Directed By: Bernard Rose
Written By: Clive Barker and Bernard Rose
I can’t remember how old I was the first time I saw this movie although I specifically remember being old enough to know better. Old enough to know that the things I saw in movies weren’t real and I didn’t have to be afraid. What I do remember is that none of that mattered. I knew this movie was make believe but it somehow managed to pierce that maturity and strike fear into my soul. It brought that child I thought I had grown out of back to the forefront and he did the Home Alone scream, only not in a funny way. This movie did more than scare me, it absolutely terrified me with a fear I felt to my bones. I would have never admitted it at the time but it’s been long enough now that I’m no longer ashamed. After seeing this film I literally had to use a night light for at least a month, and maybe two. While I can’t remember how old I was when I saw it I damn sure know I was old enough that sleeping with a night light was completely shameful. Yet that is what it did to me and that is what I will always remember about it.
I never looked into a mirror and said his name three times, I’m not crazy. It was the images the movie left me with that scared me so bad. At the time I slept in a windowless room that would get very dark with the lights out. After seeing this film I couldn’t face that darkness for a long time. Every time the lights went out I would be afraid that Candyman was floating over me like he floated over Virginia Madsen when she was in the insane asylum. It was an irrational fear I know but one that I hadn’t expected to fear anymore at that age. Something about this movie broke down all the mental barriers I had built up and made me feel like a little kid again. The kind of little kid that wants to crawl under his bed and hide. I don’t think this movie is that scary now, but when I saw it for the first time it got the best of me. That will always make this one of my favorite horror movies because when a movie in the horror genre can accomplish that it has done its job.
Looking back at this movie now I think the setting of the film has a lot to do with what makes it so scary. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know. I grew up in the country and this movie takes place predominately in a place I have never been and will probably never go to in my entire life. Amber and I once accidentally got off on the wrong exit on our way into Chicago and ended up in the in a really bad part of town. It was early but it was easy to see it wasn’t a place we should be when the locals started waking up. As scary as that place appeared to be it is nothing next to the old and eerie looking project building that Candyman terrorizes. I think there are plenty of places in the world that certain people do not belong and when they go they are only looking for trouble. Even if they aren’t looking for trouble they shouldn’t be surprised when trouble finds them and they have nobody to blame but themselves. When this foolish white college student goes into that project building it’s scary just on the surface. She doesn’t belong there and the possibility of danger lies around every corner. Be it a supernatural man with a real hook for a hand or simply a small time gangster that will knock her cold just for the fun of it there is only a matter of time before she realizes she made a horrible mistake. This is type of place that armed police won’t even go; for two women to go by themselves to snoop around is just crazy and it does create an aura of fear that looms over the film as it progresses.
When she finally meets the real Candyman I think what he does to her is scarier than anything I have seen other horror villains do. Most of the time the horror villain is just killing in violent fashion and while that is scary that’s not what Candyman did. Candyman dropped her back into the projects and set her up as a baby killer. That was so much scarier. She wakes up covered in blood from a severed Rottweiler’s head and she hears the woman she met earlier in the film screaming from the baby’s bedroom. The crib is covered in blood and the mother is in complete hysterics. I honestly think the reaction of the mother is one of the things that scared me the most too. She is beyond hysterical and there was no reasoning with her when she saw Virginia Madsen and came after her. The police soon burst in and arrest Madsen who looks guiltier than a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. This too I found scary because the situation was bad. When I was young I related too much to characters I watched on film, and when I thought about the situation this woman was in it scared me to death. There was no way out of it, she was caught in a room with a knife in her hand, blood all over her, a baby that is missing and presumed to be butchered, and a mother who obviously thought she did it. When she was strapped down to the table in that insane asylum it was scary, because there wasn’t much hope of her getting out.
Supernatural or not, Candyman is scary simply because he is played by Tony Todd. He is an intimidating man standing at the height of 6’5” and he his voice is perfect for playing a bad guy. I really like the wardrobe of Candyman how he is dressed up under that pimping coat with the bloody stump at the end of his arm with a hook on it. Aside from his floating scene I always thought it was terrifying how he killed that doctor from behind and then flew backwards out of the window. Virginia Madsen pulled off naive woman pretty well in this movie, but I have seen enough of her over the years to know she has a lot of talent as an actress. I like how the movie ends with her taking the place of Candyman but who is she kidding? She could never be as scary as Candyman himself. I also want to mention Xander Berkley because I thought he was awesome in his role on 24 several years ago. He was cast as the douche husband in this movie but I still think he managed to bring something to the film.
I didn’t really love this movie when we watched it again for this review but I did still like it. It is and will always be important to me just for the memories it offers but I wouldn’t rank it really high in the horror genre. It deserves to be ranked, but it can’t beat some of the classics. The story was written by a horror veteran in Clive Barker and that makes it significant. It is scary in both content and setting with great performances that will leave an impression on you. It did start a franchise because I know there were at least two sequels to the film and possibly more. I have not seen any of the sequels because of what this one did to me when I was young. If you have seen any of the other Candyman movies feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you thought of them. Otherwise I think this is a good movie to watch as Halloween approaches.
This was a pretty interesting movie. I actually thought it was pretty good. It kept me interested until the end and I didn’t even pass out in the middle of it. I don’t know about the scary or horror part, but overall I thought this movie was an interesting story. I can’t believe this scared Ryan so badly when he was little.
This is a creepy poster. I don’t like when they try to fit too much unnecessary crap into a poster. This seems to work in a weird, creepy way. I think they would have been fine to just put the man in the pupil of the eye, but then they had to go and add the bee. Less is more people! The typography isn’t that bad. It is original and probably isn’t going to be mistaken for a different title or movie. I think this poster has become iconic and you remember it if it scared you as a kid.