Virginia Madsen and Kasi Lemmons are working on a thesis on urban legends. They haveheard several version of the Candyman story, and they trace it back to its origins at the horrificChicago housing project Cabrini Green. Madsen destroys the legend by exposing the truth, whichforces the legend to become real. Candyman (Tony Todd) frames Madsen for his own crimes,and threatens worse unless she voluntarily surrenders to be his victim.
Writer/director Bernard Rose (whos… exemplary Paperhouse still awaits DVDrelease), here fashioned what is by far the best film based on a Clive Barker story (and thisincludes Barker’s own Hellraiser). Playing on our fears of the other in marvellous, multi-layered fashion, Candyman is a stinging critique of race relations as well as a genuinelyterrifying movie (I can remember, during its theatrical run, hearing one audience membermoaning in terror — now that’s a treasured memory). Coming as it did during the horror film’sfallow years (before the revival that began with Scream and kicked into high gear in 1999with The Sixth Sense and The Blair Witch Project), Candyman showedthat smart, adult, balls-to-the-wall horror was not dead.
This is the same transfer as the previous release, so the sound is still only 2.0. That said, thesurround effects are pretty decent, with some nice placement involving things like barking dogsat Cabrini Green. Most effective, however, is Philip Glass’s hypnotic score, which is given a verypowerful mix. Voices do, on occasion, distort somewhat.
The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen picture is, again, the same as the earlier DVD, and showsno signs of improvement. Grain and flicker are quite noticeable during the opening credits, andthe picture isn’t perfect. Colours and blacks are very good, however, and for the most part, thetransfer is solid enough to more than get by.
How’s this for a packed commentary: Rose, Barker, Madsen, Lemmons, Todd, and producerAlan Poul. Fortunately, they were all recorded separately, and each identifies him/herself beforespeaking, so the track is never confusing, and is a very interesting, intelligent and illuminatingexercise. “Sweets to the Sweet: The Candyman Mythos” is actually a 25-minute restrospective,covering the making of the film, and the ideas and race issues behind it. This is a solid piece,though it inevitably overlaps with the commentary. “Clive Barker: Raising Hell” is a 10-minuteinterview with the author, who talks about his life and his theories of horror. There is a scoredmontage of Rose’s storyboards, and finally there are trailers for The Texas ChainsawMassacre: The Next Generation, Darkness Falls and the Creature Features series.The menu is basic.
Though more remastering and more extras would have been nice, this is still a welcomerelease, with some very intelligent commentary and interviews.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- “Sweets to the Sweet: The Candyman Mythos” Documentary
- “Clive Barker: Raising Hell” Interview
- Bernard Rose Storyboards
- Bonus Trailers