After being left so unfulfilled by Carrie (2013), I had to go back and watch a movie that I knew I’d enjoy because I feel really nostalgic about it. Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman…
Basically, I forgot how weird this movie is. I have not seen it since I was probably about 6 or 7 years old, and while a lot of the imagery stuck with me (can someone say spooky graffiti?), the entire “come be my sort of ghost bride” element had completely slipped from my memory. Now that I remember it…it doesn’t really make that much sense. Don’t get me wrong, I still like this movie, but why does Candyman need Helen Lyle to be his wife? And while we’re at it, what the hell is Candyman? He skirts a really strange line between being a ghost and an actual human with the ability to perform molecular dissemination. I know he is the angry remnants of a particularly tortured slave. But, what do we call him now, besides an urban legend? Maybe this lack of a formal name to put with what the Candyman is, is what makes him so scary? With other mirror related entities, we sort of know what to expect. Like with bloody mary, she’s a ghost. In Oculus (which I reviewed just last week), we’re dealing with demonic possession. Candyman doesn’t possess anyone, and he definitely is not ethereal. One thing is for sure though; he’s lonely. Candyman does not want the world to forget about him, and he goes as far as stealing a baby to get Helen to agree to stay and enjoy his honey bee kisses forever. You folks get back to me if you know the answer to this one.
Perhaps the most frightening thing about this movie is watching Helen Lyle get blamed for a bunch of murders she didn’t commit, and then thrown in an asylum. I can’t think of anything more terrifying than having everyone around you not believe you when you tell them what you’ve seen. Other movies have effectively used this element, to great results. In the Mouth of Madness and Clive Barker’s Nightbreed are likely some of the best examples, and since I brought it up, H.P. Lovecraft makes fine use of this aspect of fear in many of his stories as well. Being called crazy when you’re not is clearly infuriating, and only ever leads to actual craziness. Couple this with some really striking visual elements, like having the protagonist crawl through the mouth of a giant painting of Tony Todd, and you have a winner.
– I forgot about seeing Ted Raimi as the “tough boyfriend” in the flashback-ish story telling scene. Hahaha
– I’m pretty sure this is where the whole razor blades in candy legend took off. Thanks for slowly destroying trick or treating, whoever is responsible.
– Geez, Virgina Madsen sure looks a lot like Gillian Anderson.
Note to self: DON’T walk into shady looking men’s bathrooms in the hood. Even if the Candyman is not real, someone pretending to be the Candyman is.