Written by: Chad Langen
If there was ever a faultless horror film that existed merely to alter the way an individual thinks and believes, folks, "Candyman" is that film. The story of the "Candyman" first became known to me as a short story by Clive Barker entitled "The Forbidden". After reading this clever and not to mention spine-tingling tale I had absolutely know intention to lay eyes upon it again. It's not because the story wasn't good but more or less because it was rather unsettling at the time.
So then comes the hearsay of a possible film based on this eerie account. Was I anxious to hear more about it? Well, I wouldn't go that far. In fact, I didn't get around to seeing "Candyman" until about four years ago. I didn't have the nerves to view it alone thus I ended up watching it will a group of friends. I was reasonably nervous as to whether the film would share the same tone as the story it was based on. Much to my surprise it held more than that. Truth be told, "Candyman" could be the scariest movie I've ever come across. Grant it, the effect that the outcome of the film had on me could be due to the numerous tales that soaked into my imagination beforehand, but that's not to say the least.
"Candyman" centers on a female student, Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen), who is conducting a thesis on local legends and folklore. She all but laughs when she interviews college students due to the fact that their claims hold little originality, let alone interest. Nearly giving up on her project Helen hears of Candyman (Tony Todd), a slave spirit with a hook hand who is said to haunt Chicago's notorious Cabrini-Green housing project. Helen believes this could add a new twist toward her thesis, however, she has no intentions of believing the Candyman actually exists...until he appears, igniting a string of terrifying, tragic slaying. Soon, Helen becomes tangled in a web of terror when she is charged with the grisly crimes. Now, Helen becomes inevitably aware that the only way she can escape her crumbling life is by joining Candyman in his relentless tomb in hell.
Bernard Rose is the man responsible for conducting "Candyman" to a motion picture format. Rose takes us on an unsettling journey into the unknown. With every scene he makes certain that the tension is never overlooked. Rose is clever in staying true to the tale in which the film is based on, however, he brings a unique feel to the already disturbing storyline.
The setting is possibly the most frightening aspect of the story and what really sets the tone. The scenery is very surreal and has much meaning behind it. What is known as Cabrini-Green in the film exists as an actual gang-ridden territory in the debts of Chicago and just knowing this information leaves a spine-tingling feel while viewing the location throughout the film.
As if I haven't already stretched the intensity that consist within the story, let me go ahead and throw you my final opinion in regards to this clever work of art. Although Clive Barker is responsible for the actual well-being of the story, Bernard Rose is credible for bringing it to life. Rose has an eerie imagination that when looked upon will have you shivering. His adaptation doesn't just focus on a towering body count as most horror films tend to do now-a-days, but he goes all out in making the story believable. And as the story is playing out your left asking yourself "If enough people believe in something could it actually become a reality"? In this case, let's pray not.
The characters were explored way beyond their two-dimensional well-beings and we have the actors to thank for making them plausible. Virgina Madsen is easily one of the most talented actresses regarding horror of her time. Her presence is dynastic and she's extremely self-aware making it hard to dismiss her character as unreal. Is there much to say about Tony Todd? The guy is disturbing anyway you look at him, but that's not to say he's not a good guy in person. However, his roles usually consist of an eerie figure who's main purpose is to shed fear, yet his role as Candyman is by far his most disturbing.
My opinion cut short, "Candyman" is not only one of the best horror films I've seen, but definitely one of the scariest. Candyman is a product of myth and the more people who believe in him the stronger her gets. I wouldn't recommend anyone seeing this film alone. and especially not with the lights off. And the few of you who are brave enough to do the following might even gather enough courage to say his name five times in the mirror. Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Can...Well, you can count me out on that one. See this flick either way, you won't be sorry.