Welcome to the dark pits of hell known as the October Overlook Madness. Today is the turn to follow once again the Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness, and today James Rolfe chooses a film that I’ve seen to bits throughout the years but never with the concentration enough needed to be considered as seen. Today I tackle the Clive Barker adaptation ‘Candyman’ (1992), one that I’m curious how it will hold up after more than 20 years since its release, two sequels and the always birthing intents to remake or reboot it. You can see Cinemassacre’s video here, and you can read my gut reaction to this horrific and gory film down below.
I honestly can’t put my finger down regarding the nature of this film nor what it wants to achieve, or what it wants to tell its viewer. I haven’t read the Clive Barker story, so I’m as much in the dark as most of you that have seen it. It’s the story about Helen Lyle, a history researcher that gets a kick out of the urban legend of the “Candyman”, that supposedly appears to slash and cut you up if you say his name five times in front of a mirror. She obviously does it because, where’s the fun in a movie where people mustn’t do stuff and they end up obeying those orders? The nature of this ghost/creature/manifestation is never clear, as through most of the film it plays as if the creature was a slasher monster, a man that was killed by white men from a racist past because of his intentions of being with a white girl, and so he comes wanting revenge through the bees from his chest and the hook in his bloody stump. But it also plays as if the creature weren’t more than a hallucination from Helen, who ends up being accused, incarcerated and even called mad by a doctor because of all the killings she witnessed and that were, supposedly, done by the Candyman. This is where most of my doubts lie regarding this film, as nothing seems clear, and even towards the ending it’s never truly probable half of the things that happen, and even if we start thinking in a dream-like state, I still don’t believe of most of what I see. What I’m trying to say it’s that this isn’t your typical slasher film, mainly because it’s not a slasher film, it’s a thriller about the doubts of the mind, the culture and subcultures of Chicago (housing problems in the background included), and what we believe in and how much strength we give it to those things to control and take over us. It is a bloody film, with gutting and slashing and it’s fun for what it manages, but it’s much more interesting in the ways that it bends, it always tries hard to catch you off-guard, make you doubt until the end, and while the nature of the horror and the horrific events never truly becomes clear, what we have here is what is possibly one of the best thriller-horror films from the 90’s that doesn’t have the word “lamb” in it.