“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”


“You got a first name?”



candymanI’m still fond of my CANDYMAN review from almost exactly 10 years ago, but I’ve been wanting to go more in depth about its subtext, which I think is even more striking today. I know the character of Candyman is really well known, but honestly I don’t think the movie gets enough credit for how much it has to say. All these years later I think it might be the best horror movie of the ’90s.

So I decided to do a new piece on it for One Perfect Shot. I think it’s pretty good. Check it out and tell your friends. Click on this link five times in front of a mirror:


VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 26th, 2015 at 9:19 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

58 Responses to “Candyman”

  1. Vern, I’ve just realised I’ve been reading your work for more than 10 years. Your Candyman review was one of the first I ever read, and it’s a really insightful piece. I don’t normally comment on your work but keep it up, it’s appreciated!

  2. Love both reviews but I think that you’ve missed one of the stories strongest elements and that’s transformation. It’s a theme that repeats itself in Barker’s writing and is carried over perfectly with what becomes of Helen. Think Boone in Nightbreed, punk mechanic to undead massiah. Kirsty in Hellraiser 1 & 2, not many final girls end up wearing someone else’s skin while making out with a cenobite. Since the movie forgoes dreams as an easy way to traumatize Helen, then she is actually affected by the events she experiences. So by the end She is now the Outsider. The rumor that is whispered in the dark. Helen goes from white privilege to an urban legend. And who are we to question in which place she’s happiest? (fuck Trevor) Also, where was the mention of Barker’s belief that we all want to fuck monsters? There’s and undercurrent of taboo sexual attraction between Helen and Candyman. A double because of the race subtext and him being literally a monster. Why would she be so spell bound by him to the point she kisses a creature who is made up of bees? That’s not saliva on her lips. Yep, one of the best films of the 90s. And go watch Blade 2 again.

  3. Actually, Vern, all lives DO matter. Even when people throw said lives away doing things like dealing crack or, y’know, attempting to arm themselves by attacking a cop and taking his gun. Yes, those people’s lives matter too.

    Human lives matter. Gee, what a crazy idea.

  4. JD — you can’t seriously think that Vern or anyone else is suggesting one group of lives matters more than the others. I mean, I KNOW you understand that’s not what it means. Frankly, I think you’re being disingenuous suggesting otherwise. Maybe you don’t think the Black Lives Matter movement is correct in its assessment of the situation; that’s fine, we can argue about that. But pretending that people saying “black lives matter” are somehow disparaging others’ lives? No, sorry, I don’t believe you really think that. And if you somehow did before, I hope that now that you’ve taken a moment to reflect on it you realize how profoundly misguided that was.

    There are plenty of legitimate arguments you can have here, but pretending that focusing on black lives right now is the same as ignoring the worth of others’ lives is just a cheap and dishonest way of avoiding having those arguments.

  5. The thing I don’t understand about closet racists like JD, as opposed to out-and-proud ones, is that there is a certain point where JD will not follow through on his own argument.

    If I understand correctly, he’s saying that there is no racial prejudice in law enforcement. None whatsoever. It’s the individual’s fault every single time. Fair enough. This is a viable starting point for a worldview. So if the laws are enforced fairly across the board, and still more black people get stopped, arrested, tried, convicted, jailed, executed, and/or just straight up shot down in the street than any other group in this country, then what is the cause of this? The logical endpoint of this way of thinking is that, if you do not believe that the system is at fault, then it must be something inherent in black people that makes them both prone to commit crimes and to get themselves killed doing it. The logical conclusion, removing all “nurture” from the equation, is nature: a biological inferiority that comes linked to the color of one’s skin. Which is, you know, basically the dictionary definition of racism.

    But JD won’t say that. He’s not a racist, he says, even to himself. He’ll just argue that all mitigating exterior forces that might explain this statistical discrepancy don’t exist, leaving no other possible explanation.

    Ergo, black men are just prone to being born naturally violent enough to commit crimes and dumb enough to get caught doing them. It’s certainly not anything the rest of us are doing wrong, so what else could it be?

    So say that, JD. Say “Black men are just more likely to be violent thugs who deserve what they get.”

    Say it. You must believe it, because your views do not allow for any other possibility.

    Just say it. Let it out. You’ll feel better afterward.

