Found-Again Friday: Candyman

Long ago, I started my first little blog, in which I mainly wrote about horror things: movies, art, the occasional book, and a little bit of goth culture. When I started Our Cynical Omelet, I decided I was going to try to 1) be a little more dignified and varied in subject matter and 2) make sure I had no fewer than two things per week to write about.

One of those regular features per goal number 2 turned out to be about Highlander, so that was the equivalent of taking goal number 1, killing it, and desecrating its body. Which…kind of brings us to Candyman, in fact.

Why Found-Again? Because I am totally susceptible to horror movies: easily creeped out, easily grossed out, you name it. Candyman is chock-full of both of those things—it’s kind of what Clive Barker does—so I only watch it every other year or so.

The Premise: Doing your dissertation on a hook-handed urban-mythical boogeyman is a phenomenally bad idea. (I could have told the main character that: if you ever want to see a bunch of English professors become horrified about your career prospects, tell them you’re interested in folklore studies. Don’t ask how I know this.)

I suspect Tony Todd isn’t actually the scariest person on earth, but for the duration of Candyman, he absolutely is. The understandably vengeful spirit of a lynched artist, Candyman enjoys:

  • emerging from mirrors if his name is said five times
  • haunting housing projects in Chicago
  • killing people with his hook hand
  • striding around in a big swingy coat while monologuing seductively, and
  • framing folklore-studies majors for murder (sort of) while pursuing them with unholy persistence.

Yes, the unhappy grad student Helen (Virginia Madsen) is in his sights, and all she wanted to do was make a name for herself at conferences and get her husband to stop being such a pompous dick.

Actually, given the end of the movie, I suspect both of those things happened. Let me revise that to add “…while still being able to enjoy it.”

The Verdict: This is, though hardly without flaws, a great horror movie—smart and atmospheric and fascinating and disgusting, occasionally all at once. It helps, of course, that I’ll watch Tony Todd in anything.

Might go well with: Anything that won’t cause repeated trips to a room with mirrors, if you know what I mean.  (Honey is probably also right out.)


Next time: I cover a reasonable amount of ground in watching Highlander.

J. A.

It reads. It writes. It watches. It researches. It overdoes many of those things!

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