Candyman: A Thrilling Horror Movie Ahead of Its Time

5 out of 5 Stars 

In honor of Jordan Peele’s Candyman remake coming out in June of this year, I decided to watch the original Candyman (1992). Based on the short story, “The Forbidden” by Clive Barker, Candyman is a supernatural thriller that follows Chicago graduate student Helen Lyle who is writing her thesis on urban legends, particularly the legend of Candyman. Candyman was an African-American son of a slave and a successful artist. He would paint portraits of high class individuals and families. He soon fell in love with a white woman, with whom he had a child. 

When her father learns of this, he sends a mob to track the artist down. His right hand was cut off and the mob covered him in honey, attracting the bees and stinging him to death. The urban legend goes that if you say Candyman five times into the mirror, he will appear to you and slash you with the hook he has put on his right hand. In the movie, there have been several reports of unsolved cases where the victims were killed with a hook and the killer is still on the loose. This movie is also inspired by actual crimes. 

Helen, accompanied by her friend Bernadette, goes to the scene of a Candyman murder, Cabrini-Green housing, to piece together the urban legend and the killings. From that point on, a chain reaction occurs. The Candyman starts stalking Helen and the line between reality and dreams start to blend together. Not only is this an exciting classic horror movie, but it has great racial and social commentary. 

This theme is supported by the story of the original Candyman, the victims of the murders, the city’s reaction to them, and the actual dialogue in the movie. Something happens to Helen at Cabrini-Green which is summarized as if the victim was an African-American individual; there would be no investigation or follow up. 

When the movie originally came out, there was backlash, many saying the movie was racist. Cabrini-Green was a housing development in Chicago that was considered part of the ghetto. Helen, who is white, is seen as uncomfortable when her and Bernadette visit the neighborhood. White viewers saw Candyman as a black man preying on white victims, even though some of the victims are African-American. For the time, this movie was extremely controversial. 

This movie was well-made and extremely memorable with many twists and turns that viewers could not guess. I give this movie a resounding 5 out of 5 stars. I haven’t seen a great horror movie in a while and this one is definitely going onto my list of top horror movies. I found this film extremely entertaining and enjoyed the commentary on racism. I recommend that everyone see this movie.

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