By: Justin Hopkins
Welcome to this months Classic 13 review… three days late. I know, I am sorry. Between getting ready for this past weekend and attending Rampage. Didn’t have enough time to get this one done, but didn’t want to pass this one up. Since we are less then 2 weeks away from Candyman’s return to the theaters. No better time to go back to the 1992 classic that started it all. A movie that I have only actually seen one time going into this when I was a kid. A lot of it going over my head and no really sticking with me. Now, older and somewhat capable of understanding things. It was time to give it another go. So, lets jump in and discuss.
The movie kicks off with a title sequence, ending with a swarm of bees and Candyman talking, ” They say I have shed some blood, but what’s blood for if not for shedding. With my hook for a hand, I will split you from groin to gullet.” After a shot of bees overtaking the city, we jump to Helen, a grad student, listening to story of The Candyman. A babysitter who had a guy name Billy show up. Taking him upstairs and to the bathroom. Telling him the story and he said the name 4 times. When she sends him downstairs she says it a 5th and he came for her. Killing her and the baby. Billy managing to escape but went crazy. Hair turning white. She knows the story because her roommates’ boyfriend knows him. Meanwhile, fellow Grad Student Bernadette hearing a different story. Heading back to the university, a little annoyed by the way one of the students is looking at the professor, her husband, Trevor. She pushes on, because she is more upset that he is teaching the Urban Legend portion while her and Bernadette are working on their thesis. See her typing on a computer later, when one of the cleaning ladies overhears the recording. Knowing someone, another cleaning lady who knows about the Candyman. Telling her the story of Ruthie Jean, a woman who lived at Cabrini Green housing. Heard what sounded like someone banging through her wall. She tried numerous times to call the police, but they ignored her till it was to late. Finding her dead when they finally arrived. Believing it to be the Candyman who did it. Helen found numerous articles and the Ruthie Jean murder. Making a connection between Cabrini Green and her apartment tower. Showing Bernadette how the apartments are connected through the bathroom mirror. Where she said Candyman five time, Bernadette only doing it four, but nothing happens. The next day, they head to Cabrini Green, much to Bernadette’s chagrin. The gang catching sight of them immediately. Not messing with them, because they thought they were cops, but shouted a warning up the stairs. Making their way to Ruthie Jean’s. Where she climbed through the hole to the abandoned apartment. Taking pictures. Finding a massive mural of The Candyman on the wall. Along with an offering of candy before it. Coming back when she runs out of film, one of the neighbors, Ann-Marie, comes to check what is going on. After a little reluctance, not wanting them to bash those who lived here. That not all of them are bad. She tells then a bit more about when Ruthie died. How she heard her screams and tried to call the police, but no one came. Believing it to be done, by Candyman. Over dinner with a group of professors, we learn more about Candyman. 1890, he was the son of a slave who struck it rich. Allowing his Father to send him to the best schools. Where he became an artist. Sleeping with a woman he was hired to paint a portrait of. Father hiring a group to punish him. Chasing him down to where Cabrini Green would be built. Sawing his hand off with a rusty blade. Smashing honeycombs over his body and dying by bee stings. Burning his body to ash and scattered across the grounds. When she goes back, tricks a kid, Jake into taking her to where he claims the Candyman can be found. Taking her to the restroom outside. Telling her about a kid the Candyman killed. Was told that was where he is. While she is inside, a group of guys come in. One brandishing a hook. Calling himself the Candyman, brandishing a hook and hits her in the head. Leaving her out cold and bleeding. Jake calling for help. The police catch the man, because unlike before they do come and sweep the building. The man was the leader of the Overlord Gang, and with her testimony could be put away. Jake is upset about her breaking their promise. Afraid of the Candyman, which she assures him is only a myth. When she is well enough to finally go back to school. Making her way through the parking garage, when a man calls out to her. Seeing flashes of Cabrini, as he lulls her into a hypnotic state. Telling her that he was obliged to come because of her spreading doubt of his existence. Be his victim, as she sees a swarm of bees as she blacked out. Coming to on the floor. Covered in blood. Hearing a woman screaming. Finding herself in Ann- Marie’s Apartment. Head of the dog on the floor. Helen picks up a knife, going to see what is happening. Baby Anthony is gone, and Ann Marie attacks her. Police bursting in as Helen is defending herself and she is arrested and that is where I will mercifully leave it for now.
I enjoyed what they were going for with the Candyman and the myth surrounding him. Way he feed on the fears and thrived by being the boogeyman of Cabrini Green. Way he had to go about targeting Helen when she threatened to debunk his myth with his “Congregation.” Way he masterfully tore down here life. Leaving her with no other choice but to come to him. Then the switch happened, by him reneging and she fought back. Dying as she saved the baby. Making her the new Myth of Cabrini Green. Which was a risky move , especially with great of a character they had made, in Candyman, but one that they paid off for them.
I like the fact they didn’t just make him another hack n’ slash serial killer. Candyman being more suave and sophisticated. The way he talked and his movement. Story based in sadness and racial inequalities. That his only crime was falling for a white woman. Then preying and feeding off the black community who can never get any help. His crimes being ignored and just written up as gangs. While people Ann-Marie and Jake are caught in the middle.
The prosthetics were wonderful. From the small stuff like Helen’s swollen eye after she was attacked in the restroom. The aftermath of Bernadette and Trevor and the hook for a hand was excellent. The burns on Helen were morbid in the right way. For a movie that didn’t show a lot of the actual killing. Went all in on the aftermath and a great job with it. And a massive round of applause to Virginia Madsen and Tony Todd for working with swarms of bees. Couldn’t even imagine the amount of tension they were under pulling that off.
It almost goes without saying that the actors and actresses were phenomenal. Tony Todd created a villain of the ages in Candyman. Bringing the look, style, and derangement to stay with you long after you leave. Virginia Madsen was the perfect woman to bring in for the part of Helen. Nailing Helen’s descent . Making you feel so much sympathy for her as not only Candyman tore apart her life, but her Husband was cheating and moved in his girlfriend after she was committed and Virginia and Tony had excellent chemistry. Then you had Xander Berkeley, who played Trevor. A guy you just knew was cheating on Helen and became more unlikeable as you went and seeing him get his comeuppance was the cherry on the top, and it was because of how good Xander pulled it off.
Most of my nitpicks I had going from my first watch was cleared up on this one. So, guess we will go into final thoughts. Candyman is a really enjoyable film that had a lot going on for it. Good carnage candy, tragic tale, social breakdowns. An excellent final girl and Iconic killer in Candyman. With the sequel right around the corner, now is the best time to leap back to where it all started with this 1992 classic. Final Grade – A
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading!