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Brian Fowler

The 8th annual Halloween Havoc

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Children of evil, sons of night,  and daughters of darkness the evil is loose, the evil is loose!!!!

Film: Popcorn

Chosen by: Nate

This is one of those film that tried to ride the "slasher with the scarred face" wave that was kicked off by the success of "Nightmare of Elm Street".  Add to that one of my favorite conceits in genre film - the fake film within a film (and three of them, no less!)- and you've got the ingredients for one of my favorite early '90s horror films.

Reviewed by: driver

This little gem from 1991 stars Jill Schoelen as Maggie. At the time Schoelen was the go to actress for B horror. In this movie Schoelen has a look that reminds me of Winona Ryder in "Beetlejuice". Anyways back to the review.
Maggie is a college student and the she has a nightmare to begin the film. A student in her film class states that "Police Academy 5 has more character development than anything Ingmar Bergmann ever did." Okay. Sure why not.
Her class goes to a film theater that is soon to be shutdown and demolished. It was once a library. Seems that every building was something else when it was built. 
The class decides to put on an all night film festival in "Projectovision". Ray Walston turns up as a the owner of a shop that has all of the gimmicks needed to pull off the festival. There is a nice "training montage" of the class getting the theater into shape for their festival. A reggae tune called "Saturday Night At The Movies" plays during the montage. 

During the screening of a movie(Possessor) Maggie passes out. The professor tells the tale of how "Possessor" came to be and that the director filmed all of the scenes except for the final one, which he performed live on stage during the movie's premiere.
Maggie goes to her motherDee Wallace Stone) and asks if she had ever heard of "Possessor", Lanyard Gates. Her mother begs her to drop out of the festival and that she will get tickets so that they can go away on a vacation instead.
The mother, Suzanne, receives a phone call from a mysterious voice saying that they need to meet and talk. She goes to the Dreamland theater where bulbs burst on the marquee and the glass falls at her feet. As she walks into the theater she finds Lanyard Gates face on the screen. 
The screen goes blank and Stone is left wandering around in the dark with a revolver as strange sounds come at her from all sides. She is snatched and pulled off into the dark.
Cut to the opening of the film festival where almost every customer is wearing a mask or in a complete costume. A longhaired man in a cowboy hat steps up to the window where Maggie is selling tickets and tosses some crumpled up bills on the counter. As she takes the money and he steps away she hears the voice from her nightmare and the same one from her mom's phone call. She immediately leaves the ticket booth and begins following him.
The first film to be shown is "The Mosquito". Highlight of this black and white film-within-a-film is a car being attacked by the titular beast and a man getting a skeeter needle into the top of his head and having everything sucked from his dome until all that is left is an empty husk. 

Later as the mosquito is being attacked by the military a giant mosquito flies out from behind the screen and over the crowd, which freaks out. The scene ends with the student who had been controlling the skeeter getting impaled when some nefarious ne'er do well uses his own remote to gain control of the beast.
The film is directed by Mark Herrier. He is probably best known for his role as Billy in "Porky's". This was his only feature directing job, other than directing a few shorts in the Otts, he hasn't done much and his last acting credit was in '01.
The second movie with in the movie is "The Attack of the Amazing Electrified Man", which has a gimmick known as "Shock-o-Scope"(which is a buzzer under a seat that shocks the seat's occupant when a button is pushed). 

Tina is the second to be done away with when she asks her professor for a quicky up in the catwalk. Maggie and her boyfriend run into dead Tina, but the killer disguises his voice and Tina's and moves her body around so that Maggie and her bf think Tina is still alive.
The next person(the guy controlling the buzzers under the seats) is killed when "Tina" walks up behind him and binds him to his chair. As the Electrified Man kills people onscreen and people get shocked in their seats Buzzer Controller is electrocuted as he desperately tries to unplug wires from the console. 
After the second film ends a reggae band takes the stage and rocks the house so much the audience really gets into it. Okay they didn't rock the house, it just seemed like they did.
As the reggae band is onstage Maggie runs into the killer who calls her "Sarah" and says it's time for her to rejoin her mother. Understandably Maggie takes off running and the killer lumbers after her. Cut to Maggie's nightmare replaying. Cut to Maggie running and bumping into another student(Toby) from her class.
Cut to the reggae band on stage again. Volume cuts out. Found this on Youtube. At least this version isn't dubbed in Hungarian.

