Who amongst the horror fans hasn’t tried to pronounce this word five times in front of a mirror?
We all tried, I know.
This is a real classic of horror cinema, not to be missed!
Candyman is a 1992 supernatural horror movie written and directed by Bernard Rose. It is based on Clive Barker’s short story “The Forbidden”, which speaks about many important themes such as inequalities and degradation in the social class system.
The story is set in Chicago where a semiotic student, Helen Lyle, is writing her thesis on the urban legends circulating in some degraded areas of the city. She is interested in one myth in particular: Candyman. When she hears that many murders in the Cabrini-Green Housing Project (about twenty-five murders, actually…) are attributed to this strange figure, she wants to know more about the legend… who wouldn’t?
But with one trespassing and another, she learns something more about this Candyman. Professor Philip Purcell knows the whole history: Candyman is the spirit of the talented son of a slave who became famous painting portraits of wealthy ladies after the Civil War. Daniel, this was his name. One day he fell in love with the daughter of a landowner, Caroline. When her father discovered she was pregnant, he organized a lynch mob to wash this insult with blood. They cut off Daniel’s hand and replaced it with a rusty hook, then the crowd covered him with the honey stolen from an apiary and mocked him crying “Candyman, Candyman…”. And to make matters worse, they used a mirror to show him his disfigured features just before he died, but they trapped his soul inside it.
Candyman was created from this ignoble cruelty, so, if you say his name five times in front of a mirror, he will appear and slice you up.
After several misfortunes and bloody events, Helen Lyle is accused of being the murderer and locked in a mental hospital. Helen managed to escape after summoning Candyman, but she returns to the Cabrini-Green where she discovers she is a sort of reincarnation of Caroline. Then Candyman put Helen and a poor child in the middle of a bonfire, she managed to save the child from the flames but she died for burns.
Be my victim. Be my victim.Candyman
Candyman is a quite complicated movie, if we observe it well. It’s full of implications that involve many important aspects of society.
In the first place, myths and legends in the urban context.
When we speak about urban legends, often the sense of fear that they arouse is fueled by the environment, which contributes to its genesis and existence. The locations chosen to make the film respond perfectly to this idea: Cabrini-Green is a degraded building in the Chicago suburbs: abandoned houses, garbage, gangs, misery and violence.
Secondly, the film takes into consideration an important theme: racism. The urban hives are the places where the rage of the discriminated grows in violence and hopelessness. A place where violence avenges violence and all that matters is survive. Candyman is pure vengeance, pure violence for the sole purpose of existing.
I am the writing on the wall, the whisper in the classroom. Without these things, I am nothing. So now, I must shed innocent blood. Come with me.Candyman
Probably, that’s why we can’t sympathize with this villain: we don’t know nothing of his life (except for his terrible death), he became the perpetuation of a brutality that destroys everything and condemns everyone.
Why do you want to live? If you had learned just a little from me, you would not beg to live. I am rumor. It is a blessed condition, believe me. To be whispered about at street corners. To live in other people’s dreams, but not to have to be. Do you understand?Candyman
Now, I’m going to talk about something a little lighter… it’s trivia time!!!
All the bees used in this movie are real, but they were only twelve hours old, so their stings were less dangerous. However, this didn’t prevent Tony Todd to be stung 23 times… and for every sting he was paid $ 1000 bonus.
The movie is quite different from the original Barker’s story: it was originally set in England and Candyman was a white man with a red beard. Moreover, the bonfire was part of the Guy Fawkes Night celebrations.
This is the first movie in horror history with an African American serial killer as the villain.
In conclusion, I really liked this horror movie… it’s full of food for thought! As I said, the themes are more than current and the shivers they raise are connected with the dramatic issues of our society.
A good movie!
by Alice Colombo
Images from Web