Saturday, 25 May 2013


I love my blogging friends, and nothing is more fun then getting together with a few pals and geeking out over a subject we all feel passionately about. 

Today my friends, I bring you a post on CANDYMANNot just any post mind you, and not alone. I shall name this beast...

The Ultimate Candyman Post Extravaganza
Because Candyman is not only a Clive Barker masterpiece, but my wonderful blogging pals Karina Bamber and Maynard Morrissey decided the three of us should get together and make a huge deal out of it with reviews and the like! 

Of course, anything Clive Barker will usually get me out of my catacombs and ready to get my movie geek-on!

So without further ado, enjoy our epic Candyman works, and beware of bees! Those buggers stick to the rib cage if you're not careful!

Let's start with Maynard's review of the movie:



German Title:
Candyman's Fluch

USA, 1992
Director: Bernard Rose


I laugh at everyone who claims that the 90s were a bad decade for horror. Why? Because it's just not true! Of course, the 90s weren't as "productive" as the 80s and they certainly didn't spawn as many classics as the 60s, 70s or 80s did, but hey: the 90s brought us many, many movies that are as timeless as older stuff. Think about "New Nightmare", the "Scream" trilogy, "From Dusk Till Dawn", "Jurassic Park", "The Crow", "Stir Of Echoes" etc. etc. …

...and another one, one that often gets overseen for reasons I'm not sure of. Hell, even I almost forgot about it! I'm obviously speaking of the mighty "Candyman", Bernard Rose's fantastic adaptation of Clive Barker's short story "The Forbidden". I remember the day when it "arrived" in our local rental store back in 1993. The cover differed immensely from all the other VHS's in the horror section; the image of the huge shadow figure with the hook deeply impressed me and there was something really haunting about the German title 
[Candyman's Fluch = Candyman's Curse].

I watched it together with my parents a few weeks later, and we all loved the hell out of it. It scared us a lot, but it also made us joking around with mirrors and hook-like items :)

Then it disappeared off my radar (just like Beetlejuice did) and I didn't see it for almost 20 years - until I found a cheap copy in the bargain bin a few weeks ago. I was browsing through the DVDs, not expecting to find anything worthwhile - and suddenly, the cover of "Candyman" jumped at me. I immediately felt like I was 11 years old again, the little boy who stood in the horror section of the old rental store, looking at that cover for what felt like hours.

I took the DVD, bought it and left the shop feeling like a king. And now that I finally re-watched it, I feel even better :-)

My goodness, "Candyman" is such an incredible and outstanding-looking movie! It's intelligent, excellently made, highly thought-provoking and SCARY AS HELL!! It's such a shame that director / writer Bernard Rose never made another film like that. The direction is pitch perfect, plot and script are unique and completely unpredictable, and the look of the movie is simply striking. Also, love the awesome build-up: the first half is eerie and thrilling, the second half ranges from mysterious to frightening, from brutal to batshit insane. The ending is amazing, not only because of a simple but immensely effective twist, but also because it's unexpectedly strong and wonderfully over-the-top.

"Candyman" possesses an uncanny atmosphere that is completely unique in horror. I've never seen anything like that. The bizarre opening (gigantic bee swarm over Chicago) sets a haunting tone that carries on throughout the whole movie. The shabby, rundown and graffiti-covered apartment buildings at the Cabrini-Green housing project all look extremely eerie and gave me an uneasy feeling because I instantly thought of a few similarly eerie buildings in my area.

Also, the movie is able to make your dwelling place a lot more scarier. What if I look into one of my mirrors and say "Candyman" five times? Will he really come and get me? What's with the medicine chest in my bathroom? Is it connected to the apartment next door? What if someone crawls through it into my apartment?

Maestro Philip Glass ("Koyaanisqatsi") composed a stunningly beautiful and totally exceptional score with lots of intriguing organs and spooky choirs. At times, it feels like it was created for a religious horror film like "Omen" or "Exorcist".
Anthony B. Richmond's ("The Man Who Fell The Earth") smooth cinematography / camera work is powerful and breathtaking. Lots of great angles, many superb bird's-eye shots, and tons of creepy images that will cling to you long after watching (the huge and fucking scary Candyman-Graffiti, the arrow on the wall that points down to the bee-filled toilet, undead Helen...).

The costumes all look simply beautiful, make-up / gore effects are brilliantly done.

The uber-gorgeous Virgina Madsen gives a compelling and authentic performance as Helen, a curious college student who tries to finish her thesis on urban legends. Tony Todd, the man with the creepiest voice in horror, is stellar as Candyman, one of the most fascinating horror icons in history. Candyman a.k.a Daniel Robitaille, son of a slave on a New Orleans plantation, a poor sod who got tortured and killed by a lynch mob (sawed off his hand, poured honey over his body, getting stung to death by bees), but ultimately resurrected as restless ghost who became a myth and can be summoned by saying his name five times into a mirror.

More great acting: Vanessa Williams as lonely mother Anne-Marie, Kasi Lemmons as Helen's college fellow Bernie, and Xander Berkeley as Helen's cheating husband.

"Candyman" = a top-notch horror film, a modern classic, a work of art.

Maynard has good taste. Now to share Karina's contribution to our Ultimate Candyman Post Extravaganza! Her personal thoughts and review on the legend:

I first watched Candyman at a sleepover when I was no more than 12 years old.  I am now 27 and even to this day I will not tempt fate by uttering Candyman anyway near a mirror.

I was obviously far too young when I watched the film so it was interesting to see how my mature adult mind would cope with a film that absolutely terrified me as a child.