And we have sound again. Maggie tells Toby that her name isn't Maggie, but Sarah Gates, and that Landon Gates is her father, and that Suzanne was really her aunt and not her mother. And Gates has come back to "finish the film" by killing her on stage. 
Reggae band IS STILL on stage and Gates has captured Maggie/Sarah. The reggae band is FINALLY done and the third movie with in a movie starts(this time the gimmick is AROM-A-RAMA!!!!).
The killer reveals himself to be Toby or any other multitude of people due to his extensive collection of masks. Toby says that Gates really died during the original performance and that he had been sitting in the front row when Suzanne shot and killed Gates. His mother was a member of Lanyard's cult.
Toby suffered extensive scarring from burns received in the fire and he demonstrates to Maggie/Sarah what he goes through on a daily basis to "look normal".
Toby is waiting for midnight to "finish the film" and it is revealed that Suzanne is still alive. She is bound and strapped to a contraption directly across from Maggie/Sarah.
Toby goes out into the crowd, next thing I know he's on stage with Maggie/Sarah preparing for "The Big Finale". As the original movie plays on the screen, Toby acts out it backstage perfectly mimmicking Lanyard Gates' movements. 
Cut to a scene of Mark climbing the marquee, the curtain opens and Maggie/Sarah asks for the crowd to save her because Toby is going to kill her. The crowd begins cheering because they think it is all a part of the show. 
The crowd begins to the countdown to midnight because that is when Toby is going to killer her. As the countdown reaches zero Mark slides down a wire and gets on stage and Toby starts whining "YOU'RE RUINING IT!" as he is impaled on the mosquito's suckers. Cut to a scene of a cheering crowd.
Suzanne and Maggie/Sarah are reunited in front of the theater. Then Mark holds Maggie/Sarah as the end credits roll. 

Not a bad movie. It doesn't suck. That in and of itself is a good thing. There is no tension or suspense at all. I liked it and this was the first time I'd seen it since the early 90s.

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Haven't seen Popcorn. Stopped reading as soon as I realized you were doing a plot synopsis. Read enough to pique my interest though.

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ha! haven't seen Popcorn in quite a few years but i definitely enjoyed it. nice choice, Nate!!

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It finally got a re-release from Synapse. I'll have to check it out on Youtube; I loved loved loved that movie when I was a kid. It's like a horror version of Matinee. 

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The matinee comparison is spot on, I loved Popcorn back in the day, will try and source it for a re-watch!

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I haven't watched Popcorn in years.  Now I will have to search it out.

Good pick, Nate, and excellent review, driver!

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13 hours ago, Execproducer said:

Haven't seen Popcorn. Stopped reading as soon as I realized you were doing a plot synopsis. Read enough to pique my interest though.

Definitely check it out.  You won't be disappointed.

9 hours ago, Curt McGirt said:

It finally got a re-release from Synapse. I'll have to check it out on Youtube; I loved loved loved that movie when I was a kid. It's like a horror version of Matinee. 

I had just got my copy in the mail in time for this year's go-around.  Goodbye, old Image disc.  It ranks very highly in my heart, with "Waxwork", "Night of the Creeps", "Warlock", and "Fright Night II" as smashing good late 80s/ early 90s horror cheese.

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I had actually thought Shock Factory had only put out a Blu Ray until I checked. I'll snag the Synapse DVD sometime. 

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17 hours ago, Execproducer said:

Haven't seen Popcorn. Stopped reading as soon as I realized you were doing a plot synopsis. Read enough to pique my interest though.

Sorry about that. Was typing as I watched. 

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We have something verrrry special for you tonight, my children oh yes we do. It's a monster movie double feature of EVIL

Film(s): Night of the Demons

Chosen by: driver

(No explanation sent, and unbeknownst to your humble host, the film has a remake. Luckily one well versed in the dark arts of film has arrived.)

