Archive Review: Candyman (1992)

Ahead of the remake that is heading our way later this year, I thought I should probably get around to watching the original.  A fairly average 90s horror flick.

Certificate: 18

Director: Bernard Rose

Screenwriter: Clive Barker (based on “The Forbidden” by), Bernard Rose

Starring: Virginia Madsen, Xander Berkeley, Tony Todd

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Runtime: 99 Minutes

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

Helen Lyle is a student who decides to write a thesis about local legends and myths. She visits a part of the town, where she learns about the legend of the Candyman, a one-armed man who appears when you say his name five times, in front of a mirror. Of course, Helen doesn’t believe all this stuff, but the people of the area are really afraid. When she ignores their warnings and begins her investigation in the places that he is rumoured to appear, a series of horrible murders begins. Could the legend be true? – From IMDB

The nineties really did give us some of the greatest horror classics.  And while none of them are particularly technically or narratively amazing, they all have a long standing place in our hearts.  And this is one of them.  It is littered with terrible nineties special effects and a portrayal of a black community you could never get away with today, and yet it still manages to exude a scary and unsettling atmosphere despite this.

Part of this is definitely down to the excellent score and sound mixing that is used.  Some of it isn’t your typical horror movie music and it has an eerie lyrical quality to it.  It really helps to ramp up that atmosphere. 

However, under the horror and terror, there is a wierd sort of sexual overtone to the relationship between the Candyman and Helen.  One that is completely unneeded and makes me quite frankly, uncomfortable.  I think it is meant to shed some light on the backstory of the Candyman, but instead it just makes him seem desperate and sad.

Tony Todd was also a genius piece of casting.  The man radiates menace and he has the perfect voice  for these kind of roles. Deep and gravelly, you would be hard pressed to find someone a better fit.  I was both surprised and overjoyed to learn that he is returning for the remake.  Further proof that there wasn’t a better choice for this role, they couldn’t recast him.

I look forward to seeing what they do with this story in the reboot.  I know it is meant to be a spiritual sequel to this film, and is written by Jordan Peele, so I definitely expecting great things.

This nineties offering though is full of the usual 90s horror tropes and as long as you are a fan of horror films from this decade, I am sure you will love it.  Grab it on DVD or Rent from Amazon Prime for £2.49 now before the reboot releases next month.

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