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Candyman (film): Wikis


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Directed by Bernard Rose
Produced by Clive Barker
Steve Golin
Written by Bernard Rose
Starring Virginia Madsen
Tony Todd
Xander Berkeley
Vanessa A. Williams
Music by Philip Glass
Cinematography Anthony B. Richmond
Editing by Dan Rae
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release date(s) October 16, 1992
Running time 99 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8,000,000 (estimated)[citation needed]
Gross revenue $25,792,310 (sub-total)
Followed by Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh

Candyman is a 1992 slasher film starring Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd and Xander Berkeley. It was directed by Bernard Rose and is based on the short story "The Forbidden" by Clive Barker, though the film's scenario is switched from England to the United States (specifically Chicago). The film was scored by Philip Glass. The film was met with critical acclaim and was a box office success. Candyman is the first film in a trilogy which includes Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh and Candyman 3: Day of the Dead.



Helen Lyle is a graduate student conducting research for her thesis on urban legends. While interviewing freshmen about their superstitions, she hears about a local legend known as Candyman, the son of a slave who was brutally tortured and murdered because of a love affair with the daughter of a local (white) plantation owner. According to the legend, anyone who looks into a mirror and chants his name five times will summon him, but at the cost of the individual's own life, similar to the Bloody Mary folkloric tale. Helen believes that Candyman cannot exist and jokingly calls his name in the mirror in her house.

To further explore the urban legend, Helen enters the notorious gang-ridden territory known as the Cabrini-Green housing projects, the site of a recent unsolved murder of Ruthie Jean, a woman who claimed someone was coming through her walls. On her second visit to the projects, Helen meets a young single mother, Anne-Marie McCoy. She then encounters a young boy who takes her to a bathroom where a brutal attack on a mentally-handicapped child had taken place. She finds one toilet full of bees and the words "Sweets to the Sweet" written on the walls, which had been seen earlier in the housing project. As she is leaving, she is stopped by a gang and attacked by a man with a hook. This man turns out to be a drug dealer who has assumed the name "Candyman" to enhance his own street credibility by associating himself with the legend. The police identify him as the murderer of Ruthie Jean, leading Helen to believe her search has reached a dead end.

After recovering from her attack, Helen walks through a parking garage on the day she returns to school. She is entranced by a voice calling her name who then reveals himself to be the Candyman of the urban legend. Candyman states that because of Helen's disbelief, he must show her that he is in fact real. She blacks out and later wakes up in a pool of blood, finding herself in the apartment of Anne-Marie, who is screaming for her baby, who is missing. The apartment is covered in the blood of Anne-Marie's decapitated rottweiler. Hysterical, Anne-Marie attacks Helen on sight, and Helen is forced to defend herself with a meat cleaver she has found on the floor. The police then enter the apartment and arrest Helen.

While in jail after being harshly interrogated by her former police friend, Helen is allowed one phone call, which she uses to call her husband, Trevor, and is dismayed to find he's not home. The next morning, he arrives to bail her out of jail and take her home.

When Trevor leaves to run an errand that night, Helen is left alone and is again approached by Candyman, who cuts the back of Helen's neck and causes her to bleed. Too weakened from the loss of blood to scream out, Helen is unable to warn away her friend Bernadette, who is brutally murdered by Candyman. Trevor arrives home, finds Bernadette's body, and calls the police, who take Helen to a psychiatric hospital where she is restrained and sedated.

After a month's stay at the hospital, Helen is then told that her trial is coming soon and she needs to have an interview with a psychologist. While restrained, Helen attempts to convince the psychiatrist that she is not crazy, first by denying culpability in the murders, and then by summoning Candyman. A few moments later Candyman appears and murders the doctor, after which Helen escapes the Hospital to her own apartment. There she finds that Trevor is with another woman, Stacey, one of his students. Helen then heads to Candyman's hideout to confront him and to save Anne-Marie's baby. Candyman predicts that Helen will help carry on his tradition of inciting fear into a community, and promises to release the baby if Helen agrees to sacrifice herself. Instead of holding his end of the bargain, Candyman takes both the baby and Helen into the middle of a massive junk pile which the residents have been planning to turn into a bonfire; he intends to sacrifice the two of them, in order to feed his own legend.

The residents of Cabrini-Green, who believe Candyman is inside, attempt to bring justice by burning the junk pile with Helen still inside. Helen manages to rescue the baby, but dies from burns in the process. Candyman also burns up in the fire, leaving only his hook-hand behind.

During Helen's funeral, Anne-Marie and the other residents of Cabrini-Green arrive to pay their respects to Helen for saving them from Candyman and for rescuing the child. The young boy who Helen met earlier at Cabrini-Green throws Candyman's hook-hand into Helen's grave as a token of apology from Anne-Marie for falsely accusing her for her infant's kidnapping, and as a trophy for ridding Cabrini-Green of Candyman.

After the funeral, Trevor stands before a mirror and chants Helen's name in grief, unintentionally summoning her vengeful spirit as a result, in a manner identical to the Candyman ritual. Helen kills Trevor with Candyman's hook, leaving Trevor's new lover Stacey with his bloodied corpse as Helen becomes the new supernatural killer, fulfilling Candyman's prophecy.

Differences between story and film

The short story concentrates solely on Helen and features Candyman in the last couple of pages only. The horror film is more of a slasher-film in comparison. Candyman was summoned by rumors and urban legends in a desolate and poor community, and the purported legend about saying his name five times is not featured anywhere in the story.


The film has a 74% "fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes.[1]

The film came in at number 75 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments[2].

The character Candyman came in at number 8 on Bloody Disgusting's "The Top 13 Slashers in Horror Movie History"[3] and ranked the same on Ugo's "Top Eleven Slashers"[4].

The actor who played Candyman, Tony Todd, made #53 on Retrocrush's "The 100 Greatest Horror Movie Performances" for his role.[5]

The movie appears in two sections of, in "Greatest Scariest Movie Moments and Scenes"[6] and "Greatest Movie Twists, Spoilers and Surprise Endings"[7].


Actor / Actress Character
Virginia Madsen Helen Lyle
Tony Todd The Candyman
Xander Berkeley Trevor Lyle
Vanessa A. Williams Anne-Marie McCoy
Kasi Lemmons Bernadette 'Bernie' Walsh
Bernard Rose Archie Walsh
Gilbert Lewis Detective Frank Valento
Stanley DeSantis Dr. Burke
Eric Edwards Harold
Rusty Schwimmer Policewoman
Michael Culkin Professor Philip Purcell
DeJuan Guy Jake
Marianna Elliott Clara
Ria Pavia Monica
Carolyn Lowery Stacy
Lisa Ann Poggi Diane
Adam Philipson Danny
Barbara Alston Henrietta Mosely
Sarina C. Grant Kitty Culver

See also

  • Bloody Mary (Jerry Garza)


External links

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