Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman.....nope I still won't say his name for the fifth time. Candyman tells the story of Helen,a graduate student(played by Virginia Madsen)who is doing a graduate thesis on urban legends,which leads her to do one on just Candyman after hearing stories about him.She learns that a long time ago he was hired as a painter for a rich white man and later he was killed for falling in love with his beautful daughter.The womans father had candyman killed,first his hand cut off and then having him smeared in honey while angry bee's stung him to death.Recently he is rumoured to have killed several people in the Cabrini Green housing projects in Chigago.Helene and he friend venture to Cabrini Green to try to dig deeper into the whole candyman mythos.Is Helen really the victim, is she just crazy herself,is candyman real or just an urban legend?
There are so many things that make this movie great,from the opening aerials of a highway on chigago, to, the chlling score played throughout,to the amazing performances put on by Virgina madsen and Tony Todd,right down to the location which really was the real Cabrini Green in Chigago.
In limited screen time Tony Todd is still able to put on a remarkable and memorable performance.You end up hearing more about him through stories and graffitti but when he does come on screen for the first time its just a remarkable scene.The way he stannds,his atire and his voice immediately makes you think royalty.Another scene in particular is the scene where Tony has his mouth full of bees.There is no cgi involved,Tony had to wear this mouthpiece and the bees were in the mouthpiece which in turn was in his mouth,he ended up getting stung a bunch of times.That is dedication towards your role.
The best performance however was put on by Virginia Madsen,you immediately become sympathetic towards her.She delves so deep into Candyman that she evetually loses herself and becomes a victim of Candyman even though she herself isn't sure if she believes in him.Take note of every scene in which Helen see's Candyman.Her eyes never blink and are all red and dreamlike,this is because she was hypnotized for real in every scene where her and Candyman would be together.Director Bernard Rose actually had a key word to bring her out of hypnosis.There turned out to be days were Virginia couldn't remember most of the day because of the hypnosis.That is just a remarkable feat and I give her all the credit in the world for it.
Cabrini Green was a real housing project in Chigago and this film was filmed in the actual Cabrini Green.Police couldn't control the area because of warring gangs so rose and company actually would have to pay off gangs just to film there.I think on the last day of setting there was a shooting cause the crew remembers bullets flying around.
The chilling score by Philip Glass is another key part of the movie.No cheap scares with silence and then blaring music,it maintains the same simple music even throughout the most intense moments.This gives the audience no chance to see when a scare is coming.Horror movies today should take note of that.
All in all I believe this to be one of the best horror movies of the last 20 yrs.It relies on atmosphere,tension,and imagination rather than excess gore and cheap scares.The movie just feels real and that is a testament to Rose and crew.Everyone should see this film.