Friday, July 29, 2011

Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments:#75-Candyman(1992)

By Eric Polk-
At the quarter pole of the countdown, we come upon a horror film that forsakes the woods for a more urban setting. Directed by Bernard Rose, Candyman tells the tale of Helen Lyle, a graduate student conducting research for her thesis on urban legends. While interviewing freshmen about their superstitions, she hears about a local legend known as Candyman.

 The legend states that while Candyman was the son of a slave, he nevertheless became a well known artist. Yet, after falling in love with a white woman who becomes pregnant, Candyman is hanged. The legend also claims that Candyman is summoned by anyone who looks into a mirror and chants his name five times. Summoning him often costs the individual their own life. Later that evening, Helen and her friend Bernadette jokingly call Candyman's name into the mirror in Helen's bathroom but nothing happens.

While conducting her research, Helen enters the notorious gang-ridden Cabrini-Green housing project, the site of a recent unsolved murder. There she meets Anne-Marie McCoy, one of the residents, as well as a young boy named Jake, who tells her a disturbing story of a child who was horribly mutilated in a public restroom near the projects, supposedly by Candyman. While exploring the run-down restroom, Helen is attacked by a gang member carrying a hook who has taken the Candyman moniker as his own to enhance his own street credibility by associating himself with the legend. Helen survives the assault and is able to later identify her attacker to the police.

Helen later returns to school but hears a voice calling her name as she walks through a parking garage. Another man she encounters states he is the Candyman of the urban legend and because of Helen's disbelief in him, he must now prove to her that he is real. Helen blacks out and wakes up in Anne-Marie's apartment, covered in blood. Anne-Marie, whose Rottweiler has been decapitated and whose baby is also missing, attacks Helen and she is forced to defend herself from Anne-Marie using a meat cleaver. The police then enter the apartment and arrest Helen.

Trevor, Helen's husband, bails her out of jail the following day and leaves her in their apartment while he runs an errand. Candyman approaches Helen again and cuts the nape of her neck, causing her to bleed. Bernadette arrives at Helen's apartment and, too weak from the loss of blood, Helen is unable to stop Candyman from murdering her. Trevor arrives home and after it appears that Helen has murdered Bernadette, Helen is sedated and is placed in a psychiatric hospital pending trial.

After a month's stay at the hospital, Helen is interviewed by a psychologist in preparation for her upcoming trial. While restrained, Helen attempts to deny culpability in the murders and convince the psychologist that the urban legend is indeed true. After she summons Candyman, the psychologist is murdered by Candyman from behind and Helen is able to escape to her own apartment. There she finds Trevor with another woman, one of his students. Helen then flees to Cabrini–Green to confront Candyman and to locate Anne-Marie's still-missing infant.

If your looking for a bunch of giggly, dope-smoking teens, you won't find it here. Neither will you find throwaway idiotic lines. What you will find is a great mix of psychological and more direct scares in this film. Candyman is great as the killer. There's an elegance to his character that, outside of Hannibal Lecter, is never seen in horror.

The gore is rather decent, but not over done. You can watch this film and not feel like a moron afterwards. Highly recommend. 


Morbidementia said...

I just watched Candyman not long ago and I was nothing less than amazed at how well it holds up. Speaking of amazing, you wrote a great review, and I second your recommendation!

Rhonny Reaper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric Polk said...

Thanks Morbid! How it only got to #75 baffles this here blogger.