Near-perfect but often misunderstood horror. (by johnpetersen)
Candyman is one of my all-time favorite horror movies, and it seems to me that it is often underappreciated and misunderstood. It is a rarity in its genre, for it goes deeper than the standard formula horror movie, presenting a story under a story. While it contains plenty of frightening shocks and gore, that is only the suurface level, and the focus for watching it the first time. After the first time, pay careful attention to the dialogue and the interactions between Helen and the Candyman. The Candyman is not what he first appears to be.<SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON...STOP HERE IF YOU <more>
HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE!>The biggest complaints I usually hear about this movie are of plot holes. People often ask, "Why does the Candyman haunt the black population instead of the descendents of those who killed him?" or, "Why does the hook make Helen come back when it is not what made Candyman come back?" or other similar questions. These are valid questions about the ghost story concerning Daniel Robetei, but they entirely miss the point of the movie. That point is that the incarnation we see of Candyman in the movie is NOT the ghost of Daniel Robetei. Forget what the pointless sequels lead you to believe, for in the first movie, as well as the original story "The Forbidden" by Clive Barker, the Candyman is an incarnation of the faith of those who tell stories about him. There is no ghost of Daniel Robetei, but rather an entity that is formed by rumor, faith, fear, and the story itself. It seems to me that almost everyone misses this point, but it is there, clear as day, if you listen closely to the dialogue. Of course, reading the original story helps shed a little light on this as well, and it can be found in Clive Barker's "In the Flesh," a collection of short stories. So, Candyman haunts the black population because they are the ones who tell the stories and believe in him. He is constantly asking Helen to "be his witness" in order to strengthen their belief, and his offer to her to live forever is literal. If she does become his witness, she will become a part of the story, and a part of the creative force that allows Candyman to exist. In the end, Helen returns because the population of Cabrini Green makes her a part of the story.I hope this sheds a little light on the story for those of you stuck on the plot holes. This really is a fantastic, original story that is much more complex than that of any other horror movie I have seen. Not to mention that the performances are fantastic. Tony Todd and Virginia Madsen have a fantastic chemistry that is very convincing. The only gripe I have about this movie is the p***-poor actress they picked for Helen's husband's girlfriend. So, watch it first for the shocks, but watch it again for the deeper story buried within.Definately a perfect 10/10.
Dare you say his name five times... "Candyman" (by dee.reid)
Undoubtedly one of the more original and frightening horror movies of the early 90s, Bernard Rose's "Candyman," an adaptation of famed author Clive Barker's "The Forbidden," stands well on its own as an effectively creepy film.I was only about six or seven when I first heard the terrifying "Bloody Mary" legend, which was similar to the Candyman legend. And I'm sure others have heard stories about alligators in the sewer or the hesitant 911 operator. Indeed, the "Candyman" and "Bloody Mary" legends do share some common ground, in <more>
that if you chant their names before a mirror "x" number of times, they'll appear behind you and hack you to pieces.I used to believe in these legends - when I was kid - but as I grew older, I realized that they're just legends and therefore aren't meant to be taken literally. But that's the central dilemma with 1992's "Candyman": If you believe in something enough, will that belief make fiction reality?The Candyman Tony Todd has claimed responsibility for a series of grisly slayings in a particularly rough Chicago housing project, and Helen Lyle Virginia Madsen is anxious to discredit the myths. But when she is falsely accused of several brutal murders, could the Candyman be out for revenge, because she doubted him?I'll admit upfront that I'm not familiar with the works of Clive Barker, who is clearly one of the most talented writers of the last 20 years. Only this film and "Hellraiser" have been able to capture my interest, unfortunately. "Candyman" is certainly a terrifying experience from start to finish, as you can't really be sure if the hook-handed spectral entity of the title actually exists in the physical world.10/10
Managing to be both frightening and classy, this is a nerve-wracking experience. Masterfully written and directed by Bernard Rose, the film creates its own fascinating mythology, which, given the fact that it was based on a Clive Barker story, isn't much of a surprise. Much better than the resultant sequels, this is one not to be missed.
