USA / UK 1992
Steve Golin, Alan Poul, Sigurjon Sighvatsson, Clive Barker (executive) for PolyGram, Propaganda Films/Columbia, TriStar
directed by Bernard Rose
starring Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, DeJuan Guy, Marianna Elliott, Ted Raimi, Ria Pavia, Mark Daniels, Lisa Ann Poggi, Adam Philipson, Eric Edwards, Carolyn Lowery, Barbara Alston, Sarina C. Grant, Latesha Martin, Lanesha Martin, Michael Culkin, Bernard Rose, Glenda Starr Kelly, Kenneth A. Brown, Caesar Brown, Terrence Riggins, Gilbert Lewis, Rusty Schwimmer, Baxter Harris, John Rensenhouse, Mika (as Mika Quintard), Doug MacHugh, Carol Harris, Stanley DeSantis, Diane Peterson, Michael Laren (as Michael Wilhelm)
screenplay by Bernard Rose, based on the story The Forbidden by Clive Barker, music by Philip Glass, special makeup effects by Image Animation, visual effects by Cruse & Company
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For their thesis, grad students Helen (Virginia Madsen) and Bernadette
(Kasi Lemmons) research the urban legend of Candyman (Tony Todd), which is
based on a story originating from the 1800s when allegedly the son of a
slave had a child with the daughter of a rich landowner, upon which he was
hunted and captured by a lunchmob, his right hand was hacked off, he was
stripped, covered in honey, and stung to death by the bees of a nearby
hive that got destroyed to make them mad. Now the story is that should one
say Candyman into a mirror 5 consecutive times into a mirror, he will
appear and kill one. At a notorious Chicago housing project, one woman was
to have been killed by the Candyman, but to debunk that myth, Helen and
Bernadette actually go there to investigate, despite the building as such
anything but safe. Once in her apartment, they find plenty of clues how
the murder could have happened without any supernatural interventions, but
they also find the belief in Candyman widespread, and find a neighbour of
the murdered woman, single mother Anne-Marie (Vanessa Williams), trusting
enough to talk to them.
That evening, Helen sits herself in front of a
mirror and says "Candyman" five times. The next day she returns
to the project to take some pictures, and suddenly wakes up in
Anne-Marie's appartment in a pool of blood and holding a meat cleaver.
Next to her is Anne-Marie's dog, his head missing. Anne-Marie enters,
panics, the two get into a fight, Helen injures Anne-Marie ... and the
police interfere before anything worse can happen. Helen is arrested, not
only because of the dog, but also because Anne-Marie's baby boy is
missing. She is soon released on bail though provided by her husband
Trevor (Xander Berkeley), but the next day she's found unconscious, next
to Bernadette's butchered body.
Helen is sent to a high security asylum,
but once there she says "Candyman" into a mirror five times -
upon which he appears and kills her psychiatrist (Stanley DeSantis) and
helps her escape. But of course, her escape comes with a price ...
is quite simply a film that gets pretty much everything right: It's
intelligently enough written to appeal to an audience outside of the
hardcore horror circles, but at the same time creepy as heck, and pretty
violent should need occur, its story is full of twists and turns to keep
one engaged throughout, its characters all feel real, the acting by all
involved is really solid, and the direction is elegant without being
glossy. And the result then is a film that didn't take long to be
considered a modern genre classic by large parts of the horror community -
and is a very satisfying watch for sure.