  6. The Original Paul

    October 26th, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Holy hell, what happened there? Everybody cool off for a second, ok!

    Great article Vern. It’s very rare that a horror movie even attempts to take on themes like racial and social injustice and deprivation, let alone does it as convincingly as CANDYMAN did it.

  7. I wouldn’t agree that it’s the best horror movie of the ’90s but it’s up there and is definitely one of the best of all time.

  8. JD – If you REALLY don’t understand the point I was making there, I will explain it to you. The phrase “black lives matter” became a rallying cry in response to several incidents, all of which I know you are aware of because we’ve argued about them with you, where police (and in one case a vigilante) killed young unarmed black men and were not convicted (or in some cases charged) with any crime. In some cases the bodies were left in the streets for hours, in others the police didn’t even plan to investigate until there was a public outcry. To many people around the world, but not you, these were upsetting cases that gave the impression that to the American system of justice the lives of black people are not important. The phrase means that yes, black lives do matter, we as a society must value and protect them as we do with white people and take these incidents seriously.

    So when a conservative relative on Facebook or an aggressively pro-police-gunning-down-young-unarmed-black-people commenter on your movie review sight responds by saying that “all lives matter” it shows that the person is so outside of human empathy that they have not bothered in the ensuing months to understand its meaning, or are willfully feigning ignorance just because they are supposed to automatically be on the anti-black, pro-police-murdering team in all cases without question. Either way it is pretty fuckin foul, no way around it.

    Majestyk said it better than me.

    Mr. Majestyk – Bravo.

  9. The Original Paul

    October 26th, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    So all of this came from this one quote:

    (“But all lives matter!” interject your most frustrating Facebook friends, missing the point.)

    Well as an outsider and a foreigner, this doesn’t seem to me to be a particularly incendiary thing; but from comments such as Vern’s and Majestyk’s, I understand that the phrase “all lives matter” is meant as an ignorant and ill-meaning counterpoint to the phrase “black lives matter”. Got it.

    And as for this:

    To many people around the world, but not you, these were upsetting cases that gave the impression that to the American system of justice the lives of black people are not important.

    As one of those people around the world, I’d agree with this, but with a major caveat: as horrific as the cases Vern refers to were, I’m very reluctant to concede that this is a problem with the entire “American system of justice”. My opinion, based on the comparatively small amount of news that I’ve seen on the subject – I make no pretence that it’s particularly well-informed – is that you guys have a system over there that implicitly encourages divisions and an “us versus them” mentality, and that the racial problems that you’ve had are a symptom of this. It’s my (again vastly over-simplified) view that if the police were enouraged to go out into the community and rehabilitate, rather than hiding behind rifles and riot shields, you’d have a lot less problems. You wouldn’t get rid of racism that way, but at least you’d promote understanding and dialogue instead of division and confrontation. And that’s the beginning of getting rid of prejudice.

    And I don’t want to tar the many because of the actions of a few – no matter how newsworthy those actions are. I’ve said it before: our media is just as sensationalist as yours is. If a hundred people, most of whom are Christians, start a home for abused kids, it barely registers; but if one priest is shown to be a kiddy-fiddler, you can bet there’ll be a huge public outcry over it. In the same vein, we don’t hear about the actions of the thousands of police officers over there who just do their jobs competently and without prejudice. They’re not news. All we hear about is the ones that do horrible things. This is rarely a good basis on which to form an opinion of an entire country’s criminal justice system, or on anything else for that matter.

    And to make this clear, I 100% agree with Vern and Majestyk: it is horrific that these abuses happened, and it is inexcusible that the victims and their families were denied legal justice afterwards. If “Black Lives Matter” is a thing, then it’s a thing I’m in favour of.

    Most importantly, let me reiterate here, since we seem to have got seriously sidetracked: great article, Vern. For what my opinion’s worth, you did both yourself and CANDYMAN’s legacy proud.

  10. Thanks, Vern. and Paul’s right, it’s a shame we’re not focusing on your excellent work on the article, too. I’ve seen the movie a dozen times but there’s some stuff in there I never picked up on. Like I never stopped to think about what KIND of urban legend Candyman was trying to create. Why, the mirror of his own, of course. Instead of at black man who was lynched by white people for wanting to have a black baby with a white woman–which is always the root of the fear of desegregation–it’s a white woman lynched by black people for murdering a black baby. Different fears for different cultures and different times, but the same fear driving them: They’re not like us and they’re coming for our kids.

