31 Favorites #4: Candyman

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Candyman is an old, enduring favorite of mine. I remember seeing this film in the theater with my mom, and watching as teenagers fled the theater, screaming in terror. And though the film may not generate the same level of terror in contemporary audiences, this is truly one of the scariest films ever made.

Helen Lyle (portrayed by Virginia Madsen), is a graduate student living in Chicago. Her particular interest lies in urban mythology, and one myth in particular – Candyman. Word has it that saying his name five times in a mirror opens a portal through which Candyman will emerge with his hook for a hand. And what does he do with this hook? You don’t want to know.

Candyman is a horribly underrated film in my opinion. Not only is is truly, deeply scary, it also manages to make a few interesting points about race, segregation, and the ways in which architecture and urban planning can be used to create divisions between a city's various inhabitants. It’s a fascinating, and brilliant film.

Three Things I Love About It:

  1. The bold frankness of this film in how it approaches some pretty controversial issues. What was the last horror film you saw that had race dynamics as a pivotal plot point? 
  2. Philip Glass’ score gives Candyman incredible depth, and is the perfect accompaniment for the many layers of the film (and the many layers of Candyman's domain). 
  3. The acting by the leads is really outstanding. Plus, Tony Todd’s smooth, baritone voice will take you under its spell just as it does Helen.
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