Candyman | Chicago Reader

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Rated R · 98 minutes · 1992

Like so many post-Val Lewton horror films, this 1992 feature starts out promisingly while the plot is mainly a matter of suggestion, but gradually turns gross and obvious as the meanings become literal and unambiguous. A University of Illinois grad student (Virginia Madsen) doing a dissertation on urban folklore—specifically on a legend about a killer with a hook (Tony Todd) associated with the Cabrini-Green public housing project—ventures into the project for interviews and photographs and gets more than she bargained for, etc, etc. Adapted by writer-director Bernard Rose from a short story by executive producer Clive Barker that originally had an English setting, this depends for much of its shock and suspense on demonizing ghetto life beyond its real-life horrors, which is another way of saying that it exploits white racism to produce some of its kicks. Philip Glass contributed one of his monotonous hack scores; with Xander Berkeley and Kasi Lemmons.

See our full review: How a story about the horrors of housing projects became part of a horror movie

How a story about the horrors of housing projects became part of a horror movie

On the parallels between a 1987 Reader article and the movie Candyman. »

Director: Bernard Rose
Writer: Clive Barker and Bernard Rose
Producer: Clive Barker, Steve Golin, Alan Poul and Sigurjon Sighvatsson
Cast: Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, DeJuan Guy, Michael Culkin, Stanley DeSantis and Gilbert Lewis

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