Reviewed by: Just Trippin'

Night of the Demons (1988)

Directed by Kevin Tenney.
Cast: Cathy Podewell, Alvin Alexis, Amelia Kinkade, Linnea Quigley, Lance Fenton, Billy Gallo, Hal Havins, Jill Terashita, Philip Tanzini, Allison Barron, Harold Ayer, Marie Denn, Karen Ericson, Don Jeffcoat.

In a lot of ways, Kevin Tenney's 1988 Night of the Demons is a horror film light years ahead of its time.  From the painstakingly animated opening credits to the superior make-up effects created by Steve Johnson, Night of the Demons is a low budget movie if ever there was one, but Tenney definitely did not allow a lack of funds to lower his standards or diminish his ambition.

As the movie begins, we're gradually introduced to our cast of characters including the demure, sweet-natured Judy (Cathy Podewell) and her date, player Jay (Lance Fenton); Judy's thuggish (and stereotypically Italian) ex-boyfriend Sal (Billy Gallo); Judy's fun-loving friend Frannie (Playboy magazine lingerie model, Jill Terashita) and her boyfriend Max (Philip Tanzini); goth queen Angela (Amelia Kinkade) and her guy-crazy best friend Suzanne (scream queen, Linnea Quigley); and the odd trio of loud-mouthed, piggish Stooge (Hal Havins) and superstitious Helen (Allison Barron) and Rodger (Alvin Alexis).

In proper horror movie fashion, Tenney indulges himself in a bit of world building, explaining the history behind the haunted house where the party will take place and laying down the monster rules (ie. the titular demons cannot leave the house because they cannot cross the boundary created by an underground stream that encircles the property).  Once that's done, we're off to the races. 

Dancing and good times at the cobwebbed mansion lead to a séance where, SURPRISE~!, the teens manage to stir up the demonic forces living on the property. As the characters scatter around the house, they one by one fall victim to Angela, possessed by the spirits and set on transforming the rest of them into minions of Hell.

Once shit gets bizarre, it gets bizarre with a capital fucking B.  Steve Johnson's visual effects are somewhat dated as expected, but the ingenuity and craft must be seen to be believed.  There is a rather infamous scene involving a topless and demonically possessed Suzanne and a tube of lipstick that will fascinate and horrify you at the same time....

I'll just leave that to your imagination.

Night of the Demons holds a special place in my heart because of the sequence of the inevitable body count.  Horror vets will be quick to pick out the final girl, Judy, by her disturbingly wholesome demeanor.  Even though she is almost annoyingly pure, she is also no fucking nonsense and unwaveringly sticks to her moral code even in the face of ridicule and a douchebag boyfriend who constantly pressures her for sex.

And then we have Roger. Roger is not only a (gasp) black kid, which is almost unheard of in 80's horror movies casting, he is also intelligent (if a bit cowardly which is understandable in the face of supernatural evil) and his character is not played up totally for comedy relief.

Normally you'd watch a movie like this and pray for the painful evisceration of all parties involved but in this case, Kevin Tenney creates two characters who you honestly hope survive the night.

Night of the Demons is not free of flaws.  As a matter of fact, the low budget practically guarantees them (the set pieces are particularly cheesy).  However this movie is also a mean spirited tale dripping with blood mingled with the sweat and love of the actors and production crew that labored long to bring this vicious tale to life.

Oh, and this movie has the second best horror movie use of a song by goth rock legends, Bauhaus.  The best use, of course, is the first five minutes of The Hunger aka one of the best vampire stories ever told.

----------------

 

But wait, there's more

Night of the Demons (2009)

Directed by Adam Gierasch

Cast: Tatyana Kanavka, Michael Arata, Shannon Elizabeth, Linnea Quigley, Bryce Arata, Addy Rome, John F. Beach, Michael Copon, Zachary Bernard, Diora Baird, Monica Keena, Bobbi Sue Luther, Edward Furlong, Irina Beskaravaynaya, Jamie Harris, Delilah Donovan, Tiffany Shepis, Hans Titze, Tiffany Billiot, Erica Grant, Lance E. Nichols.

