Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Candyman

"Candyman" (1992, Bernard Rose, Clive Barker, TriStar Pictures) is scary. It's not scary because of the whole urban myth, mirror thing. No. It's scary because it could happen. Not the undead dude with the hook, I mean going crazy.

I have two fears; zombie apocalypse (ok, not really, but out of all the horror creatures, zombies are at the top of my scariest shit list) and going crazy. Insanity scares me. I don't like the idea that I could just lose it and become someone/thing else! Really terrifying, actually!

Anyway, aside from my own personal insecurities, this film is about two PhD students, Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) and Bernadette Walsh (Kasi Lemmons) who are writing a thesis on Urban Legends. They come across the Candyman legend which is local to their area, being based in the gang controlled, ghetto-Projects closeby the university.

They, of course, dare one another to say "Candyman" five times in the mirror, but only Helen finishes all five repetitions. I have to say, that the fact that he didn't jump out and kill her just then really impressed me. The tension meter was right up for about the first 20 mins of this film while I awaited his big entrance!

The two women visit Cabrini-Green, the projects, where they learn of the history and the myth around the Candyman. And meet a few locals.

Poor Helen runs into a lot of unfortunate luck even before she is confronted by the hook-handed man. And, lucky her, he fancies her. So instead of gutting her right there, he instead decides to frame her for a bunch of murders (of mainly people she knows) and for kidnapping, and then kill her once she's become infamous like him (reasoning being that she too will join him as a local Urban Legend).

The slow descent into madness for Helen is traumatic to watch. I remember watching "Premonition" starring Sandra Bullock and finding her torturous unlinear week and 'madness' very disturbing. As I said, it's a thing with me.

Virginia Madsen plays the part well, and I hear she also had hypnosis during filming. Some method actors, huh?

So we're left with the question, is Helen truly haunted by her not-so-secret-admirer, Candyman? Or has she just flipped and is actually killing everyone then blacking out covered in evidence?

Very disturbing with a nicely hefty amount of gore (remembering Clive Barker was involved!) and a few good jumps. Also some 90s fashion; always scary! Oh and bugs. Lots of wasps. Yuck!

Scary on so many levels:
  • The childish boogeyman factor
  • The insanity factor
  • And, speaking as a female, the maternal factor - they stole a baby, man! For a MONTH! What was that kid eating?!
I'm disappointed in myself for having never watched this classic before, but now I have I can say, as a first time viewer, I am so impressed! Never knew what I was missing!

[Picture: TriStar Pictures]

Hani