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Thursday, April 20, 2017


     For the most part, horror films in the 1990's pretty much sucked. Oh there were exceptions, of course- THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, SCREAM, MISERY, and CANDYMAN. I've always liked the movie, but upon recent viewing, I'd say I have a newfound respect for it and it's held up amazingly well.

     You know the story by now. Chicago student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) decides to write a big, juicy thesis on local urban legends and folklore. She sets her sights on the notorious Cabrini Green projects. She soon learns of the legend of the Candyman (Tony Todd), who apparently terrorized the housing project with a string of murders years before. Now, the legend says the Candyman will appear if you look into a mirror and say his name five times- in a wonderful play on the Bloody Mary urban legend.

     Based on the vivid imagination of horror icon Clive Barker, CANDYMAN is a beautiful and brutal horror film that's completely in a class of its own. It's not your typical slasher film, nor does it pander to the teen demographic. CANDYMAN is intelligent, artistic, intriguing, and frightening- and has truly aged well, I must say. The film looks better than ever today and seems fresh and relevant, with the abandoned projects of Cabrini Green bring a tense, racial vibe to the film that's handled thoughtfully and without getting bogged down by it. It also gives the film a dark sense of foreboding and helplessness.

       Everything about this film works- the taut direction by Bernard Rose, the chilling score by Philip Glass, the amazing performances by Tony Todd, Virginia Madsen, and pretty much every bit of acting in the film- it all came across as convincing to me.Tony Todd is downright terrifying as the Candyman, and why Virginia Madsen isn't used more is a crying shame. She's fantastic. It's just a very well-made film and it's hard to find something wrong with it, to be perfectly honest. CANDYMAN introduced a truly iconic figure of horror that was instantly placed alongside Michael Myers, Leatherface, Jason Voorhees, Pinhead, and Freddy Krueger and is easily in the top ten best horror films of the 90's.

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