Okay, I will preface this by admitting that I honestly feel that this movie is a worthless reheat of the original cult classic. 

Now let's try to find some silver linings.

First off, the premise is pretty clever:

As per the original movie , we have the Halloween blast of the decade going down inside an allegedly cursed mansion, once home to a foolish woman who committed suicide (decapitated while trying to hang herself) rather than allow her soul to be possessed by unnamed demonic forces...

For professional party girl Angela (Shannon Elizabeth, chewing on scenery like no other), the throw down is a chance to score on some phat loot

For the rest of the attendees, including Maddie (Monica Keena), Suzanne (Bobbie Sue Luther), Lily (Diora Baird), and bothersome drug dealer Colin (Edward Furlong), the shindig is a chance to get drunk and hook up.

When the law shuts down the fun, a chosen few are left behind. Discovering a nest of skeletons in the basement, the gang unknowingly awakens a ferocious malevolent spirit that utilizes crafty, sexual-themed maneuvers to murder them and capture their immortal souls.

On paper that sounds really awesome, so why trap it within the framework of a beloved schlocky horror cult classic like Night of the Demons?  Laziness? Lack of imagination?

Adam Gierasch at least has the common decency to send a few shout outs to Night of the Demons (casting Linnea Quigley in a cameo and showcasing an interesting take on the infamous lipstick scene) but this polished gorefest doesn't contain too much that we haven't seen before.

The nature of the evil in the remake is extremely well thought out and the menace is far more expansive than the original.  The titular demons in the first movie cannot escape past the boundary of a mystical underground stream blessed by a Native American tribe while in the remake, Hell will be able to gradually invade our world once it captures the souls of seven human beings.

That sounds pretty rad, so why does it fail to impress me?

I think this movie would've been far better received if it had marched to its own drummer rather than relying on the name recognition and reputation of Kevin Tenney's 1988 blood stained diamond in the rough to see it through.  It leaves a bad taste in your mouth to see such interesting ideas co-mingled with something you've already seen done much better somewhere else.

Shannon Elizabeth does her level headed best to drag this thing across the finish line, but to no avail. Meanwhile, Ed Furlong is too busy being Ed Furlong to give a shit about anything.

It is worth a look if you are morbidly curious or are genuinely interested in comparing and contrasting the remake and the original film but if you're looking for a worthwhile addition to your 31 Days list, I'd look elsewhere.

 
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Fowler suggested I review the original and the remake so I did.

I probably should've reviewed the sequel instead of the remake since Night of the Demons 2 is just as mean as the predecessor and even has some dark comedy thrown in for good measure. 

Angela was on her way to becoming a horror movie icon until the third sequel fucked things up.

Night of the Demons 3 is just plain bad.

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I liked 2 better than 1 actually, probably because of the scene where "Vengeance Is Mine" by Morbid Angel is playing while that chick dumps punch all over herself in Satanic ecstacy. These things will alter you for life when you see them on bootlegged HBO at the age of 11. 

The remake is crap but it's gory as hell. And Eddie Furlong looks like he's a street person and acts like, well, a bad drug dealer, which his character is. Those eyes have never been more darkly encircled from self-abuse. And, frankly, he also looks... swollen.

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19 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

I liked 2 better than 1 actually, probably because of the scene where "Vengeance Is Mine" by Morbid Angel is playing while that chick dumps punch all over herself in Satanic ecstacy.

The sequel is far more polished than the first movie.   The original still has its ruthless charm, but the sequel benefits from corrections to the flaws of Night of the Demons..

19 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

The remake is crap but it's gory as hell. And Eddie Furlong looks like he's a street person and acts like, well, a bad drug dealer, which his character is. Those eyes have never been more darkly encircled from self-abuse. And, frankly, he also looks... swollen.

As I mentioned in my review, the most interesting comparison in the movies is the nature of the demons.

