What’s It About: Virginia Madsen plays Helen Lyle, a graduate student who is writing a thesis on urban legends and is investigating the legend of Candyman, a son of a former slave who was killed by a mob in the 19th century who has a hook for a hand.
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- There’s an actor named Dejuan Guy. That’s kinda funny. Like “Hey its that de Juan Guy!”
- And there’s another actor named Gilbert Lewis. Wasn’t that the name of the two main nerds in Revenge of the Nerds?
- Score by Philip Glass. Not sure how I feel about that.
- Very odd having the villain narrate his own movie. Imagine having Freddy Krueger or Pinhead narrate their respective films. Wouldn’t be right at all.
- “Ever hear of Candyman?” Do you mean Sammy Davis Jr.?
- Ted Raimi? Playing a greaser who is trying to make it with a girl. They couldn’t get a tougher looking chap than Sam Raimi’s brother?
- Doesn’t the same person have to say Candyman 5 times? Having Billy say it 4 times and then having the girl say it the fifth time shouldn’t count. At any rate, at least kill both of them.
- And why 5 times? Seems like a lot to conjure up someone. 3 is a good number for conjuring I think.
- How did Helen know about the medicine chest being behind her medicine chest? Did she always know this and still bought the apartment? Which is kinda foolish. Or did she just figure this out this very afternoon? Which seems unlikely.
- Thesis on urban legends? Why? Especially when you’re going in very hostile territory to get more information on such a frivolous subject. And exactly how old is Helen and Bernadette anyway? They look too old for college students or even masters students. (Viriginia Madsen was 31 years old when this movie premiered)
- Yeah, no this Philip Glass score isn’t really working for me.
- I’m willing to bet that their car will be stripped, destroyed and/or burned by the gangbangers outside the projects that they’re in.
- Who’s painting murals of Candyman in this rundown derelict apartment? Is it Candyman himself? Doesn’t he have to be summoned to do anything? And when he is summoned to kill someone does he spend his free non-killing time painting murals?
- Alright maybe she’s not a student since she has a business card.
- THEY ARE graduate students. Why do they have business cards?!
- This other professor is a discount Stephen Fry. (It’s actually the director, Bernard Rose!)
- This guy has a lot of details on Candyman’s life without actually knowing the Candyman’s actual name. How is that even possible?
- Hey kid, if you can’t say anything because Candyman will get you is the exact very definition of being scared.
- That kid sounded as disappointed that Candyman ain’t real as much as if he was told Santa wasn’t real.
- I know she has no priors but why would the police let a woman suspected of kidnapping go free on bail?
- 2 instances of Virginia Madsen side-boob. Not too shabby.
- “Believe in me. Be my victim.” You can’t really have both Candyman. If she’s your victim then she can’t believe in you anymore.
- Well I hope you’re happy Helen. You yelling to warn Bernadette to flee made her come in and be killed by Candyman. If you had not said anything she may have just left unharmed anyway.
- It would’ve been a good idea for Helen to tell authorities that the baby might be in the same apartment building where Helen took the photos? Where else would Candyman keep a child?
- She’s been charged with first degree murder but no longer the kidnapping? They’re just glossing over that little infraction.
- I understand that the husband is now cheating on Helen while she’s put away but why the need to repaint the whole apartment? Whose idea was that?
- I love how Helen just gives up and leaves the apartment casually when she just discovered her husband is sleeping with a student and she’s also on the lam from the police.
- Candyman sleeps?! And so deep that he gets snuck up on?!
- NOT THE BEES! NOT THE BEEEES!!
- How’d that baby survive a whole month kidnapped like that in this derelict apartment? Candyman was feeding it drops of blood like Audrey II. I’m sure the baby needs more than that to survive.
- Wait. How did Helen die? She managed to crawl out of the pyre with what looked like bad burns but she was still alive. Now all of a sudden she died from her burns? Does that happen?
- Nice nipples Stacey. Does Trevor keep the apartment at 55º?
- I know he’s distraught at his wife’s death but why did he need to turn off the light in the bathroom as he muttered her name a few times? It would’ve been a mediocre jump scare instead of a terrible one if he kept the light on and not completely spoiled the surprise.
Is It Actually Scary: For 1992 the Slasher genre was in its waning years after sequels upon sequels from Freddy, Jason, Michael and others. Surprisingly, Candyman gave it a bit of a surge again with an original villain and using the urban myth theme. I remember when I was in elementary school that the myth of “Bloody Mary” was told and students would utter her name 3 times in the bathrooms with the lights off to see if she appeared. I was a tad spooked of the legend of some old hag in a mirror trying to grab me because I summoned her. Candyman had some good scares but for an adult, it was just serviceable.
How Much Gore: A good amount actually. More than I expected from a hook-handed villain. There’s also a good burn victim scene.
Best Scene: The scene when Helen, after first meeting Candyman, wakes up somehow in a pool of blood in a tenant’s apartment with a missing baby and a decapitated rottweiler. Helen has zero idea how she got there and all she hears is the mother screaming in anguish for her missing baby. She then attacks Helen, blaming her for kidnapping her child and Helen has to defend herself and take control of the situation. As a viewer, you’re just as confused and frightened in this new situation as Helen is and it’s a tragic scene accentuated more so by the screaming mother. Nice little scene.
Worst Scene: We all knew it was coming as soon as Helen’s widower husband said her name a few times in grief, but why would he turn off the lights in the bathroom making it all dark in there by himself. Like I said earlier, it was already going to be a mediocre jump scare but they made it stupid by having him turn off the lights to attempt to make it scarier. It didn’t make sense and it was weak.
Any Nudity: Just some side boob by Ms. Madsen. And the very prominent and scene-stealing nipples by Trevor’s student girlfriend, Stacey.
Overall: I don’t know why I skipped this one back in 1992. I guess I wasn’t into horror movie as much as I was in the 80s. I was in high school and more into music then. Oh well. I didn’t miss much but I enjoyed the movie now anyway. Tony Todd made a nice memorable villain, although they tried to make him more sympathetic than most horror villains in that he was unjustly killed a century ago and that made for a better urban legend since he was a vengeful spirit instead of just a homicidal maniac. The Philip Glass score will either make it or break it for you—I happened to not like it as much as his other film scores but I’m probably in the minority here. All in all, a decent horror movie that features a slasher set in the 1990s and in a urban setting. If you haven’t seen it, take a look.
Score: 7.5 de Juan Guys (out of 10)