.
She goes willingly and bravely to the Housing project and discovers a very real, gritty and sad reality. The tenants live in absolute fear of the Candyman. What follows is an engaging tale of absolutely terrifying proportions. Director Rose takes Barker’s material and makes it work completely on many levels. Helen becomes trapped in a horrifying world where things and events that take place, she cannot remember. Murders happen around her and she suffers from severe blackouts. In these small and absorbing details are where Rose builds suspense, mood and a visceral ambiance.
In “Candyman,” though, it is Actor Tony Todd (24, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), in a very early film appearance, that excels here. He is tall, menacing, deadly and just plain frightening to behold. Todd’s deep voice evokes a sense of dread and hypnotic fear that chills the viewer right to the bone. It is his show all the way and Rose knows how to use him to maximum effect. He plays a deadly game of cat and mouse with Helen that ends in her being jailed and accused of multiple murders.
Her estranged husband, Trevor, played by Xander Berkeley (24, Salem, Air Force One and Taken) is also convinced of her guilt. So, will Helen convince everyone around her that the real threat is some ghastly and ghostly urban legend no one but her has seen? Or will she be blamed for the horror occurring in Chicago and be put away as an insane woman trying to get negative attention? You need to fully experience “Candyman” and see for yourself!
The rest of the film plays out almost like a beautifully bizarre stage play. Glass’s music is haunting and operatic. The film is shot well and tightly claustrophobic by DP Anthony B. Richmond (The Sandlot, Men of Honor). Taking full advantage of the ominous surrounding cityscape to convince us that no one is safe in this dark fable. Rose also gives us a very lush and unsettling film. It is scary, somewhat gory and alluringly told. “Candyman” also dwells upon social issues that remain quite relevant today.
Rose’s film manages to provoke on many levels and in doing so solidifies it as a genuine work or horror and terror that uses great actors, costumes and music to tell it’s compelling story. One does not even have to be a fan of the horror genre since Rose’s movie transcends the genre with gleeful aplomb. Rose does this by making us care about normal, everyday people who get caught up in a myth with it’s root in poverty and fear. All in all, “Candyman” has become an instant classic and an iconic entry in not just horror cinema but in cinema period! Highly recommended and watch it with the lights on…or not!
Enjoy the Trailer Below!
Enjoy the Score below!