In the original, Tenney takes great care in laying down the rules of the universe and you find yourself in awe of the storytelling going on in such a low budget movie. 

Then it dawns on you.  "All I have to do to survive is climb the fucking wall."  Of course, coming up with the solution and implementing the plan are two different things.  Good luck on escaping when hungry demonic beings are intent on disemboweling you and eating your soul.

The remake is pretty lame, but at least it has the good taste to up the ante of the menace.  No pressure, party people, but the fate of the entire world depends on you surviving the night.  Good luck with that shit.

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I'll be honest, I've only seen the remake in piecemeal on TV (as in, not all of it) so I shouldn't just outright call it crap. 

43 minutes ago, J.T. said:

No pressure, party people, but the fate of the entire world depends on you surviving the night.  Good luck with that shit.

Hmmm... this sounds like another two demon movies off the top of my head, one domestic and one with a sequel that isn't

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12 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

I'll be honest, I've only seen the remake in piecemeal on TV (as in, not all of it) so I shouldn't just outright call it crap. 

There are some flashes or brilliance in it but your next comment sums up my feelings why the remake fails.

13 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

Hmmm... this sounds like another two demon movies off the top of my head, one domestic and one with a sequel that isn't

PRECISELY~!

The remake has perfectly good ideas in it that they can run with so why not come up with new names for characters and designs for the creatures and call it something else?

Something.... ORIGINAL~?

It just feels lazy to come up with unique backstory and mythology and then just use that material to retell someone else's story. 

Why saddle this movie with the baggage from a beloved cult classic when you know that only bad things will come from it.  People will already be predisposed to hate your work because of devotion to the original film.

 

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Yes, but cameos by Linnea Quigley will smooth lots of ruffled feathers. And let's face it, both films adhere strictly to the rules of the drive-in:

1. The innocent must suffer

2. Anyone can die at any moment

3. You git nekkid, you git dead

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So, I rewatched Popcorn in the first time in, say, 20 years... and it was AWESOME! It's a real bait-and-switch with you thinking this is just a cheesy slasher, then when the killer gets revealed it gets real dark. At the same time it keeps its sense of humor and love for the not-so-classics (the last film-within seems based on The Green Slime) and it has Dee Wallace, Bruce Glover and RAY WALSTON in it for a cup of coffee and a paycheck. Grab a couple friends and a couple drinks and convince them to watch it if they're horror buffs. 

Also, I think Jill Schoelen looks more like Jennifer Connelly than Wynona Ryder, but the hair is close

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Busy day guys, I'll have a review up Thursday sometime.

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16 hours ago, OSJ said:

Yes, but cameos by Linnea Quigley will smooth lots of ruffled feathers.

When it came to B-Horror cult sirens, I was a Brinke Stevens man, myself. 

I completely forgot that Brinke was in Linnea's band, Linnea & The Skirts.

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Blood. Mayhem. Jaywalking.

Film: Lake Bodom

Chosen by: S.K.o.S

Finnish movie based on a for-real 1960 campsite triple murder where the killer was never caught.  Here, four teenagers spend a night at that campsite so one of them can test a theory he's got about the murders.  Thought this was good enough to recommend.  It's a very polished product, and the cinematography is very good, quite a feat when most of the movie is in the woods at night.  I like the structure, where it starts off as horror, lets you up to breathe for a bit in the middle with some plot, and then goes hard back to horror for the finish.  Also one of the protagonists is quite top-heavy and I kind of developed a crush on her... and research tells me she may actually be high school age, which is problematic.  Hmm.  Well, I'll go stare at myself in a mirror and think about things, you go watch the movie.

Reviewed by: Execproducer

 

Pretty Little Liars Meet The Boogeyman.
 
