Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Candyman" number 7

From IMDb like always
Helen Lyle is a student who decides to write a thesis about local legends and myths. She visits a part of the town, where she learns about the legend of the Candyman, a one-armed man who appears when you say his name five times, in front of a mirror. Of course, Helen doesn't believe all this stuff, but the people of the area are really afraid. When she ignores their warnings and begins her investigation in the places that he is rumored to appear, a series of horrible murders begins. Could the legend be true?
Starring Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, and Kasi Lemmons. The movie was released in 1992, directed Bernard Rose from a story by the great Clive Barker.
Helen Lyle is an smart young woman who is working, with her good friend Bernadette Walsh, on a master's thesis involving modern folklore. Her husband, Trevor, is a university professor, of whom she suspects infidelity with one of his younger students, and we suspect her home life isn't quite satisfying, despite the fact that she seems to be very much in love with Trevor.  The first time we see this man laughing and obviously pressing himself up against the student I tasted bile in my mouth, what a disgusting person.

Helen and Bernie have been interviewing numerous people about various 'urban legend' type stories. One young woman tells them a story about "Candyman", a mythical being who has a hook instead of a right hand. The legend goes that Candyman will appear behind you if you say his name five times while looking in a mirror (just like the legend of Bloody mary). As Helen reviews the recorded conversation in an empty classroom one night at the university, a cleaning woman overhears the story about Candyman and remarks on it. She calls in another cleaning woman, who tells Helen about the murders that have taken place in Cabrini-Green, the low income housing project where she lives. The people of Cabrini-Green have attributed the deaths to Candyman, as the victims have been butchered with a weapon determined to be a hook. The mention of the murders leads Helen to research it in archived newspapers, and she finds out the names of the victims. Even more intriguing to her is the fact that her own apartment building was designed exactly like Cabrini-Green; she learns that it was intended as another housing development, but eventually the idea was scrapped when the developers realized that the location was too desirable; Helen and Bernie theorize that the white developers relocated the housing project to a more forbidding area that would keep the ghetto separated from the rest of the city. Helen is aware that the units in her building are connected to one another through the medicine chests in the bathrooms; when removed, they reveal a small space that links the apartments together. Helen knows that Cabrini-Green's apartments must be the same, and that the stories of Candyman coming out of the medicine chest could indicate a human assailant who had also made this discovery.
 With Bernadette in tow, she visits Cabrini-Green and finds the apartment of one of the murder victims; on the other side of the medicine chest is a strange lair, with holes in the wall and elaborate graffiti-style artwork depicting a large man's head with a hole in the wall for a mouth. Helen is fascinated by it, as well as the fact that an altar appears to have been constructed there as well, with candy left behind as an offering.

Helen and Bernie meet Anne-Marie McCoy, the neighbor of the deceased victim. Anne-Marie is initially hostile to them, as she feels the presence of white people in the all-black housing development indicates nothing but trouble (Bernie herself is black, but Helen is white, and the tenants they meet on the way inside mistake them for police officers). But eventually Anne-Marie softens and invites them into her apartment. Helen is taken by Anne-Marie's baby boy, Anthony, admitting she would like to have a child of her own one day. Anne-Marie says that she is determined to make a better life for her son, one that does not involve Cabrini-Green or the drug-dealing youths that loiter on its grounds.

While at dinner one night with Bernie, Trevor, and a few of Trevor's colleagues, Helen makes the mistake of baiting Philip, a snobbish folklore expert, by mentioning her thesis project. Philip attempts to belittle Helen by telling her that he's already written an essay about Candyman. Philip shares with her Candyman's strange back story, revealing that he was the son of a slave who had come into a great deal of wealth due to an invention that became hugely successful. Candyman grew up well-schooled and comfortable, and was a prodigious artist who was in high demand among the wealthy to paint their portraits. Eventually Candyman had an affair with the daughters of one of his wealthy white clients, and when she became pregnant the man exacted a horrible revenge on Candyman. He sent hired goons to attack Candyman, cutting off his right hand, stripping him nude, and smearing him with the honeycomb of a hive of angry bees. He was killed by the numerous bee stings. Philip claims that it all took place on the site where Cabrini-Green now stands.

Even more intrigued, Helen returns to the building on her own. When she finds Anne-Marie is not home, she meets a young boy named Jake who gives her more information. Another death in the project was attributed to Candyman, the brutal castration of a young boy who entered a filthy public men's room only to meet an attacker who cut off his genitals, resulting in his death. When Jake takes Helen to the site, she goes inside and starts taking photographs, but a group of young toughs enters after her. One man approaches her and announces that he is Candyman, and his is carrying a large hook, which he uses to beat Helen's face, knocking her unconscious. Later in a police lineup, she identifies her assailant, much to the satisfaction of Detective Frank Valento, who informs Helen that the young man who beat her was suspected of the previous murders. He had been using the legend of Candyman to frighten the residents of Cabrini-Green into silence, and Helen's testimony will help to put him away. Helen meets Jake there at the police station, and she thanks him for his help, explaining that her attacker was human and that Candyman is not real. Jake almost seems disappointed.

Some time later, Helen and Bernie have a discussion where Helen reveals that she is unsettled by the fact that the two murders, both of which featured black victims, went practically unnoticed, while her own mere assault caused a lockdown of Cabrini-Green, presumably because she was a white victim. Bernie surprises her with slides from her camera, which Helen had assumed was a complete write-off after the attack in the men's room. On the way back to her car, Helen looks at the slides, when suddenly she is confronted by a strange figure, a tall black man wearing a long coat and speaking in an unearthly voice. She realizes this is Candyman, although she can barely comprehend how it is possible. Candyman urges Helen to become his victim, almost as if he were speaking to a lover. He tells Helen that because she has exposed the real killer at Cabrini-Green, she has caused a sudden rift in his world; the belief in him by hundreds of people is what allows him to go on living. Helen's incident has caused this belief to drop, and now he is in danger of ceasing to exist entirely. Candyman intends to kill Helen, which would then give rebirth to his legend and cause belief to surge once more. Helen swoons and loses consciousness.

When she awakens, she is disoriented, and realizes that she is somehow in Anne-Marie's apartment. She is covered in blood, and Anne-Marie is screaming hysterically in another room. A meat cleaver is lying next to Helen, and she picks it up, terrified at what she may find going on in the other room. She finds Anne-Marie's dog, decapitated, its blood everywhere. Anne-Marie is screaming over the empty crib of her son, who is now missing. When she sees Helen approaching her with a cleaver, she immediately thinks Helen is responsible, and she rushes at her, attacking her. When it seems as if Anne-Marie may kill her, Helen strikes her with the cleaver, wounding her shoulder, just as police break though the door of the apartment and surround Helen.

At the precinct, Helen is subjected to a strip search and Detective Valento appears, this time speaking furiously to Helen. It is clear that everybody thinks she is responsible for the attack and kidnapping of Anne-Marie's child. She makes a phone call to Trevor, only to discover that Trevor is somehow not home, even though it is 3am. The next day he comes for Helen and takes her home, helping her though a throng of reporters and news cameras. A lawyer tells Helen that the prosecutors seem to have released her because they think the child's body will turn up and they will then charge Helen with murder 1, which he thinks is unlikely to stick. Helen is somewhat comforted, but she still cannot comprehend what has happened to her.

Now we follow along as Helen almost seems to be loosing her sanity.  I don't want to give much more of the story away but I recommend this movie completely to everyone.  This movie still scares me everytime I watch it, there is just something about a story holding so much power.  I give this terrifying story  5 out of 5 skulls and if you have not seen it do!!!

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