    Great work as always.

  11. Sweet, does this mean JD can fuck off and we can get back to enjoying Vern’s writing and some positive discussions, preferably about how not to be ignorant digressive twats?

  12. Great article, Vern. I’ve always liked your original CANDYMAN review and I’m glad you got a chance to dig a bit deeper into it. I’ve started a second attempt at the HELLRAISER challenge (almost finished!) and your comment about dream sequences in horror films gave me flashbacks of parts 5 through 7.

  13. Anyway, I think this argument proves the point I was making in my piece, that our society is so divided that even something as simple as pointing out blatant inequities in the system will cause an angry argument.

  14. I agree with jd, especially with how black lives matter ignores things like gang shootings and the black cop who was shot recently.

  15. ^Man, you don’t get it, do you?

    It doesn’t ignore anything, it highlights something ELSE that gets ignored, defended, and hand-waved away on a consistent and wide-spread level.

    In fact, I’d say that it is YOU who are ignoring “things like”.

    I’m sure that it really SEEMS like people who bring it up are ignoring all the things that you hang your philosophical hat on when the only station you ever tune into repeats the same tired, hateful songs and somebody comes in whistling a tune you don’t know the lyrics to…but dig this: It ain’t their hang-up, it’s yours.

    Learn some new fucking songs or drag your dinosaur ass out to the tar pits take a swim. The world doesn’t need your kind anymore.

  16. “that our society is so divided that even something as simple as pointing out blatant inequities in the system will cause an angry argument.”

    Society is divided to a ridiculous and dangerous degree these days, I honestly think that the future is probably going to resemble the one in the novel Snow Crash, where everyone lives in their own separate cities and towns with their own separate laws and almost no one intermingles.

    Anyway CANDYMAN is excellent, but isn’t the best horror film of the 90’s pretty obviously SILENCE OF THE LAMBS? Unless you don’t consider it a horror movie, but beyond that JACOB’S LADDER is also great.

    The 90’s is actually a weird decade for horror because it started off strong with the aforementioned JACOB’S LADDER, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, CANDYMAN and the underrated NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD remake, but for the remainder of the decade it was pretty bad (though I know the SCREAM series has it’s defenders), when I think 90’s horror I think of stuff like TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT, which while entertaining is hardly scary, horror in the 90’s kinda suffered from the same problem that superhero movies did in that no one could really take it seriously.

  17. It makes me sad that this movie is more than 20 years old and the clueless white lady character in it is way ahead of some modern individuals in understanding what’s going on in the world. So much so that when I quote her line and point out its relevance today it causes a fight. I hope I’m right in that optimistic last paragraph, but this kind of stuff makes me feel like there is no chance of getting past this shit ever. If somebody would rather die than admit the sky is blue it’s hard to hold a conversation about the weather.

  18. “but this kind of stuff makes me feel like there is no chance of getting past this shit ever.”

    I fear this may be the case as well, see the problem is it’s part of human nature to be mistrustful of those who are different than you, to always see them as being inherently less human than you are to some degree because they aren’t part of your “tribe”.

    now, you can rationally move past that and understand it’s falsehood, but not everyone will be rational enough to do so and so long as human beings remain as they are now that just might always be a problem.

  19. The Original Paul

    October 27th, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Sadly it seems as though modern society has created ever more sophisticated ways to filter out opinions that don’t agree with your own.

    It’s funny (in a sad way)… everyone thought the Internet and information technology would bring us all closer together. But no amount of connected technology can change human nature. Griff’s right… people have to be willing to listen to others and not attach their egos to a “cause”. And that’s not an easy thing to do.

  20. I only recently watched Candyman, and Vern really gets to the heart as to why it’s a unique, effective, and (unfortunately) still relevant horror film. When shit started going down in the second half, I actually said, “This has to be a dream.” I didn’t connect my reaction to how dream fake outs are so often used in horror films, but it appears that I had been trained to watch horror films in this way.