Adult horror strikes back (by Steevh)
Deeply disturbing, intelligently made and without a screaming teen in sight, 'Candyman' is one of the stand-out horror movies of the decade.To just list all the elements that make this one of the classiest genre efforts of recent years would probably take up most of the thousand words I am allowed here. Suffice to say, it has a genuinely uncomfortable premise, uncompromising execution and a bone jarringly lonely score by Philip Glass. Tony Todd is exceptional as the hollow-voiced titular creature; a lost soul brought to life by the whispers of myth. At once heartbreaking and <more>
terrifying this could be the definitive latter day horror movie monster- if it wasn't just that little bit too close to Hellraiser's Pinhead. But, when you have a winning combination of elegance and disgust in a verbose, cultured villain, why alter it too much?Virginia Madsen convinces totally as Helen; and you can almost see all the cast acting their little socks off so as not to let the side down. So good, in fact, that I'm struggling to find one bad thing to say about it.I read here, that in the eyes of one viewer, it "dwells on the nastier things in life" and wasn't a "nice film". I can think of no greater compliment for a truly adult horror movie. No dear, you won't find happy teens in pastel t-shirts having slumber parties and discussing trendy scary movies, while some rap star tries to sell records on the soundtrack. This is a grown up film for grown up people. There is a reason horror films are for adults, and that reason is 'Candyman'.
A spooky, but also well thought out tale! (by lost-in-limbo)
Helen Lyle Virginia Madsen doctoral student, and wife of a collage professor, is doing research on urban legends and mythological folklore for her school thesis. Though, there is one legend which gets her attention and leads her to rundown housing block where the residents believe that the murders that took place there were done by the hook-handed serial killer The Candyman Tony Todd . A mysterious figure that can be summoned by repeating his name five times while looking in the mirror. Which Helen does and now her life turns into horrifying nightmare, which teeters between reality and <more>
myth, as she gets closer to the truth about the Candyman.Second time around and this memorable piece hasn't lost any of its effect. It's not only a incredibly brood horror film that manages to create an creeping/ingenious plot with such an unsettling physiological tone, but also providing some generally horrific shocks that creep up on you and aren't for the squeamish. So, it's far from your normal slasher and it just doesn't concentrate on the violence for a change. Not only does the plot build on this mystical legend constructively, but also there's also some solid social commentary on the mindset towards race and sex, which added more to this cleverly layered plot or should I say tragic love story . What is so great about the screenplay is that you yourself feel apprehensive to what's happening to the protagonist and to where this story is heading by playing on what people believe and how these believes can overcome them. Plus it makes great use of the Chicago's gloomy surroundings. Not only does the film have substance, but also style to boot. The direction by Bernard Rose is quite brilliant, with Rose superbly mixing visuals that gel myth and reality superbly. Particularly the well-crafted encounters between Helen and the Candyman - these sequences were incredibly hair-raising. He creates such a glum and dark atmosphere within these rundown buildings filled with vibrant artwork, the richly layered aura goes hand-to-hand with the moody legend. The slow pacing of the film is perfect; there are no tedious blotches because you are totally wrapped in the story and by the delightful performances. The death toll isn't big, but there are some real gruesome deaths, with A LOT blood. The make-up and special effects are extremely thoughtful and inventive. Phillip Glass' extremely effective score deserves such high praise. Soothing, but also haunting and was incredibly effective towards building towards such an almighty blow. Another bonus was the smooth as silk camera-work; it captured the balanced layout of Chicago with plenty of stunning Ariel shots great intro . Overall, I was just amazed by this beautifully planned production.What a horror icon! Tony Todd totally nails down such a terrifying and profound performance as the mythical being The Candyman. I believe this horror character totally wipes the floor clean of the other icons of its genre and who created him? No other than from the dark mind of Clive Baker Hellraiser , who brings this frightening thriller alive, which is basically based on Baker's short story - The Forbidden. He came up with a unique horror character that's downright unnerving, completely authentic and has a lot of depth. But Tony Todd's towering figure and eerie voice has a lot to owe to that and to make one tremble in his presence! Virginia Madsen gives a stellar performance as Helen Lyle, who we really do care for her and feel what she is feeling. Good supporting roles from Xander Berkley as Helen's Husband, Kasi Lemmons as her friend/student who's also working with her their thesis and Vanessa Williams as Anne-Marie McCoy who lives in the rundown estate. The dialogue was packed with depth, but also laced with interesting topics and Todd's lines were pretty much poetic and smooth.The one and only "small" negative would be the ending for me. I was somewhat let down by the second ending and I thought maybe it could've done without it. It just felt tact on. Anyhow it didn't stop it from being damn right creepy and it does pack a real unsteadiness.To get in the mood of it, I say it's definitely a film to watch late at night alone.One of the clever horror films if not the best of that disappointing decade they call the '90s for horror films. If you're looking for a serious horror before Scream's imitators made a mockery of the slasher sub-genre , I highly recommend this provocative slasher that doesn't cop out the audience.