That would be my tagline for Lake Bodom, a 2016 Finnish slasher directed by Taneli Mustonen. It starts off in familiar territory with two high school boys, one of the jock persuasion and his creepy, brainy side-kick, luring two girls out to the titular lake under the pretext of attending a party at a cabin in the woods. The girls, Ida and Nora, are best friends and intend the party to be therapy for Ida, who has been emotionally damaged for reasons that  are soon revealed. But on the trip up, creepy boy Atte spends his time studying crime scene materials and it becomes clear there is some tension between him and his buddy Elias. Turns out the party and the cabin are bogus. Atte intends to enact a "recreation" of the circumstances that led to the brutal killing of a group of teenagers inside their tent some several decades earlier. A real-life unsolved crime that occurred at Lake Bodom back in 1960. It gives the film it's title and likely extra weight if you live in Finland.
 
Atte apparently believes the re-do will bring forth the answers he is obsessed with, like a seance with improv, and that is one of the far too many logic gaps that knock this film down a few pegs. Once at the campsite and with the girls seemingly convinced to participate, Mustonen throws up a few familiar cues: sex talk, drug use, nighttime dips in the lake, POV shots of different characters isolated from the others, noises and lights in the woods.... 
 
To say much more would be to engage in spoilers. There are a few twists and turns ahead, with the biggest one coming about halfway into the film. There isn't much foreshadowing for it, but you will likely be a beat or two ahead when it hits.  And once it does, nothing that comes after offers any real surprise. There is an extremely clunky bit of exposition shortly before the climax. Gore fans are likely going to find this a bit lite. There is a good story here that hasn't been fully realized, with a Big Bad that feels like a cipher and an ending that falls flat.
 
On the plus side, all of the leads are very good, particularly Nelly Hirst-Gee (Ida) and Mimosa Willamo (Nora). The cinematography is exceptional with beautiful shots of the lake at nighttime and mists rolling through the woods that look natural. The score and sound design work really well with the film, which, at 85 minutes, is generally well-paced. The highlight is the set-piece involving a tow truck.
 

This appears to be Mustonen's first foray into horror and if he ventures back, I'll give it a shot.  As for this, I'm at about a C+. Worth watching once but I won't re-visit. 

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Yeah I've just been alternately busy, lazy, or not feeling well the last few days. It'll get done I promise

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On ‎10‎/‎22‎/‎2017 at 10:41 PM, Execproducer said:

It looks like my review killed the Halloween Havoc thread! :(

Your review is a public service announcement!

Lake Bodom is currently on Shudder and I have eyeballed it several times, but haven't pulled the trigger on watching it.

Now I know I can queue up NOROI and a few other movies before this one.

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It's still alive!!!!

Film: Candyman Candyman Candy....

Chosen by: Lacelle

Reviewed by: Ultimo Necro

Candyman by Ultimo Necro

 

Everyone knows the Candyman legend right? Stand in front of a mirror, repeat his name five times, Candyman appears, gore ensues? It has been probably 20 years since I last watched it, I've never really went back to it, despite it being one of my wife's top five films of all time. So I bust out her DVD over the weekend and gave it a watch. I thought I knew this film. I don't think I really did.

 

In my memory the film was a total slasher flick, lots of blood and violence, however, upon rewatch, the violence is limited to a few scenes which increase in frequency as the film gathers pace. There is a lot of tense foreshadowing and the film is well built from the ground up, gradually introducing the legend of the Candyman as the main character, Helen, investigates deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole.

 

Set in 1992 , mainly in the Chicago projects, the film seemingly dealt with a lot of white America's fear of black culture. The well educated college kids discussing urban legends before finally heading to the projects to find out the truth for themselves. The film is really well shot and in many ways reminded me of the Wire with respect to showing poor areas and the desolation that comes with living in a place like that.

 

The flick opens with an overhead shot of cars driving along the highway. I almost thought I had put the original Grand Theft Auto game on, it mirrors the viewpoint of that game perfectly. I also wondered if it was an homage to the other “call his name 3 times” movie, Beetlejuice (naturally), which also opens with the overhead shot of the car travelling through the village.

 

Unlike Beetlejuice, there is little humour to be found in this grimly dark tale. As mentioned previously there is little in the way of jump scares, the gore is kept gritty, realistic and for when the film requires it.

