Candyman (1992)
August 29, 2021 6:30 PM - Subscribe

The Candyman (Tony Todd), a murderous soul with a hook for a hand, is accidentally summoned to reality by a skeptic grad student (Virginia Madsen) researching the monster's myth. Directed by Bernard Rose.

Currently streaming in the US on Peacock.
posted by DirtyOldTown (11 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
For the record, if you are willing to look into the mirror and say "Candyman" five times, we are not the same.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:31 PM on August 29, 2021 [7 favorites]

I watched this for the first time a few years ago. My main takeaway was "boy, race relations in the nineties were weird."

On a horror flick level, it's a great monster in the Marble Hornets vein, the story that changes because of your perception of it.
posted by Scattercat at 6:35 PM on August 29, 2021

Scattercat-The original story, The Forbidden, from the Books of Blood is set in a poverty stricken estate in Liverpool. There was a class element, but not a racial element. That was added to the screenplay. For me the film version is more compelling because of the details of the details like having a human murderer first who is exploiting the Candyman's legend as well as Helen herself becoming part of the very legend she studied.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:27 PM on August 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

Re-watched this just this afternoon. The film touches on racial themes in ways I don't recall from other films of that era (the deliberate use of freeways to carve out neighborhoods, the police ignoring calls from Black people but rushing to rescue a white woman, etc). But there's an odd overtone of "well, that's just the way it is" from everyone.

I'm having trouble seeing how Jordan Peele could redeem the Candyman. In this film, the Candyman's motivations are purely selfish: to continue his own "existence" by any means. An interesting reminder of Clive Barker's pondering other ways of "being" beyond "living."
posted by SPrintF at 8:30 PM on August 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

Without spoiling anything, Candyman's motivations become more complex in the sequel. (Both sequels are worth watching if only for Tony Todd, but the first sequel is pretty good on the whole. The third movie is pretty much skating on pure charm.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:50 PM on August 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

The film touches on racial themes in ways I don't recall from other films of that era (the deliberate use of freeways to carve out neighborhoods, the police ignoring calls from Black people but rushing to rescue a white woman, etc).

It wasn’t entirely alone; The People Under the Stairs was released the year prior in 1991 and Tales from the Hood was a few years after in 1995. The early 90s did have a handful of horror movies set in inner city communities of color.

I was eleven when Candyman came out and you could not have paid me enough to even discuss the movie at that age because I wasn’t going to risk saying his name.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:30 PM on August 29, 2021 [3 favorites]

We watched this at boarding school and for the rest of term, I had to get on my hands and knees and crawl past the bank of mirrors in the bathrooms to get to the stalls. In our own rooms, we turned our mirrors to the wall.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 5:31 AM on August 30, 2021 [2 favorites]

I just went over to the mirror and said "Candyman" five times and absolutely nothing happened so... wait... what's that... oh my God!!! OH MY GOD!!!! SHENDHEPL OJFHINLLNKBIBIB
posted by orange swan at 5:59 AM on August 30, 2021 [4 favorites]

The film does some interesting things with race (although they could have done a lot more more with Bernadette) but also with the way Helen's own rage at Trevor's eagerness to be rid of her once she starts being a magnet for trouble. I think both she and Candyman are "sparked" by revenge and loss, but their existence as monsters relies on stories, which I think is pretty clever. Like Helen is less a monster at the end than maybe some sort of folk saint? Will the people of Cabrini-Green pray to her? And will her understanding of how myths are made and spread make her existence easier? Apparently not, as she doesn't appear in later films. Oh well.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:53 AM on August 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

We just rewatched this because of the Jordan Peele sequel that's out. I haven't seen it since the 90s and I'd argue it holds up pretty well. The whole scene where Helen is having a nervous breakdown in front of Trevor and his grad student? It's not action-y, it's mostly Virginia Madsen acting her face off, and it's such a slow pace that I can immediately peg it for being a different time. You wouldn't get a sequence that slow and non-horror related in a current horror movie.

I do wish Helen had listened to Bernie though and not white-womaned her way everywhere.
posted by Kitteh at 9:50 AM on September 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

I’m not a big fan of horror films, but I do have my favorites, and this is at the top of the list. It’s one of the few adaptations I can think of that surpasses the source material.

I think GenjiandProust and Kitteh make some really excellent points. And orange swan, I know you’re just playing around. Candyman is just a legend, like Candlejack. Nothing will
posted by MrBadExample at 11:48 AM on September 2, 2021 [3 favorites]

« Older Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The Set Up...   |  Movie: Candyman (2021)... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments