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31 Horror Movies I Own #6: Candyman

It might seem silly, but there was a time when I couldn’t watch this movie when I was alone, and you will NEVER EVER EVER catch me saying “Candyman” in the mirror five times (poor Ted Raimi). No. Way.

I’m not a superstitious person by nature, but the thought of a hulking Tony Todd showing up behind me with his meat-hook hand and a legion of bees pouring out of his mouth is enough to stop me from trying it.

But, I digress. Candyman was adapted by Director Bernard Rose from a short Clive Barker story, and Mr. Rose did an awesome job of stretching the legend into a full-length feature.

Wide-eyed Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen, in what I believe is the best role she’s every played, for serious) and her friend are doing their Masters Thesis on Urban Legends, which leads to hearing a few stories about “The Candyman”. Naturally, they drive out to the projects to check out the stories and take photos, with Helen deciding to go back BY HERSELF at a later date (hello worst idea in the history of all bad ideas).

Eventually, this leads to Helen passing out in a parking garage and waking up in a gigantor pool of blood, with the cops arriving just in time to find her holding a bloody meat cleaver over a distraught mother whose baby is now missing. Uh – let’s just say it doesn’t look too good. The following scene (photo above) where she has to disrobe and have photos taken of her while completely covered in blood is appropriately disconcerting.

And that’s really why I think this movie is better than you’d think it’d be—it’s playing on a frightening premise: The Candyman IS real, but no one believes it—I mean, why would they? Every time Tony Todd’s hypnotizing voice gets going, you know he’s going to succeed in setting Helen up to look like she’s the crazy murderer, and she can’t get away because he has a power of her she doesn’t understand.

On top of the tight script, there are too many awesome kills to count, with buckets of syrupy red blood and all manner of excellent foley bringing the sound of Candyman’s hook ripping through flesh to life.

Sure there’s a certain amount of cheese happening-the back story explaining how Candyman got where he is kind of blows-but it’s just enough that this one still stands out as scary to me, if only just a little.

I definitely recommend Candyman for repeat viewings, but like most other sequels, the fright doesn’t hold up through Candyman 2, which was so bad I didn’t even try to watch 3.

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