Monstrous Horror Marathon: Tony Todd Haunts in 'Candyman'
by Alex Billington
October 15, 2010
"What's blood for, if not for shedding?" Another horror classic I have never seen, until I saw it recently, is Candyman, the 1992 horror movie starring Tony Todd as a hook-wielding villain and a young Virginia Madsen. Yes, shame on me, but that's why I'm running this monstrous horror series, so that I can catch up on all these great horror films I haven't seen. The funny thing is that I already knew the mirror gimmick that this was based around (although I'm not sure if that's just an urban legend that they recycled for this), but I didn't know much about the film. That said, I enjoyed it, but didn't love it, as it lost my interest by the end.
Candyman starts out pretty damn damn good, but I didn't like where it went. I loved all the amusing early 90's "oh it's just a derelict apartment" kind of stuff early on. And best of all, it started out with Ted Raimi! You can never go wrong with Ted Raimi. Even though he was only in it for about two minutes, it definitely set a great precedent. Unfortunately it was all downhill from there. At first I liked Candyman as a villain, but once he started taking over Helen, Virginia Madsen's character, I started to lose interest. Sure, I understand this is one of those tormented soul kind of horror flicks, where no one believes the person and they end up framed for killings, but I was hoping Candyman would go on a bigger killing spree or torment more people.
He is actually a pretty fun villain. I like how they modified his voice to be dark and epic and there were some great shots with him. The one I remember the most, my favorite "exit" from the movie, was when he kills the psychiatrist in the hospital and all of a sudden flies out of the window backwards. There's some great stuff in this, but not enough of it. Eventually it started to evolve into a psychological thriller where we didn't know if this was all just Helen's imagination and/or whether she would ever make it out to see her husband. That's not what I cared about at all, I wanted more vicious hook killings all over town, courtesy of the Candyman.
One part of this that did impress me was the score. It was crazy epic and awesome to listen to and I didn't even realize until after that it was from Philip Glass. I wish he would still score more horror, because his work in this was incredible. Overall, I felt like Candyman had way too many cheesy moments due to a fairly weak script full of some awful dialogue and terribly predictable moments. It was still entertaining and I'm definitely happy I saw it, mostly because Tony Todd is such a badass villain and I won't ever forget him, but it's not going to be one of my favorite horror films from this month. However, I don't think I'm going to ever try that mirror trick for real (all five times), I'm still too scared of what might happen! Sweets for the sweet.
Reader Feedback - 22 Comments
Some great ones in case you haven't seen them: The Changeling (1980 Dir: Peter Medak), Crimewave (1985 Dir: Sam Raimi), Pet Semetary (1989 Dir: Mary Lambert), Village of the Damned (1995 Dir: John Carpenter), In the Mouth of Madness (1995 Dir: John Carpenter).
Louis on Oct 15, 2010
You think Candyman has too many cheesy moments? And it went downhill after the beginning? What were you expecting? Another stupid teen slasher? Candyman is incredibly intelligent and represents themes of urban legends and psychological breakdowns really well. It's a classy horror film and different. Candyman HAD to speak. And they barely modified his voice - that is Tony Todd's real voice! So you'd rather Candyman be a typical dumb slasher film rather than something innovative and different? Right....
CandyBand on Oct 15, 2010
Alex, you need to watch Fire in the Sky! Being afraid of aliens, this film will scare the shit out of you, I promise.
peloquin on Oct 15, 2010
I did not want to see the movie because it seemed so different from the short story by Clive Barker. i recently saw it myself for the first time thanks to Netfix. while it still was a lot different from what i expected, i will admit i was not disappointed in it as a whole. I'm still iffy about wanting to watch the sequels though.
The Delightful Devint on Oct 15, 2010
The Changeling is one of the scariest horror films of all time...really scary shit...
Telltale Twin on Oct 15, 2010
I'm with you #2, this movie was a different scary flick during the early 90's that would hold up just as well in cinemas today! The best part was the scene when he appeared in the parking lot, I can remember seeing this at the movies during the time, and Todd's voice is so deep in thundered through the whole theater! To me, even though it was based on Clive's book, this is the best urban legend based movie ever filmed in my opinion...and #5, The Changeling with George C.Scott was eerie as hell, does anybody remember the movie that his wife Trish something made in the late 70's about a haunted house and she was being chased by a man in a hearse?I can't remember that movie to save my life, but it was scary indeed!
jah p on Oct 15, 2010
Wow. First time I read a movie comment forum where I'm agreeing with the commenting public as oppose to the blogger. Candyman is one of my all-time favorite horror films. I loved that it hit you with the scares and the pyshological thrills. A horror movie with a riveting story that drew you in and did not let u go til the end. I for one am glad this story did not go over board with the number of killings because then what you have is one of those forgetable 80's slashers flicks trying to measure up the to the Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy's of the genre. Candyman broke away from that and it has the staying power few horror flicks have. You can't tell me there aren't scary horrid scenes in this flick. You can down it on the scripting, you can down it on some predictable phases, but to down it because it didn't kill enough people?! That is sad to hear considering that that is the one thing that most people complain has become cliche' about the genre. Now Candyman 2 and 3? They sucked.
