CANDYMAN-United States-1992

Virginia Madsen as Helen Lyle

Tony Todd as Candyman/Daniel Robitaille

Xander Berkeley as Trevor Lyle

Kasi Lemmons as Bernadette Walsh

Directed by Bernard Rose

Screenplay by Bernard Rose

Based on “The Forbidden” by Clive Barker

They will say that I have shed innocent blood. What’s blood for, if not for shedding?’-”Candyman”

Leave it to the mind of Clive Barker to create an urban legend from an urban legend. What, didn’t you know? The legend of “Candyman” is a variation on the tale of Bloody Mary. Go into your bathroom, turn off your lights and say ‘bloody Mary’ three times into the mirror. When you do, she’ll appear behind you with a bloody butcher knife and slice your throat from ear to ear. Or maybe it was a razor. I heard the story from a friend of a friend’s second cousin twice removed on his uncle’s roommate’s side, so the story may have gotten a little diluted or maybe even embellished. Anyway, go try it. I’ll wait right here.

Hmmm, I see that you’re back but that there are less of you. Oh well, for those of you still here I can assure you that although “Candyman” is a derivative of an old urban legend that certainly doesn’t make it any less frightening. Quite the contrary actually; the film, which is loosely based on Barker’s “The Forbidden” from his “Books of Blood”, is one of the most atmospherically unsettling films I’ve seen in a long time. There is a feel to certain scenes that make you feel as if you are watching with a lead weight on your chest. The first time I watched the film I literally felt as if the room were closing in on me and I am not claustrophobic in the least.

Tony Todd as the “Candyman” brings to life a character that is deservedly every bit the horror icon that Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees has become. He is pure menace wrapped in vengeance and angry evil. The best way to describe the “Candyman” is by his own words: ‘I am the writing on the wall, the whisper in the classroom’…’I am rumor’…’To be whispered about at street corners, to live in other people’s dreams. But not have to be.’

To give you an example of the effect that “Candyman” has on us I will share with you this little tidbit; of all the friends that I have who have seen the film not one of them has ever had the guts to say his name five times in the mirror as the film suggests. ‘Whisper in the classroom’, my eye. We all believe in the “Candyman”.


There is a Guy Fawkes mask hanging next to Helen’s bathroom mirror. Fawkes is an infamous figure in English history (an influence from Clive Barker’s original story perhaps), who attempted to blow up the English Parliament on November 5, 1605. Every year the British celebrate Guy Fawkes Day by lighting bonfires and burning Fawkes in effigy.

Virginia Madsen is allergic to bees, so an ambulance was always on set while filming the bee sequence.

Exterior, hallway and stairway scenes were actually filmed for a few days in the infamous Cabrini-Green housing projects, though the producers had to make a deal with the ruling gang members to put them in the movie as extras to ensure the cast and crew’s safety during filming. Even with this arrangement, a sniper put a bullet through the production van on the last day of filming, though no one was injured.

The architecture flaw of the medicine chests and people being able to sneak in, is something that Bernard Rose discovered in his research for the film and there was actually a series of murders that were committed this way.