Candyman feels like a genuine urban legend. Like most urban legends, I never knew the whole story. My parents never encouraged me to watch Candyman, because it was too icky. I agree, but I’ve already seen the likes of Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers. Candyman intrigued me since he’s the most iconic African American horror movie slasher ever created. His original short story titled “The Forbidden” was the biggest stand out in a book by Clive Barker. Director Bernard Rose developed Candyman into something of a modern day Bloody Mary. Just say his name 5 times in a mirror and he’ll claim his next victim.
Candyman stands out for his long fur coat, bloody hook hand, and gruesomely exposed chest containing a hive of bees. Horror legend Tony Todd is a dignified menace who speaks in booming whispers. He was so dedicated that he endured several bee stings. Despite the strong emphasis on black culture, the final girl is married grad student Helen Lyle played by the caucasian Virginia Madsen. She researches the murders and graffiti linked to the urban legend with her friend. While also looking into the Cabrini-Green housing projects for a majority of the film.
It’s surprisingly tense, psychological, and reminded of Child’s Play with a strong emphasis on Chicago. Music by Philip Glass makes it feel more opretic. Even Candyman’s tragic origin as the artistic son of a former slave who was lynched after falling for a white woman is more nuanced than most 90’s horror movies. They kind of sacrifice a subtle tone for overly gory kills. Helen is made to look insane and I wasn’t crazy about a baby being put in harm’s way. Candyman is defeated, but Helen pays a terrible price. Candyman will be remembered whether I want to or not.
Followed by: Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh