Newest Review: ... he uses for painting and replaces it with a hook... but they don't stop there, they smear him in honey and allow him to get stung to death... more
The one where you say his name five times in the mirror...
Member Name: k444tmc
Advantages: a classic - better story line than many horrors out today
Disadvantages: they should of gone into more depth about candyman when he was alive
Candyman was released in 1992 when I was 5 years old - I didn't actually end up watching it for the first time until I was about 14, but I remember seeing this on a neighbours VHS shelf for years and even though I didnt know at that young age what the film was actually about it felt quite haunting with the eye and the bee on the front cover.
I bought Candyman 1 & 2 on DVD a couple of years ago and today I will be reviewing the first one - where the story began...
Who is Candyman?
In the three films, Candyman is an urban legend based on a event which had happened 100 years prior.
When Candyman was alive, he was the son of a black slave in developing America as we know it today... However due to his fathers sucess in developing an important invention, Candyman lived a comfortable existance compared to other black skinned people in the community. He also had a talent for art - in particular painting. He is asked to paint a portrait of a young white woman by her father, he then falls in love with this woman and she becomes pregnant by him. When her father finds out what they have done, they start the beginning of Candymans torture. He is chased through the community on the orders of the father and they cut off his hand which he uses for painting and replaces it with a hook... but they don't stop there, they smear him in honey and allow him to get stung to death by a swarm of bees. A young child watching there calls him "candyman" due to him being smeared in the sweet honey. You later find out in the second film that his pregnant lover holds out a mirror which he looks into shortly before he meets his death. I believe this happening means it somehow captured his spirit in mirrors, therefore when a person later chants "candyman" five times into the mirror his spirit will appear and murder anyone in his path.
Helen Lyle is a mature graduate student at a Chicago university, conducting a study into urban legends and how people believe in them and use them to explain strange going's on in general life. She then hears about the story of Candyman and how he is known by residents to be responsible for a murder which happened at Cabrini Green - an infamous area of Chicago which has a bad reputation for drugs, gang violence and murder. It turns out Candyman was actually murdered 100 years prior on the site which is now Cabrini Green.
Helen and her best friend, Bernadette travel to Cabrini Green to see the murder scene and try and find out anwsers and talk to the locals where they find the murder they are looking into is just one of a couple blamed by the Candyman. Due to the location of the terrible murders the law enforcement just writes off the murders as black skinned people killing one another and that the Candyman legend is used to scare people.
Helen and Bernadette call in the mirror to Candyman... but does he appear to them? Or is he just an urban legend as they suspected all along? One things for sure, looking for Candyman will change Helens life and those around her...
Candyman was released on VHS 20 years ago and in my mind qualifys as a classic just like the Friday 13th and Halloween films due to the age and the content of the film not being like some silly horror film like you see these days. As a child before I even saw the film, we all knew the story of Candyman - being similar to that of Bloody Mary and we all used to shout his name in the mirror just to scare ourselves and see what happens...
The setting for this film, Cabrini Green, was a real life location - some high rise project apartments in Chicago which were demolished due to the same problematic issues that you see in this film - in particular the worst news story I heard about Cabrini Green was when a 9 year old girl - known in the media as Girl X, was kidnapped there, assaulted, raped and poisoned... then left for dead. The girl is still alive today, but she is confined to a wheelchair, blind and unable to speak. To me that tells you about the kind of horrific place where Candyman was filmed and in a twisted way was probably the most perfect setting in Chicago due to the horrible nature of the place. The fact that they used a real life location and used its real life name makes the film a lot more believable.
Unlike many horror films today where you feel no empathy for the bad guy, you do strangely feel some for the Candyman in this film - due to the fact that while he was alive he was normal, and his death was caused by him falling in love with the wrong person - in the beginning he was a normal human being like any of us which makes you sympathise with the charecter even though he is said to carry out these horrible deeds in his death. Tony Todd was perfect for this role in my opinion - he got all the emotions right including the half smile which puts chills through your bones.
In terms of special effects in relation to injurys / gore that you see in the film, it is quite gruesome but as someone who no longer watchs horror films as such it is watchable and like a lot of other films you don't feel the need to turn away and hide!
The storyline is not quite original - there are many others like it, old and new films, but the storyline is great in the way that it rolls out throughout the film.
The theme tune that is played throughout the film, can only be desribed by me as quite sad but haunting at the same time - which is perfect for what is shown in this film. It is a memorable tune which even if you have not seen this film for years you will hear it and instantly recongise it.
The only thing I would of liked to see more of was a bit more depth of the life of Candyman and how he has turned out into this kind of urban legend - there is a flashback to his life and death in the second film but personally it should of been in the first one - just to explain a bit more and because everyone has lost interest by the time a sequal has come out! Would highly recommend to all horror fans - its a classic and a more in depth, serious film compared to the likes of the films today...
Candyman can be bought from Amazon for £4.99 including free P&P and the further two Candyman films are called Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh and Candyman 3: Day of the Dead.
Summary: a great classic - recommended to all horror fans