Candyman (1992)

1h 39m / R / Horror

Candyman turns on a well-worn urban legend: look in a darkened mirror, say a name three to five times, and whatever horror you’ve called up from the nether-whatever will appear. In this case, the monster is the Candyman, a murderer with a hook for a hand that kills whoever summons him (how, then, the details of the accursed ritual are spread is unclear). But Candyman the movie takes the story of Candyman the killer and zigs where a lesser movie would zag — for one, rather than making him a generic bogeyman, Candyman (played with blood-curdling effectiveness and toe-curling charm by Tony Todd) is given a rich backstory as a slave who is lynched for the crime of falling in love, tortured, burned, and scattered over the ground of the notorious Cabrini-Green housing project. Which is the second unexpected piece: Candyman tells a story not just of historical racial injustice but fresh and contemporary violence, the de facto segregation still going on in American cities, specifically located in a place still raw from mistreatment. And three, the hallucinatory visual style of the story of investigator Helen (Virginia Madsen) as she explores the legend means that Candyman ages a lot better than other early ‘90s horror, and still feels relevant (even oddly romantic) today.

A Nightmare on Franklin Street 2019 is presented by Voodoo Ranger and J.J. Taylor Distributing Florida, Inc. Promotional consideration is provided by Spooky Empire and WEDU PBS.