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Directed by Bernard Rose
Released in 1992
Starring Virginia Madsen as Helen Lyle, Tony Todd as Candyman, Xander Berkeley as Trevor Lyle, Kasi Lemmons as Bernadette, Vanessa Williams as Anne-Marie McCoy, Gilbert Lewis as Det. Frank Valento, DeJuan Guy as Jake, Carolyn Lowery as Stacey and Michael Culkin as Professor Purcell

Though I don't speak of it much, mainly because I haven't watched it in years -- Candyman is absolutely one of my favorite movies of all time. It is a gothic horror film based off a short story by Clive Barker and the villain is a black man. It feels like something classic. It reminds me of Dracula. I didn't give it the best possible watch for this review -- I paused it a lot, I didn't always look at the screen -- but I've seen this movie so many times in the past that I know what's going on. I didn't think I'd be reviewing it, but I feel like I should attempt to.

What is it about Candyman that's so good? One -- it has a very haunting, very well done score by Philip Glass. It is also a horror film... I don't believe we ever really see the likes of much anymore. I cannot imagine this movie being made today. If they did try to make it, it would be downright stupid. It would focus largely on the paranormal aspects, the fact that Candyman is ghostly and all that... it wouldn't really have this "mature" thing about it that I see in the film.

This movie takes about an hour for it to really get started -- but it's an hour that is absolutely not wasted. Typically, that would sound boring as Hell, and awful to me. But not in this case. The movie is fascinating, even when the horror aspect hasn't really started. It's honestly not at all a horror movie until the first hour has passed. It's almost like a drama. A crime drama, maybe, and yet that description isn't even right.

Candyman is about .... an urban legend in a very poor black ghetto of Chicago called Cabrini-Green. There's this apartment complex/housing project -- and it's actually a real one, apparently -- called Cabrini-Green, and that's where Candyman "lives." He kills people here. Actually, he'll kill people almost anywhere. But you have to CALL HIM first. Like Beetlejuice. You have to look in a mirror and say his name - "Candyman" - five times. Then he comes to you. A tall, looming, black man in a big coat, which, when he opens it, bees fly out -- lots of bees. I don't know who would want to call Candyman except maybe suicidal people, 'cause when he comes, he kills you -- but -- he's an urban legend. Like the Bloody Mary urban legend, where you call for Bloody Mary in a mirror, and she comes. Are urban legends even real? Who would think that if you say a word in a mirror five times, a person is gonna come and kill you? Nobody's gonna really believe that. So they call Candyman -- on a dare -- and in this movie, that appears to be a very, very big mistake.

The film is about a woman named Helen Lyle, played by Virginia Madsen. She's a graduate student and she and her friend, Bernadette, are writing a thesis on the whole Candyman legend. They want a REALLY GOOD thesis -- so good that these two brave women decide to visit the gang-ridden Cabrini-Green to go get pictures and interview residents. Something happens (I won't spoil much of this movie), and suddenly, Candyman's whole legend is in jeopardy. Did you see Freddy vs. Jason where Freddy Krueger was pissed because people were forgetting about him, and he couldn't have that? Same thing happens here. Something happens in this movie that jeopardizes Candyman's reputation. The idea that he's real. Helen Lyle is responsible, in a way, for this.

So what does Candyman do? When this movie finally gets going, and after Helen has called for him in her bathroom mirror.... he comes for her. And he comes for her big time. Like Dracula in the night, going after his woman. And he doesn't just kill Helen Lyle. He totally eviscerates every aspect of her life. She becomes a sacrifice... so that the legend of Candyman will live on. To the point that when people think of Helen Lyle, they'll think of Candyman. They'll think that Candyman... is still real. And not only that... but she herself will become her own urban legend, as well. Joining forces with the Candyman. And since she's a white woman played by Virginia Madsen, it's like an interracial Spike Lee love story on crack.

Kasi Lemmons plays her friend, and since she also played Clarice Starling's friend in The Silence of the Lambs, you might notice or feel some similarities between that movie and this one. But they are both two totally different films.

I don't really have much else to say about the movie. It is probably best that I don't spoil much in case you haven't seen it. I very much recommend seeing it. It is one of my favorite horror movies of all time. It is a very well made horror movie. The absolute best one, I'd say, based on the work of Clive Barker.