Going into this film, I knew it would be a pretty stupid horror film.
Turns out, this stupid horror film has a racially-charged narrative.
This is Candyman.
Candyman is a 1992 supernatural horror film directed by Bernard Rose and stars Tony Todd and Virginia Madsen. If anyone recognizes Todd’s name, it is most likely because of the Final Destination franchise where he plays William Bludworth.
This movie is about a Chicago college student named Helen Lyle(Madsen) who researches urban legends and hears about Candyman(Todd). She goes to the notorious Cabrini-Green housing projects to do some investigating and she is told by residents that a woman named Ruthie Jean was murdered by Candyman. Events go awry that ultimately result in Lyle meeting Candyman in a parking garage and that is where this movie gets crazy.
It is not very clear but Candyman is able to perform some hypnosis on his victims so he can control them and move them wherever he pleases, which results in Lyle waking up in a pool of blood in the house of one of the women she talked to earlier in the movie. It is revealed that the women’s dog has been decapitated and her baby, Anthony has been kidnapped.
As this scene plays out, the police arrive and Helen is arrested because she is holding a meat clever and sitting on top of this woman. Right there, you find out the motive of this movie. Candyman’s goal is to frame this white woman as the killer so that his legacy can live on in her form. Helen, obviously, cannot say it was Candyman because everyone will believe she’s crazy, and if she is asked to describe the real killer, she will say “a black man” and everyone will pin her as a racist.
I found this situation brilliant because you would not expect this kind of political narrative in an, otherwise, stupid slasher film. This narrative has never been more glaring than in today’s times, which is why Candyman is getting a sequel next year that will involve producing from Jordan Peele.
Tony Todd is legendary in this role as Candyman. While his voice may come off as very artificial, he steals every scene he is involved in. Madsen also delivers a tremendous performance as Helen; going from an innocent college student to a crazed woman whose life is ruined after being framed for murder.
From a technical side, the gore is done very well for every kill and the griminess of the real setting of the Cabrini-Green housing projects adds to the true horror of this film.
Candyman is nothing special but Tony Todd is legendary and if love the social commentary, you should have an enjoyable time with this movie.