Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Month of Horror - Day 13: Candyman

"They found it floating in the toilet. Can't fix that. Better off dead."

Well, this wasn't the Sammy Davis Jr. documentary I was hoping for. Turns out, it's a horror movie. But it's wasn't the Monster Gives Children Candy to Point them Towards a Future of Insulin Production Problems movie I was hoping for either. Someone's got to make that movie, it's a guaranteed smash hit. This one's pretty good too but Type 2 Diabetes Man tastes like box office gold.

Throughout the years, Virginia Madsen's career has seen its share of peaks and valleys. For every Sideways she's made, there's two or three B-movies waiting in the shadows. Candyman lies somewhere in the middle. As entertaining as it is, it's surprising that the film wasn't a bigger hit. In fact, director Bernard Rose's filmography only has one recognizable title: Candyman. The source material came from Clive Barker (Hellraiser) and the project is put together competently enough. I don't see why Candyman isn't brought up in the same breaths as Michael, Jason, and Freddy. Maybe if he went by his Christian name more people would recognize him as a ruthless killer.

Two graduate students, researching urban legends, decide to investigate the origins of the Candyman myth. They follow a janitor's lead about a murder in a housing project. The ladies suit up and head over to the other side of the tracks. Funny thing is, they seem more afraid of poor black people than than soul-seeking demons with hooks for hands. It's understandable, poor black people are scary. Uh...maybe that's why Rose's career took a turn towards the "independent." If America wasn't ready for a black superhero, maybe they weren't ready for a black murderer. Wait, that doesn't sound like America...

Virginia Madsen's character, Helen, must have been the inspiration for Agent Scully from "X-Files." In Candyman, the truth is out there too, only "out there" is in a shit-covered bathroom. Everything goes wrong for the young scholar when she sticks her nose where it doesn't belong. Candyman starts framing her for murders, kidnappings, dog beheadings, and tax fraud. Next thing she knows, she's voted Least Popular at her high school reunion. Then her favorite Pearl Jam cassette tape gets caught in the player and all the tape comes out all over the place and stuff. Helen's life is hard and this guy refuses to pull his punches.

Elementary school was filled with ghost stories and mirror dares. Say Bloody Mary (three times), Candyman (five times), or Col. Nathan R. Jessup (just once) into a mirror and see what happens. Most of the time, nothing would happen, other times, nothing would happen. But that didn't mean that we wouldn't pretend that an old woman with spiders for eyes appeared right behind us trying to trade us Atomic Fireballs for our eternal souls. Sometimes we'd take the deal, if there were enough Atomic Fireballs on the table. And that's how we all got Type 2 Diabetes. SHE STRIKES AGAIN!


Anonymous said...

Tony Todd's finest work. Finer than "Final Destination" 1 and 2? Finer than "Scarecrow Slayer"? You betcha!

J.D. said...

This is a great, underrated film and I too am surprised that it wasn't a bigger hit. I just watched it again recently and it has aged very well. And plus, it's got Virginia Madsen which is never a bad thing.

elgringo said...

24 - I haven't seen Scarecrow Slayer yet (I know...I know...) but even though I love the FD movies, I have to say Candyman is definitely TT's best work.

J.D. - I can't belive it's not a bigger film either! What happened here?

J.D. said...

Mebbe the studio didn't promote it hard enough. I remember it coming out and seeing it in theaters but I don't remember seeing many ads on TV for it so maybe audiences just weren't aware that it was out there?