    It’s weird to think the film was directed by Bill Condon, although Gods and Monsters as well as The Twilight Saga (!) are horror adjacent. I was talking to a friend the other day, and I mentioned offhandedly that a director’s first film should be a horror movie, because a horror film requires strong visual storytelling. Putting together a good horror film is proof that you are actually a good director.

  21. But what if your cause IS listening to others? I feel this way about this topic because I’ve been listening to the black community speak about it for most of my life. I don’t know, I tend to take their fucking word for it. I mean, they’re the ones going through it after all, not me. My “opinion” on their actual real-life lived-in firsthand reality is pretty meaningless. I bring this up to some people and I guess they just assume black folks are just making it all up. Like, for attention or something. It’s so condescending it makes me want to stab myself. “Ho ho, silly black people. So excitable. Let me explain to you what you’ve actually been experiencing your whole lives as well as the lives of all of your ancestors for generations and generations…”

    I hear far more dissenting opinions now than I ever did. Pre-Internet, I naively thought that the whole world was leaning the way I was, that racism and religious ignorance and all that other superstitious bullshit left over from a stupider world. I really thought I’d see the end of that in my lifetime because I couldn’t imagine anyone in my generation growing up holding onto that same old nonsense. But now that I can actually see what all these other people think, I know how wrong I was. This shit ain’t going anywhere.

  22. RBatty: Bernard Rose directed it. Bill Condon did the second one.

  23. I´m glad the phrase “all lives matters” were properly explained within the context. Because, like Paul, I am not american and never understood what it was in JDs post that was so incendiary. Now I do.

  24. Crushinator Jones

    October 27th, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Vern, somewhere around 25% – 33% of the population are flat-out authoritarian tribalists who will do whatever they’re told and make an unlimited number of excuses for state power. They’re in every nation on Earth. They are always there, lurking around, and may be acceptable people in a lot of ways but they will cheer for cops blasting the mentally ill, they will cheer for bombing the “terrorists” on the say so of some NSA nerd (I guaran-fucking-tee you JD supports drone executions on principle – if he objects it’s because Evil Muslim Usurper Obama does it), and in bad cases they will cheer the internment camps and the mass graves.

    We’re in a period of America where these people have a huge political party (the Republican party) that caters mostly to them, they have right-wing infrastructure created since the Fairness Doctrine was abolished (you guys all forget that there was no such thing as right-wing talk radio in the 70s due to a law that said your political opponent had to get equal time) and they are continually stoked to a frenzy because they are not the majority of the population but being told they are and having highly visible media and cultural institutions saying “yes, this is ok to behave this way, you are right and correct to believe this crazy things.”

    There are countries in the world with the same number of nativist bootlickers and the way they deal with them is by treating them like a fringe group at arm’s distance. Their ideas are ridiculous. You don’t pretend that saying “cops should be able to beat and murder unarmed guys on the flimsiest pretexts, or blow away the mentally ill and keep their jobs” is some kind of difference of opinion that needs to be heard or considered. You treat it like what it is: dangerous extremist nonsense in the same vein as saying children should be free to work in factories, or that businesses should be able to pollute as much as they want. Stop pretending these are normal, nice people with differences of opinion. They are literally monster-enablers who will cheer on the worst abuses of state power (if not perpetrate them themselves).

    I’m not telling you how to run your websight Vern but it’s clear that you spend emotional time and distress dealing with JD and his shitty opinions and I’m seriously wondering what you get out of this. As a casual commenter, I don’t get anything. He’s just a blot on an otherwise great sight and with great regular commentators.

  25. Crushinator Jones

    October 27th, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Oh and also Vern, on a positive note: Candyman has a great defender in you. I loved the linked article.

  26. I really don’t understand this idea that you shouldn’t be concerned about this thing, because there’s this other thing to be concerned about. No one should care about transgender people getting recognition because there are wounded veterans that should get recognition. No one should care about a dentist killing a lion illegally because there are people killing people. You know, concern and outrage aren’t finite. It’s not going to get all used up on that thing you think no one should care about.

  27. Majestyk — All this time I thought Condon had helmed the first movie. Maybe I was confused because the second film doesn’t have a number after it, only a subtitle. Thanks for the correction.

    One reason I think that white people tend to dismiss concerns from the black community is that whiteness is largely viewed in this country as the objective, default position in this world. If you are black, then you are seen as completely subjective. But because whiteness is associated with normality, then you can be both white and objective (which is denied blacks).