One of my favourite horror films! Spoilers! (by Skeptic459)
I love the horror genre! I grew up loving films that scared the hell out of me! Candyman is excellent because it is a film that I genuinely found very twisted and disturbing when I saw it at the tender age of 15. Check this out, 'It is a blessed condition believe me. To be whispered about in street corners...to live in other peoples dreams...but not to have to be...do you understand?' How cool is that quote! I am going to throw in a few quotes in this review because the writing of this film is really, really cool! The Candyman is not an inarticulate Jason or Michael Myers. He has the <more>
vocabulary of a homicidal drama professor who likes Richard Burton. Candyman is the thinking person's horror film. It explores the notion of the urban myth. The Candyman exists because people tell the stories about him. They spread the myth making him flesh. Unfortunately for researcher Helen Lyle, she doesn't know any of this. She investigates the urban myth of the Candyman, seeking to debunk it and her fate becomes sealed. Hey! Writing a paper isn't worth being burned alive! The film rests on the central idea that fiction can suddenly become real life if enough people believe in the myth. Boogey men can therefore be created if enough people believe in monsters. This theme is familiar to the director Bernard Rose. I recommend another one of his films called 'Paperhouse.' This is about the imagination of a little girl that starts to manifest in reality. It is also quite good although not as scary. The original story of how the Candyman was made is horrific and just deepens the mystery. This is not a film like the Friday the 13th series. This is far more cerebral and relies much more on its concepts. The Candyman is the whisper in the classroom that will exist forever. When Helen sets out to debunk the Candyman, this is essentially like trying to murder him. 'Your disbelief destroyed the faith of my congregation. Without them, I am nothing.' Debunking the Candyman will destroy his immortality. The only way the Candyman can exist is through the shedding of innocent blood so that the stories of him can continue to proliferate. So when Helen decides that the Candyman is actually a local drug dealer hiding behind the Candyman identity. She feels that she has solved the mystery of the mysterious murders that the Candyman has committed. What Helen does not know is that the Candyman is a kind of a physical manifestation of the Jungian collective unconscious. The Candyman takes his revenge, he feels obliged to come, after all she has caused much doubt about his actual existence. The Candyman tears away Helen's day to day reality. Driving her into what other people think is her own insanity. Now she knows the truth of the Candyman... The conversations between Helen and the Candyman are haunting. What is also interesting is that sadism and masochism are major features in Clive Barker's work. 'The pain I assure you, will be exquisite.' S&M tendencies! This is one dark and twisted piece of celluloid! The acting is also really good from both actors. The final scene is horrific as Helen tries to rescue a baby in a blazing woodpile and is burnt alive! Helen herself then becomes part of the legend and therefore comes back as another physical manifestation of legend. However, remember this is not Helen's ghost but a construction of Helen through the beliefs of those who believe this mysterious urban legend. Candyman says it best... 'Your death will be a tale to frighten children...to make lovers cling closer in their rapture. Come with me and be immortal...' Genius. This film also has a great soundtrack, a very haunting score. Candyman is a very interesting film that originates from the absolutely twisted mind of Clive Barker. This is brilliant, well written horror. 9 out of 10. By the way avoid the sequels. I saw number 2 and it just ruins the whole thing. Think of this as the one and only.
