Saturday, April 7, 2012

Candyman (1992)

It's hard to believe I've never written a review of Candyman.  I'm definitely not a Clive Barker fangirl (I actually dislike Hellraiser) but I've always loved Candyman.  It's a perfect movie in so many ways...great acting, especially from Tony Todd and Virginia Madsen, a great urban legend background, badass cinematography, and general creepiness about the whole thing.  Back in the 90s, this was one of those movies everyone was talking about in school -- those who were brave enough to watch it, those who lost sleep over it, and those who weren't able to sneak it past their parents to ever see it at all.  My parents kind of indulged my love of horror from an early age (my mom's favorite movie is The Exorcist) so Candyman was definitely part of my horror repertoire from a young age.

For those who haven't seen Candyman (blasphemy!) this is the basic story.  Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) and her friend/schoolmate Bernadette (Kasi Lemmons) are doing a graduate thesis on urban legends.  Helen's husband, Trevor (Xander Berkeley) is a professor at the school.  Although they're covering all urban legends in their study, they begin to focus on the legend of Candyman, which they're told lives in a nearby housing project, Cabrini Green.  Against the advice of pretty much everyone (including her friend Bernadette), Helen deeply investigates the Candyman legend, returning many times to Cabrini Green, putting herself in grave danger.  Meanwhile, Candyman has set his sights on Helen, stating that unless she becomes his victim/prodigy, he will select an infant instead. 

This is truly Tony Todd's standout role, although he's made quite a splash (splatter?) with the Hatchet movies over the last few years.  Madsen is innocent, yet saucy, and the supporting actors all play their parts perfectly, being memorable enough to not take over the story.  The creepy music and overheard shots in this flick are truly awesome.  And the scenes like Helen climbing through the face, her standing in her bloody clothes, and the fire burning outside the projects are the type that make this movie so memorable.   The score is incredible, and aside from some cheesy moments, this flick has really held up over time.  Also, now I kind of want to watch Urban Legend!