Scared S-less!!! on Oct 15, 2010
@6, are you referring to "Burnt Offerings" where they rent the house for the summer?
Gohikeone on Oct 15, 2010
A disappointing write up of a well-liked horror movie. Maybe the writer should rent Friday the 13th movies instead if he just wants to watch kills.
be my victim on Oct 15, 2010
wht the heck is the changling about??!!
Michael on Oct 15, 2010
Hey Michael - The Changeling is about a man who loses his wife and daughter in a freak car accident and decides to rent a new home so he can move on with his life. He finds this really big mansion and moves in but it's haunted by the ghost of a kid in a wheelchair. The direction, the cinematography, and the sound effects makes Paranormal Activity look like Sesame Street in comparison. Hope this helps!
Louis on Oct 15, 2010
@8, my bad, I found out it's called "The Hearst"...Trish Van Deverre who was married to George C Scott at the time, anyway, this movie she inherited a house that her aunt had, in which as soon as she moved in, she could see her aunt's ghost all over the place and she was chased by a old man driving a hearst..it was scary and one of those stories that revealed the mystery at the end...
jah p on Oct 15, 2010
Candyman is by far one of the best horror films out there and even with most of the genre films coming out tha=ey are far from the perfection of the candyman and agreed the a comment earlier fire in the sky is bloody amazing but also check out a little film called incident in lake county.
Fearhasnocure on Oct 16, 2010
LOL Alex. Candyman is a cult classic and one of the better horror movies that came out in the 90's. The parking lot scene back then was truly original and hadn't been done in any horror movie. It was an original and to have a black villain or killer was unique as no other horror movie had a black lead. Poor Alex, he really needs to catch up with his fellow moviegoers. I am at least proud of the fact that you are making an effort to watch these flicks!
dee on Oct 16, 2010
Harry Powell, The ominous, switchblade-weilding, widow-killing, wolf-in-sheeps-clothing from "Night of the Hunter" is the must see villain. but The Changeling and "Fire in the sky" were very very scary, as well as atypical for their genres. Also still recommending "Silver Bullet" if you've not seen it.
Travis H. on Oct 16, 2010
Candy Man handled his business. Not every killer will cut off a child's d*ck. I know what you mean about "more killings". But hey, think of it this way: if he was overly used in the movie, then his appeal and terror would have been watered down by the fact that you see him kill someone in every other scene. Also, his back story is great. Definitely something fresh when it comes to killers, you know?
Cracky on Oct 16, 2010
# 10 No, it was NOT a slasher film. It's a psychological horror. It has slasher elements, but the psychological aspect was more predominant. Cripes, if you honestly believe this film was boring and you wanted a cliche, forgettable horror with no cerebral quality, then I dread to know your movie taste. Perhaps your film taste is more terrifying? 😀
Bandy Hand on Oct 17, 2010
@ Everyone, jesus christ how can you guys say this movie is good, it's not good. It's so cheesy and unbelievable. I'm with Alex on this one. @ Alex the Ted Raimi cameo reminds me of the Ted Raimi cameo at the beginning of Midnight Meat Train when he gets his head burst open. Haha.
LINKFX on Oct 17, 2010
List of 80's films worth watching: http://www.tfpc.co.uk/2009/02/80s-horror-films/
tobyct on Oct 17, 2010
I love this movie. I think it's an smart and chilling paranormal thriller, and the voice of the candyman in surround sound when you are literally watching it underground is terrifying. The way the movie deals with racial issues and poverty is both intelligent and thought provoking. Some of the lines are laughably cheesy, but it's really a minor flaw in the shadow of a brilliant and classic horror movie.
SquareShapedSoftness on Oct 17, 2010
Yeah I disagree about candyman being a slasher flick, Friday the 13th, A nightmare on elm street, Halloween, Those are slasher flicks, they don't require a lot of story, but I did enjoy the fact that she was made to look crazy, all to suit his agenda, which was skillfully brought to a surprisingly good conclusion.
Jimmy Love on Oct 18, 2010
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