Being a horror movie buff, I have no idea how this little gem escaped me the first time around. I'd heard a lot about it, read about it, etc but wrote it off as "probably stupid" like most of the other horror movies I had so wanted to see. So, it wasn't until many years after the movie's release that I finally saw it. And boy am I glad I did!Surprisingly, the acting is fabulous...especially for a horror movie. Each character portrayed fantastically so as to add to the movie, rather than detract. No one really went over the top or became TOO dramatic. Overall, each <more>
character was portrayed realistically. As for the plot: absolutely wonderful premise playing on the Bloody Mary urban legend. Surprisingly, the movie delivers on aspects of believabilty. Of course we don't *really* expect Candyman to pop out of a mirror, but how many of us have started the "Bloody Mary" chant only to stop at the very last one, not daring to continue? Our fears lie behind what COULD happen and the possibility that maybe..just maybe it's all real. Candyman plays on that fear and takes us even further over the edge.The movie rids itself of the typical cliches white, undefeatable stalker chasing half naked twits and allows itself to be an entirely enjoyable, CEREBRAL horror movie. At first we wonder if the Candyman is perhaps just a person pretending to be him, then we start to question Helen's own sanity...wondering perhaps if SHE isn't the "real Candyman". Eventually, the movie leads us to an ending that answers our questions but doesn't shove those answers down our throat. Candyman also does what very few horror movies are capable of: it succeeded in having a strong ending rather than fizzling out during the last 10-15 minutes.The setting and atmosphere are top notch. Using Chicago and Cabrini Green as its stage was perfect...bringing into play racial issues without going over the top or getting "in your face" to the point of losing its focus. The music in Candyman adds a mysterious mood that matches the dark, dismal atmosphere of the lone apartments in Cabrini Green.All in all on my horror movie scale, I give Candyman a 10. To me, it was purely artistic and absolutely enjoyable. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone even slightly interested in horror movies.
Who wants candy now, huh? Didn't think so (by Coventry)
A strong contender for the title of best horror film of the 1990's, Bernard Rose's "Candyman" is a very faithful and therefore truly scary adaptation of Clive Barker's skin crawling short story. This film features a very rare and successful combination of both creepy atmosphere and visual ingeniousness. Whereas most movies especially during the 90's can hardly focus on any of these essential horror elements, Bernard Rose masterfully succeeds in stuffing his film with genuine tension as well as shocking gore-images. The plot centers on doctoral student Helen <more>
underrated actress Virginia Madsen in her best role who becomes obsessed with the urban legend of a hook-handed killer that terrorizes the pauperized ghettos of the nearby Cabrini Green. Needless to say that the Candyman-myth gets a little too realistic for Helen, as everyone she comes into contact with ends up being brutally killed with a hook. The script is intelligent and always several steps ahead of you, the eerie musical guidance is brilliant and the make-up effects are fantastically gruesome. Tony Todd is ideally cast as the bogeyman, with his strong posture and above all incredibly frightening voice. The legend behind his character is staggering and it's beautiful to see how director Rose plays with the realism and surrealism of Barker's basic idea. Not many horror films of the 90's decade come with my highest possible recommendation, but this one definitely does. And don't forget, the Candyman CAN rip you to pieces!
Candyman! Candyman! Candyman! Candyman! ... I'll Stop Here (by CitizenCaine)
Look into a mirror, preferably alone at night, and say "candy-man" 5 times and...uh...see what happens. Little known Bernard Rose directed this terrifying horror/suspense/thriller set and filmed in Chicago. The story is adapted from a novel by horror master Clive Barker. Two attractive female graduate students research an urban "myth" only to discover it may not be a myth, or is it? That's the premise of this tightly written and directed film, which does for looking into mirrors what Psycho did for taking showers. This is a thinking man's horror film that scares <more>
the daylights out of you at times while still leading you to think beyond what's on the screen.It's much more than just a horror film with a creepy man goring people to death. It exploits many of our deepest fears about society and in ourselves, such as: what can happen in a run down public housing complex Chicago's notorious Cabrini-Green projects , and can our fears remove the certainty of what we know to be untrue? Rose expertly weaves in Hitchcockian themes of being wrongly accused, emotional vulnerability, and psychological exploitation, while maintaining interest and building a high level of tension throughout the film. Philip Glass' quasi-religious score consistently provides an eerie companion when the camera takes us into seemingly normal locations, like a public restroom for instance. Truly one of the very best horror films of the 90's that can disturb your thoughts, penetrate your sense of security, and still provide disturbing gore and violence. This film is not for the faint of heart. Virginia Madsen stars as the main character and doesn't strike a false note. Tony Todd is the candy-man, and he doesn't appear to deliver gumdrops. Don't look behind you! *** of 4 stars.