Friday, 5 October 2012

HHMMM: Day 5

I'll tear your soul apart Hot Topic! 
I had a lot going on today, so I didn't get as many movies in as I'd like. (I did get a chance to go halloween shopping, so it was worth it!) However I got two movies in, in honor of Clive Barker's birthday:

Hellraiser (94 mins/1987)

Kweeny's Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary: When "Uncle Frank" receives a strange puzzle box, he opens a gateway to worlds beyond and releases creatures that are outside of heaven and hell, and somehow still a part of them. This movie is such an important staple for me. It was the first time as a kid I had ever been so completely disturbed I didn't sleep for weeks. I had been scared of films before, but this one hit a primal, dark cord inside me, showing me monsters I feared lurked in my mind. It's worthy of noting that Hellraiser is a triumph of "female innocence" over excess in the film. It's Kristy who defeats the cenobites in the end, even though she doesn't destroy them. When this film was made, the commentary on excess, especially the sexual deviations explored by the cenobites themselves, was profound.

"Angels to some, demons to others..."

Sweets to the Sweet.
Candyman (99 mins/1992)

Kweeny's Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary: An urban legend about a being named Candyman, who is brought back to life when a grad student goes looking into his myth. Oddly enough, I find Candyman to be one of the more touching monster stories Clive Barker has created on film. He's a murderer and creepy sure, but his story is a tragic one that always makes me pity him. It's actually a kind of female hero's journey, because Helen the grad student martyrs herself for the child she saves. So she becomes more than a victim. A woman of fire with her own myth, her own congregation. Her own "deity" like Candyman. At the time this film was made, the commentary on racism was important. And I still find it important today, though dated a little.

If I could for a moment, I would like to make an observation I realized while watching these two back to back:

I love the music in both these films. Hellraiser's movie score is epic, powerful and chilling as hell. You know something terrible is gonna happen when the movie score starts. But Candyman's music is different. Chilling yes, but it's more subtle. It draws you in like a seductive caress, where Hellraiser's music rips into and tears "...your soul apart!" Both I love, and both touch me in different yet profound ways.

Also: I find between the two monsters of Pinhead and Candyman, that Pinhead is more of an embodiment of the male allure of excess. The person who summons Pinhead and his gang is Frank first. The male desire opening the box. It has such great symbolism, and Clive Barker loves to explore taboo ideas.

Candyman on the other hand, is re-awoken by Helen. He's more enticing as a villain, and lures her in with his voice, his movements, his seduction. I personally love both these monsters, but they talk to different parts of me. Pinhead is very alien and primal, where Candyman is more seductive and slightly human. But don't be fooled, both are deadly, and both have dark spiral paths to lead you down into.


Let's see what sort of movie madness I can get up to tomorrow...


  1. Hellraiser and Candyman are so different to each other, but equally fantastic. I love the originality of their story lines too. Candyman (the character) always reminds me a little of seductive vampires luring their prey.

    The scores in both films are really wonderful as well - I agree.

  2. They really are, and I relate to them both in wildly different ways. I don't feel pity for Pinhead though, just this strange mix of fascination and horror. It's never really left me from when I was a kid and saw it the first time.

    Candyman is kinda vampiric in his seduction. I agree. :)


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