Candyman
 
         
   
Genre: Horror
Running Time: 1 hr. 39 min.
Release Date: October 16th, 1992
MPAA Rating: R for violence and gore.
Director: Bernard Rose
Actors: Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, Marianna Elliott, Ria Pavia
 
         
"One of the most artistic, sophisticated slashers of all time."
   
 
             
 
Theatrical
9/10
 
DVD
N/A
 
Blu-ray
N/A
 
             
 
 

Helen Lyle (a young looking Virginia Madsen, although 31 at the time) and her associate Bernadette Walsh (Kasi Lemmons) are researching urban legends, local myths, and superstitious folklore for a thesis paper. A particularly unique story surfaces about Candyman, a towering figure with a large metal hook jammed into the bloody stump of his arm. If you look in the mirror and say “Candyman” five times, he’ll appear behind you to take your life. Helen becomes infatuated with chronicling the history of the legend and the recent unsolved murders in the notorious Cabrini-Green housing project in Chicago, blamed on the mysterious one-armed character.

During a visit to the area, Helen is attacked by a gang, one of whom wields a metal hook and calls himself Candyman. The culprit is caught, but shortly thereafter, Helen is confronted by another man in a thick coat, this time with a large hook bloodily nailed into the remains of his arm. She awakes suddenly, in the projects apartment of Anne-Marie McCoy (Vanessa Williams), who is screaming frantically at a bloody crib where her baby has been snatched. Helen is also covered in blood and the decapitated head of Anne’s dog is slumped next to her. The police burst in just as Helen tries to defend herself from the crazed mother with a meat cleaver, and is promptly arrested. Her husband Trevor (Xander Berkeley) bails her out, but can’t offer further comfort when more bodies start to pile up, each murder implicating Helen alone – she is eventually confined to a psychiatric hospital to await her trial. The real, supernatural Candyman (Tony Todd) continues to taunt her and soon proposes the ultimate trade – her life for the life of the missing child.
 
 
 

Candyman movie 1992 Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, Marianna Elliott, Ria Pavia

Candyman movie 1992 Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, Marianna Elliott, Ria Pavia

Candyman movie 1992 Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, Marianna Elliott, Ria Pavia

Candyman movie 1992 Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, Marianna Elliott, Ria Pavia

 

Candyman movie 1992 Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, Marianna Elliott, Ria Pavia

Candyman movie 1992 Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, Marianna Elliott, Ria Pavia

Candyman movie 1992 Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, Marianna Elliott, Ria Pavia

Candyman movie 1992 Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, Marianna Elliott, Ria Pavia

 
 

The visual design is incredibly appealing. Sets are creepy, rundown, rusted, filthy, and littered with graffiti; props are unnerving, the makeup is disturbingly realistic and the use of mirrors inherently nerve-rattling. Candyman himself might be slightly too reminiscent of Pinhead from Hellraiser (with his poetic whispers of exquisite pain and the gloriously dark afterlife), but this is somewhat expected. Clive Barker penned both original stories on which the films were based, this one from his short “The Forbidden.” He also served as executive producer. But there’s still plenty of commendable, suspenseful anticipation arising from the characters portraying genuine fear, long moments of silence, jump scares, jarring flashbacks, sudden cuts of frightening footage, slow motion, strobe lights, dream sequences, and a spectacular climax that addresses both creativity and an appropriate horror movie finale.

Director Bernard Rose isn’t afraid to make audiences wait, quite awhile in fact, to see the killer; or have startling scenes take place in broad daylight – Helen’s first encounter with the real Candyman is in a brightly lit parking garage - or even to kill victims off-screen (with gruesome sound effects as accompaniment). The story is highly original, the premise genuinely terrifying, and the acting superb, especially considering the genre. Virginia Madsen delivers the right amount of fear, hopelessness and determination to create a sympathetic heroine. The majority of the characters are also older and more mature, dispensing with the annoying trend of screaming teens running around in hysteria. But perhaps the strongest emotional additive is the morbid organ music, operatic chorus voices and eerily peaceful piano solos from composer Philip Glass, who gives the film an awe-inspiring atmosphere and attitude. Beginning a franchise of two additional features (neither remotely as impressive), Candyman is one of the most artistic, sophisticated slashers of all time.

- Mike Massie

 

Candyman movie 1992 Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, Marianna Elliott, Ria Pavia

Candyman movie 1992 Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, Marianna Elliott, Ria Pavia

Candyman movie 1992 Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, Marianna Elliott, Ria Pavia

Candyman movie 1992 Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, Marianna Elliott, Ria Pavia

Candyman movie 1992 Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, Marianna Elliott, Ria Pavia

Candyman movie 1992 Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, Marianna Elliott, Ria Pavia

 
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