Candyman (1992) stars Virginia Madsen, Xander Berkeley, and Tony Todd. It is a Fantasy, Horror, Thriller with a total run time of one hour and thirty-nine minutes. This film explores the origins around the urban legend of Candyman. If you say his name five times in the mirror, he comes for you. In this film we learn his history and what happens to a skeptical grad student who researches him.
WARNING THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Urban myths were all the rage in the 80s and 90s and this film explored the backstory of the murderous Candyman. Helen, a grad student sets out to learn about him for her thesis. She is skeptical through the beginnings of her research. Her persistence leads her to a low income neighborhood where a real murder occurred that was blamed on the mythical legend. After she is attacked by some local gangsters, she starts to be visited by the real Candyman who takes her along on a murdering rampage. The plot is fairly predictable but it does some interesting back story for an urban legend that doesn’t have much to it to start with.
The plot line tries to tie in a romantic theme near the end as to why Candyman has chosen Helen. This could have been done a bit better. It feels a little heavy handed near the end of the film. They would have better served if they had done a little more foreshadowing. However, given the time this film was made and the standard of horror movies of the time, this is really nitpicking. The film is a classic.
Ghost Story or Mental Break Down
The wonderful thing about this movie is that they leave it up to the audience to decide if this is a legit murderous ghost story or one woman’s mental breakdown. While the surface view of the film would be that he is real, there is sufficient argument that the events of the story could be a result of Helen’s nervous break down. She had been researching Candyman for a long time in great depth. She spent countless hours interviewing college students and believers. She is working extremely hard to do something original for her thesis and is constantly being undermined by her fellow male professors. She is under a lot of pressure and she also suspects that her husband is cheating on her. It’s only after she is attacked by those gang members that she starts seeing the Candyman. Her blackouts and gaps in her memory could be part of her mental break and her mind’s way of trying to shield her from the violence she’s just committed. She is given video evidence that clearly contradicts her memory of events and when confronted with it, her delusions increase. This theory is further supported when she discovers that her suspicions about her cheating husband were correct. Once it’s clear that she has lost everything from her previous life, her delusions develop to give her life new purpose. She fantasizes that she was chosen by Candyman because she was his original love. So is Candyman real? Or did Helen just suffer from a psychotic break?
This adds an extra dimension to the film and makes it more interesting than the straight and obvious. This interpretation of the film also opens the discussion on mental illness.
This film is a total horror movie classic. It has a few cheesy moments but it doesn’t go over the top. For any avid horror fan, it is a must watch. We give it 4 out of 5 Bats.
Do You Believe?
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