Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fifth Annual FMS Scarelicious October Movie Series #1: Candyman

By all accounts ( and by all accounts I mean Final Girl and her devotees), 1992's Candyman is an under-appreciated classic.  The music is elegant and creepy; the gorgeous Virginia Madsen carries the flick and does a great job of it; and Tony Todd is an ominous, looming presence.  Plus bees!

Helen (Madsen) is a graduate student at the University of Illinois, writing her thesis on urban legends and modern folklore.  She learns about the legend of Candyman, the son of a freed slave who dared to love a white girl.  Her outraged relatives cut Candyman's hand off for the audacity, then arranged for stung him to death by bees, then burned his corpse in a bonfire.  Now, at one of the projects, gory murders are being pinned on Candyman - the legend coming to life, according to the locals.  Helen goes to the projects to investigate, befriends a young single mom, then gets herself beaten by some gang members.  Oh, and she inadvertently summoned Candyman - by staring into a mirror and repeating his name five times, because she didn't believe anything would happen - who starts to rampage and frames Helen for the crimes.  In Tony Todd's glorious, booming voice, Candyman tells Helen that her investigation had weakened his congregation's belief in him, so he had to come forth and kill to re-establish his power over the project's inhabitants.

I am Rumor.  It is a blessed condition ... to live in other people's dreams but not to have to be.

Candyman is a little dated but holds up well.  It is genuinely scary; I watched a bunch of the movie through my fingers as the tension built around Helen's poor choices.  While the actual violence takes place off-screen, we get to see plenty of blood in the aftermath.  I should give a special shout-out to the scene where Tony Todd and Virginia Madsen let bees climb all over their faces, including in their mouths.  Those sure looked like real bees - yikes!

I had no expectations whatsoever going into Candyman and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was and how much I liked it.  Not too many people have seen this movie when compared to the classic horror movies like Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, etc., but if you're in the mood for something on the vintage side, Candyman is well worth your time.

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