PLOT:  Helen (Virginia Madsen) is writing a thesis based on modern folklore when she stumbles upon the local urban legend of the Candyman (Tony Todd), a vengeful spirit with a hook for a hand.  Helen is rightfully sceptical but when her research takes her to a rundown inner city area she finds that the residents truly believe in the story and that there may be some truth to the legend. END PLOT

Candyman is a slow burner with the first half of the film focusing on Helen’s research into the legend.  This helps to keep the film grounded as Helen is not a shrieking, idiotic teenager; she is an educated woman writing a thesis. 

Once the Candyman finally arrives the pace picks up however the film never descends into a violent slasher – oddly the final scene is the only moment when Candyman ever feels like a traditional horror film. 

There are no true scares but the eerie tone does make for some unsettling viewing – I can see why, at 12 years old, the film scared the hell out of me.  As an adult the film plays out like a psychological thriller with a hefty dose of the fear of the unknown and word of mouth hysteria thrown in for good measure.

The theme of social/racial class is a prominent feature but unfortunately it is laid on with a trowel.  Luckily the performances of Vanessa Williams and DeJuan Guy are strong which means that their characters are not completely reduced to stereotypes.

Virginia Madsen is excellent as Helen as it Tony Todd however he isn’t required to do much other than provide sinister narration. Todd commits fully to the role and his scene with the bees feels like it lasts forever.  It was not pleasant to watch.

The unsettling tone of film is helped by the simple yet creepy score – Music Box and The Slave Quarters are excellent but it is the instantly memorable Helen’s Theme that really stands out.  I have, rather predictably, now added the soundtrack to my i-pod.

 Candyman absolutely terrified me as a kid however re-watching the film as an adult has made me realise that it is a lot cleverer than typical horror movie fare.  It gets 8/10. 

Will there be a time that I could ever say Candyman in the bathroom mirror? No. 


And last, but not least, I wanted to do something a little different to share in the Candyman love fest. Something that showed how this movie captured my imagination, as well as my sanity. So I wrote this little piece that I hope was sent safely by UPS HELL to my lover. Sweeney said he paid full postage on it, but you can never trust a singing Demon Barber with your mail.

A Love Letter to Candyman

Hello my darling!

It’s me again Kweeny. I know I've written you many letters, but I figure if I write enough of them it would be the same as calling your name in the mirror 5 times.  This is my fifth letter. Maybe when this reaches you we will finally be together…or you’ll gut me with your hook.

Both options excite me honestly.

In all my letters I profess my love to you, but I feel a little sad that you've never crooned a word at me in your sensual voice. Not even one soft syllable to tickle my ear and make me want to be your victim. Hell, I NEED to be your victim. To have you torment me as you did Helen, driving her to the point of madness, dog-killing and baby kidnapping would be divine. Okay, maybe YOU killed the dog and took the baby, but I don’t care about that really. All I want is for you to understand that I would be better suited to you than Helen ever could be.

First off, she didn't believe you were real, and because of this, tried to disprove your existence. This only mad your job harder didn't it my love? You had to steal that baby and frame her, just so she would have to face you in a showdown at the end. And after you go through all the trouble of proving that you’re real, she betrays you. She never wanted to stay with you, never understood your message or your plight.

I do. I understand what “Sweets to the Sweet” really means.

And sure, my only friend thinks I’m crazy for loving you. He says you’re not real either. But he’s a demonic spirit trapped in my head with a pension for meat pies and razors. He really doesn't get to comment on my choices for a mate.

 Though I do have other friends, and I shouldn't forget them. I sometimes wonder if they really are my friends, or just hallucinations I developed from being a werewolf possessed by a demon barber. My friends include a super intelligent bear and a Jester who escaped a mental ward…but they tell me I might scare you away if you actually met me. Mad Jester says you’ll take one look at my razors and toss your hook away in shame. Lord Bearington just claims I’m a stalker. But Sweeney says it’s not stalking if I can’t crawl into your bedroom window and watch you sleep! Going to Cabrini–Green and sleeping in piles of candy with razors in them doesn't make me a stalker! It makes me devoted!

No one appreciates true devotion these days…except maybe Clive Barker.

Well my darling, I should end this letter. I have a beehive to kick, and a hand to cut off. I have to say, the last time I did this I regenerated it all back after my shift. I make a terrible vengeful spirit I’m afraid. Being cursed as I am already means that if I pile too many curses on, some start negating each other. It’s rather sad. I’m trying to collect the whole set.

Forever enslaved to love…

And constantly getting stung by bees,

~Kweeny Todd

Hope you enjoyed our posts readers! Please feel free to visit my blogging chums and, who both have excellent sites. They were great sports, and I had a blast doing our Candyman posts together. Please tell us what you think in the comments and feel free to visit their sites to let them know personally what you thought. Also, check out more of Clive Barker's work at his site:

To me, the man is a magician of words.

I am off now to pick candy from my teeth and to shove some hooks into folks.


  1. I loved this movie. Tony Todd freaked me out, what with the hook and the bees. Like Karina, I would never ever say his name in the mirror five times. :o

  2. Thank for joining Kweeny, 't was fun! =)

  3. Love a good party post! I've never seen the movie, so I've learnt a lot from you three. I didn't know there was Bloody Mary style summoning involved. I'm intrigued to see this film now. Love that your different personalities all shined through in this collaboration! :)

  4. That cover with the bee in the eye always makes my eyes water. XP

    And Todd's voice. Yum!!


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