Candyman (1992)

candyman poster 1992 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Creepy Candyman creation

Reverts to gore sometimes unnecessarily

Movie Info

Movie Name: Candyman

Studio: TriStar Pictures

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s): October 16, 1992

MPAA Rating: R

candyman virginia madsen cabrini green

Yep..seems like a great idea.

Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman…Candyman.  Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) is out to uncover the truth about urban legends and finds her research drawn to the Candyman and a story coming out of the tenement housing of Cabrini-Green in Chicago.  When Candyman (Tony Todd) takes an interest in Helen, Helen finds her life turned upside down.  Accused of the kidnapping of a child and murder, Helen is on the run, and if she can escape the authorities, Helen cannot escape Candyman.

Directed by Bernard Rose, Candyman is a 1990s horror film.  The film is based on the 1985 Clive Barker short story “The Forbidden” originally published in Books of Blood—Volume 5 (published in the United States as In the Flesh).  The film was released to relatively positive reviews and has gained a cult following over the years.

candyman bees tony todd

I’d love to talk, but my mouth is kind of full

Candyman was kind of an oddity when it was released.  Clive Barker’s material was coming into popularity (probably due to running out of Stephen King material) but slasher movies were kind of dying.  Candyman almost feels like a throwback to ’80s slasher films, but there is a nice style and grace to the film that raises it above something like one of the multitude of Friday the 13th clones.

What Candyman does is that it has a very real world feel.  Cabrini-Green is (or was) a real housing projects.  Its danger was legendary, and stories of gang violence were urban legends themselves.  The location was known (Good Times was set there), and even the murder of Ruthie Mae McCoy in a similar projects called the ABLA in Chicago in 1987 served as one of the basis for the story.  Bringing the tale to America, the filmmakers still managed to capture the ideas of urban legends and horror.  This give Candyman more of a real feel despite the supernatural elements of the story…Helen and her friend Bernie (played by Kasi Lemmons) walking in to Cabrini-Green is just as scary if not scarier than the Candyman.

candyman ending tony todd virginia madsen fire

My approach to picking up women needs some work.

The cast is also good.  Virginia Madsen brings a vulnerability to Helen and shows true panic of someone trapped in a no-win situation.  Tony Todd wasn’t the first choice (Eddie Murphy was wanted but couldn’t be afforded), but he is effective and his booming, commanding voice probably worked much better than Murphy who would have been a distraction.  Xander Berkeley is a good slimy guy, and Ted Raimi has a small role in the film as well.  Vanessa Williams had one of her earlier roles as Anne-Marie McCoy.

The movie also looks good.  It has a solid, eerie soundtrack and some great camera visuals.  There are points of noire in the shooting of the film and the top-view helicopter shots (which are easily done with drones today) are really high quality.  It does go over-the-top with gore and blood at points which almost works against the story at times, but overall it comes out solid.

Candyman is a rather entertaining film.  This says a lot because it has one of my least favorite plot devices (aka a person so obviously framed that can’t prove herself innocent).  I do think Candyman is one of the better horror films of the 1990s and shows a period before horror became self-reflexive.  Candyman was followed by Candyman:  Farewell to the Flesh in 1995 and another direct sequel Candyman in 2021.

Related Links:

Candyman:  Farewell to the Flesh (1995)

Candyman 3:  Day of the Dead (1999)

Candyman (2021)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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