    I remember having a conversation with a racist once, and he was ranting about how blacks and other minorities have an “agenda,” but white people don’t have an agenda. (In his mind, his whiteness could never influence the way he sees the world). He also went on to give me his theory that black slaves were bred to be stupid, because this was beneficial for the slave owners. This is an inherently idiotic idea. Did slave owners administer IQ tests? I just had to bring up to him that many, many white slave owners had children with their slaves in order to debunk this moronic theory. And the guy actually had no clue that this was the case. He was dumbfounded.

  28. Aktion, please read what Richard Sherman has said on this subject, he sums it up perfectly.

  29. Tony, are you talking about that statement he made?


    If so, he says that there are bad cops and that something needs to be done about it. That is the opposite of JD’s belief.

    Or are you talking about the guy that wrote the songs in MARY POPPINS

  30. Crushinator Jones

    October 27th, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    MaggieMayPie, what you’re talking about is just simple redirection from the topic. The person usually doesn’t give a shit about it, they just want to shut you up. For example, back in 2009 I distinctly remember talking with someone about marriage equality and the person countered with “Well why don’t you condemn and focus your efforts on Iran or Russia, homosexuality is a crime there!” And it’s like, uh, because I’m not a Russian or Iranian. I’m an American, I can actually do something about this here. Consider them condemned, though.

    Other variants on this: if you’re not willing to completely change the trajectory of your entire life to protest against a topic you “don’t care”, “vote with your wallet” (i.e. shut up), Concern Trolling, etc. It’s just disingenuous “shut up or talk about this other thing” tactics.

  31. Even the DIRTY HARRY movie written by John Milius acknowledges that there are cops that do bad things and cover up for each other. I don’t want to shut JD out but I’m also not gonna censor myself when his issue comes up and pretend to live in a ridiculous fantasy world that doesn’t even exist in pro-cop movies. So I guess we’re at an impasse.

  32. Yeah, that is what I was referring to, I think everything Sherman has to say in that entire piece is true and I agree with it, 100%.

    And the only post ive seen from JD is where he mentioned all lives matter, which I agree with: black lives, asian lives, white lives, etc. they all matter.

  33. Crushinator Jones

    October 27th, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    You agree with a guy that says “As a rich black guy, I think that black people deserve to be beaten up and executed by police until they personally deal with crime in their communities.”

    Like, do you realize how stupid and contradictory that is?

    Of course you’ve also pulled the “All Lives Matter” card, so probably not. We’re about three posts from you dropping that Bill Cosby rant that every racist keeps in their back pocket.

  34. I don’t believe that is an exact quote from Mr. Sherman, but okay…

    And what about Bill Cosby? The allegations? To be fair, despite the allegations Cosby hasn’t been convicted or charged with anything, unlike someone such as Roman Polanski. And I’m suprised how the media harps on Cosby, but gives Polanki and Woody Allen a pass, very strange double standard.

  35. grimgrinningchris

    October 27th, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    What in the FUCK does Woody Allen have to do with Bill Cosby? The Polanski connection I can see, but the Allen one is just way way way way off base.

    And to the original points:

    Cancer patients matter.
    “Fuck you! What about, burn victims? Do they not matter?”
    Well, of course they do, but right now we are talking about cancer patients. Let’s try to focus, kids.

    And to the original original point:

    CANDYMAN is the shit. I have done shots with Tony Todd (god bless my local con AND being friends with its organizers) and, oh yeah… “I heard ya looking fa Candyman, bitch!” was probably my most overused movie quote in 92.

  36. Holy shit, Tony…Your highest moral authority on the subject is a pro footballer who had to issue a cover-your-ass statement that pleases the owners and keeps him viable for future marketing and promotional deals when his knees turn to dust…?

    Well played.

  37. God, I really hate that argument. “Because some exceptional people manage to overcome the many, many, many, many, fucking many obstacles needlessly placed in their way by a fucked up system, there’s no reason for anyone to try remove any of those obstacles to make the system more fair and equitable for everyone.” It’s like if you had a machine that malfunctioned nine hundred and ninety-nine out of a thousand times, yet you refused to get it fixed because that one other time somehow proves that it’s working perfectly.

