Tuesday, October 04, 2005

31 Days of Des' Horror Favourites: #28 Candyman

Why I like it: When I was a kid we would go into the bathroom at school, turn off the lights and begin to call out “Bloody Mary.” Rumour was that if you said her name three times she would appear in the mirror covered in blood and brandishing an axe (or butcher knife depending on your sources). We would even say it twice. But, fear would either prevent us from saying the name three times or send us running out of the bathroom before we could look in the mirror.

Candyman, adapted from Clive Barker’s short story “The Forbidden,” takes this urban legend and runs with it. Candyman (played perfectly by Tony Todd) is a hook-handed former slave who was tortured and killed after being discovered having sex with a white woman. Rumour has it that if you say his name five times he will appear.

Virginia Madsen plays a grad student doing her thesis on urban legends and ends up getting in a bit too deep. People around her start to die and she begins to get blamed. Her investigations into the Candyman myth lead her to the film’s grand, fiery finale.

Those who know me well know that I believe Clive Barker to be this generation’s greatest writer but this mixture of American mythology, great performances (at least in the cases of Todd and Madsen) and tense mood make me sure I don’t have this film on too high a pedestal.

Check these out:
-Night of the Living Dead (1990)-for more of Tony Todd.
-Hellraiser-for more Barkery goodness.
-Urban Legends 1 and 2-for an entirely different look at urban legends in a horror film.
-A Nightmare on Elm Street-for another “imaginary” bad guy.
-The other Candyman films-Not nearly as good as the first but still some competent sequels as far as horror movies go. Candyman 2 is at least pretty damn good.

4 Bitching, Moaning and Praise

Blogger Stacie Ponder said...

I. Love. Candyman. That is all. Actually, no it's not: I'd love to see a deluxe edition of this on DVD with 2 commentaries: one by Clive Barker and director Bernard Rose, and one by Virginia Madsen and Tony Todd. THAT is all.

10:33 pm  
Blogger Stacie Ponder said...

You know what? There IS a special edition, I just discovered. Hmm. Whaddayou know.

10:37 pm  
Blogger Rick Geerling said...

Man, Candyman scared the shit out of me when I was a little kid and I never even saw the whole thing until I got older.

12:03 am  
Blogger Des said...

Stacie: Agreed.

Rick: Indeed.

It works because it taps into things people tell us that we try not to believe. Candyman only enforces the belief.

Me likey...

Sorry, got too analytical there.

3:45 am  

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