The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape
Send this page to Twitter!  

THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan

"CANDYMAN"

Candyman

If you're making a list of the best horror movies of the 1990s, Candyman absolutely has to be on there. It wasn't the biggest hit, earning only $25 million at the box office. Still, it was successful enough to spawn one theatrically-released sequel, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, and one straight-to-DVD sequel, Candyman: Day of the Dead. Time has been kind to the film, as new audiences continually discover it. Scream Factory's magnificent Collector's Edition Blu-ray will ensure that continues. Existing fans will find a treasure trove of bonus materials guaranteed to keep them glued to their TVs for hours.

Virginia Madsen plays Helen Lyle, a graduate student researching urban legends. She stumbles upon a good one in Chicago's Cabrini-Green housing project. Supposedly anyone who looks into a mirror and says the name "Candyman" five times will summon a killer wielding a metal hook. Helen eventually encounters the Candyman, and from there all kinds of horrific things happen.

Candyman is notable for possessing racial themes that set it apart from similar movies. It is eventually revealed that the character was the son of a slave who fell in love with a white woman. Her father hired a mob to find and kill him. They cut off his hand, smeared honey all over his body, and set a swarm of bees upon him. This approach is fascinating because we kind of empathize with Candyman, even as we fear him. There's a deep focus on his psychology. That makes him scarier than the generically-motivated killers a lot of films present us with.

Tony Todd gives a memorable performance in the title role, projecting both intelligence and malice. In a genre where personality-free killers are common, he creates a character who is truly three-dimensional. Director Bernard Rose (adapting a story by Clive Barker) gives the movie a perpetual sense of dread, so that you're constantly on edge. Candyman is a well-crafted, substantive genre film that is certainly deserving of the Collector's Edition treatment.

Bonus Features:

There are two discs in Scream Factory's set. Disc one is the theatrical cut of Candyman. The 2K restoration from a new 4K scan of the original negative means that it looks sparkling. Four audio commentaries can be found, featuring Rose, Todd, Barker, Madsen and others in various combinations.

After that, there's a series of vintage promotional material. "Sweets to the Sweet: The Candyman Mythos" is a look at the film in which all the key cast and crew members discuss the story and its themes. "Raising Hell" is an interview with Clive Barker, who talks about his story and its adaptation. Tony Todd gets an interview, and Rose's storyboards are accounted for, as well. The theatrical trailer, some TV spots, and a still gallery are also on this first disc, which additionally includes a BD-rom copy of the screenplay.

Disc two has all the new stuff, including the unrated cut of the film. Tony Todd, Virginia Madsen, and co-stars Kasi Lemmons and DeJuan Guy all get their own individual interview segments in which they talk about their performances and their experiences making Candyman. "The Writing on the Wall" is a look at the production design, while "Forbidden Flesh" explores the makeup effects. These are great for gaining an understanding of how the movie uses its technical qualities to amp up the horror.

Wrapping up the set are "A Story to Tell: Clive Barker's The Forbidden" which features writer Douglas Winter weighing in on Candyman's source material, and "Urban Legend: Unwrapping Candyman," with writers Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes providing a critical analysis of the film.

The great thing about this release is that the extras aren't just mindless promotional stuff. Scream Factory has created a disc that illuminates the ideas and style of Candyman and provides perspective on why it's an important genre entry.

For more information on this and other great titles, please visit the Scream Factory website.


Candyman is rated R for violence and gore. The running time is 1 hour and 39 minutes.


Buy a copy of my book, "Straight-Up Blatant: Musings From The Aisle Seat," on sale now at Lulu.com! Paperback and Kindle editions also available at Amazon.com!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.