    Despite what I said earlier about how this tired old horseshit called The Way Things The Fuck Are ain’t going anywhere, I try to tell myself that if it all seems to be getting worse, that’s only because a beast is never more vicious than when it’s dying. I try to take comfort in the fact that all the assholes are a dying breed, and they know it, and that’s why they’re becoming even more extreme and ridiculous in their efforts to hold on to the last traces of the awful world they think is their birthright. But it’s hard, because I know their death throes will outlast me, because my generation is now part of the problem. The generation that grew up on political hip-hop, peace-and-love jam bands, and populist hardcore grew up and produced almost as many close-minded fucksticks as their hippie hypocrite parents. We’re just another generation that’ll have to die out before things get better. I hope the same thing doesn’t happen to the Millenials. They seem pretty progressive now, but we’ll see what happens when they’re running the show.

  38. Allen is a good example for Cobsy because when allegations against Allen came forward many people in Hollywood supported him and none of his movies were affected and he even signed a tv deal around that time, while with Cosby some networks have pulled the Cobsy show and a tv deal he had in works was canceled and there have obviously been a lot of other fallouts for Cosby. And, again, to be fair Cosby hasn’t been arrested, convicted, or charged with anything. So that shows a huge doublestandard for Allen and Cosby.

  39. Gee, maybe it’s because one person was only accused by one person, his crazy ex-wife, and the allegations were found to have no merit by the police twenty something years ago, while the other was accused by fifty women who all had the same story and never had their cases investigated because Bill Cosby shut them all the fuck down, except for that one time when he went before a court and admitted that he bought drugs to give to women he wanted to fuck. But other than that they’re exactly the same and you’re not grasping at straws at all.

  40. Please bear in mind that I like the work of Woody about as much as I like the work of Cosby, which is to say that I am largely indifferent. So I have no bias here. It’s just that one story holds up to scrutiny and the other doesn’t.

  41. The comparison doesn’t make any difference regardless.

    Possibly the big reason you see a disparity in the two cases is because there’s ONE that has been big news recently. News that sheds a different kind of light on a man who has ALWAYS preached wholesome values and actively denounced the actions he’s being accused of. Allen has always been a quirky and strange guy to the general public and his persona is one of inexplicable thoughts and actions, so there’s a wide gulf of how the two were perceived to begin with, before the allegations were public.

    Then there’s the very, very sticky wicket of how, y’know, Cosby has admitted to a court that he’s a scumbag date-rapist at the very least. There’s no admission of guilt on Allen’s part.

    That’s, even if you ignore everything else, the BIG difference.

    Side note: I once had to participate in an alcohol abuse program and in one of the classes, the instructor simply put on an old tape of some kind of “inspirational” stand-up from Bill Cosby. I remember that at the time, it all came off as very offensive and callous if you believe that alcoholism is a disease. His mimicry of “stumbling drunks” and his decrying of them being too weak to take care of themselves for two hours was disgusting. It was like watching somebody make fun of cancer patients for being “baldies” and being burdens on those around them. I was not aware of the allegations then, but when I first read about them and forever now subsequently, that is really the only Cosby I see; the asshole who clearly thinks he’s got a better grip on being a decent human than anyone else can manage. You’ll forgive me for taking some personal pleasure in the Schadenfreude here.

  42. Was the tape supposed to actually help the class? Or show them how society can be dickbags about that kind of thing? If it was supposed to help, damn son.

  43. Here’s part of the tape:

    Bill Cosby Drinking

    Bill Cosby's Drinking

    Remember, this is playing to a room full of people who have been arrested for alcohol offenses who have been evaluated and deemed in need of intervention; I. E. addiction. It’s like making a roomful of heroin addicts trying to get off the horse watch Trainspotting, but with even less class.

  44. Damn, seems like the review is gone. Just when I wanted to send someone the link who accused the movie of racism. Let’S see what the internet archive can do for me.

  45. Thanks! I was going to link to it on Letterboxd and saw it was down. Emailed Vern about, not that he can control what FSR does, but he has more important things to deal with re: the move and all. So thanks again!