 

The main character, Helen, discovers that back in the day, Candyman, the son of slave who was a brilliant artist, was brutally murdered by a baying mob after falling in love and having a child with a local white girl. His ashes scattered on the area where the projects stand.

 

Helen, visits the area to interview some locals, including a single mom and a little kid who further flesh out the Candyman legend. Here she has an encounter with some local ass-holes in possibly the grimmest toilet this side of Desperado. She is assaulted by the leader, a fake Candyman who has been using the name to further his rep. At this point I must say the violence in the film is very well done and is no more gratuitous than necessary. The one punch from the gang leader is shockingly brutal, especially in a modern context. Helen is picked up the police and asked to identify her assailant. At the police station, Helen explains to the little kid who witnessed the assault that Candyman is fictional like Dracula. Bad move!

 

Following this, the film really picks up. The real Candyman appears to Helen and considers that she has insulted his legacy, presumably he has seen some horrible Dracula flicks. Tony Todd plays the part with a real menace and is great to watch in the role. The most horrific scene in the film then follows. Helen wakes up in the apartment of the single mom she interviewed earlier in the movie. The lady in question lived with her child and a large dog for protection. The screaming is barbaric from the mother as Helen wakes up. The camera pulls back and Helen is covered in blood, as the camera pans across we see the dogs severed head.

 

Gross right? Well not gross enough as Helen follows the trail of blood into the bedroom the mother is standing over the crib distraught as it appears her child has been abducted, presumably by Candyman. I swear to god, Vanessa Williams screaming is insane, the howling of a hurting woman is something that will haunt me for a bit! A fight ensues between Helen and the mother, assuming Helen to be the attacker, which ends when the cops burst in and arrest Helen.

 

Helen is arrested then bailed out by her college professor husband. The husband was noted earlier in the film to have had “lustful interest” from one of his students, this pays off brilliantly at the end of the movie. Helen's husband takes her home only for Candyman to appear again. Candyman then murders Helen's best friend when she arrives at the apartment. Helen, alone in the apartment with a dead body and a bloody knife is swiftly re-arrested and placed into a psychiatric unit.

 

At this point it would appear there is no way out for Helen. I also noticed a slight parallel with American Psycho at this point, there is an argument to be had that Candyman was literally in her head the whole time and Helen could have been committing the murders on her own? It would certainly have been a unique twist, especially in 1992. However, not content with the destruction caused to Helen so far, Candyman continues his mind-games and asks Helen to submit to his will and become immortal. Then, amongst the graffiti, Helen notices that she looks a hell of a lot like Candyman's old girl from back in the day. It is also revealed that Candyman has taken the child.

 

From here, we head to the conclusion of the movie and the set-piece at a large bonfire. Candyman has placed the child in the bonfire and Helen attempts to save the child. Candyman grabs them attempting to burn them all alive. Naturally our hero makes the save and manages to escape Candyman's grasp and deliver the child from the bonfire safely to the clutches of her aforementioned mother. Helen, who had caught on fire sadly passes. We get a great scene where the community turn up to Helens funeral to thank her for returning the child.

 

Not to fear though, Helen's legend lives on as she vengefully returns from beyond the grave to murder her distraught ex-husband who is now living with the bratty college girl from earlier in the movie. It's a great scene really well played by all involved.

 

This film is really excellent. Way ahead of its time in many respects. Almost exclusively female and African American leads, Virginia Madsen is fantastic in the main role, co-stars Vanessa Williams and Kasi Lemmons support really well. Tony Todd's prescene in his on screen time is a sight to behold and Gilbert Lewis as Detective Valento delivers a fine performance.

 

As said above, my memory of the movie differs from watching it now. As a kid my eyes were closed to the themes and I just remember the gory scenes and being scared of the Candyman. Its a more enjoyable film now and one I would wholly recommend that everyone go back and re-watch. It's gritty, disturbing and really well told. I will definitely re-watch with the wife as she always complains we never watch enough movies together.

 

Instead of a reboot I would really dig a “Helen” sequel set in 2017.

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Candyman is 10000000000% better than the short story it was based on and I love Clive Barker like family.

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