  46. I ‘Find in page’d this review, the original review from 2005, and the OPS review and, between the three reviews and their comments, Vern uses the word ‘slasher’ once and the readership uses it never. I love all of the horror levels it exists on, but I never really think about Candyman as a slasher film even though Candyman’s only moves are hook slashing and transfixing mesmerism.* I see Candyman as such a Dracula seducer type that I forget about his gruesome disfigurement and signature weapon as genre tropes in favor of focusing on them as commentary. So it’s only now occurring to me to consider it more as a slasher film the next time I see it. Because I definitely would have listed this as a slasher before I saw it, but there’s so much more going on that I guess I never even got around to that aspect of it.

    * And sudden appearance, sudden disappearance, light dimming properties, and mirror dimensional transport.

  47. Yeah, I guess I would refer to Candyman as a slasher in the sense that he’s an iconic horror villain in the pantheon with Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers. But I think of him as being much more in the vein of the Universal monsters, with his tragic backstory and poetic soul.

  48. Universal should acquire the rights to Candyman and it’s sequels just so it can bring him into the fold with their other classic monsters.

    (See also: Drive, re: Universal’s legacy of car movies)

  49. I’m going to take a moment to my declare my love for Universal Pictures.

    • Back to the Future, my platonic ideal for what a movie should be, based on me seeing it 100 times when I was 5, 100 more when I was a teenager, and 100 more since;

    • their car/car chase pictures. American Graffiti, The Blues Brothers, all the Fast & Furiouses, Dax Shepard’s Hit & Run, even Nightcrawler. And while Burt Reynolds did car chase movies for nearly every studio back in the day, Smokey and the Bandit was with Universal;

    • all of the great arthouse stuff Focus Features put out in the 2000’s (Lost in Translation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Brokeback Mountain, Eastern Promises, In Bruges, A Serious Man, so many more);

    • and, of course, their commitment to horror excellence. The classic Universal Monster pictures and their collective legacy, Hitchcock’s films for them (including Psycho and The Birds), Jaws, producing House of 1000 Corpses (before dumping it), Tremors, the Tales from the Crypt movies, producing and/or releasing films from legends like Carpenter, Craven, and Cronenberg, their work with Rogue Pictures in the 2000’s, Drag Me to Hell (Spook-A-Blast!), the horror comedies (The Burbs, The Frighteners, Army of Darkness, etc.);

    And that’s not even getting into their comedies (some of which I already touched on), their work with young Spike Lee and other black filmmakers since, and all of the other great stuff that I am forgetting…

    Any studio that’s been around as them is going to have a long and wonderfully diverse history with pockets of awesomeness spread out all over it – we could spend all weekend talking just about the way Warner Bros. has given carte blanche to singular auteurs like Kubrick, Clint, and Christopher Nolan – but there’s something about Universal for me. Maybe it’s all because of Back to the Future being so formative for me, but they’re one of those outlets/artists (see also: Luc Besson, Tom Lennon & Ben Garant, Golan-Globus, etc.) that just seems to know what constitutes a good movie (even if all of their movies don’t end up being good).

  50. Ancient Romans good stuff. I always considered them my favorite movie studio as well. That back catalogue is pretty unfuckwitable.

  51. To me CANDYMAN always was a gothic romance. The comparison to DRACULA is quite appropriate even though it’s more like SON OF DRACULA than it is like the original one.

  52. Broddie – tell me about the Candyman/Son of Dracula connections

  53. Dracula. Leatherface. Pinhead. Are they slashers?

  54. In SON OF DRACULA outside of wanting a new country to terrorize, the count’s purpose is to romance the object of his affection in the new world so that she stands by his side forever. Similar to Candyman and Helen.

  55. Pinhead and Drac aren’t slashers but Leatheface is.

  56. I never thought about it before, but I kind of want to associate Dracula with slashers. They’re nocturnal predators preying on young women, though the sexual politics seem reversed. Somebody needs to make a movie both about and called Slasher Dracula and fully explore, deepen the connection.

    Pinhead, definitely not a slasher, though it bears stating because he’s so often grouped (and rightly) with the biggest horror movie icons of the 80s, most of whom are slashers.

    Leatherface…I don’t know. I mean, I guess he has to be, right? He’s got a blade that he jumps out and slashes at teenagers with, brandishing it as he gives chase. But there’s something that I can’t quite articulate that apparently differentiates him from the rest of the slashers in my mind.

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