Directed and Screenplay by Bernard Rose Story by Clive Barker
Whether you’ve heard any “real” stories or not people usually carry on tales of Urban Legends. They are in part, why we fear going to the bathroom mirror with the light off and repeating a name too frightened to see. Why we may hesitate to flash anther car whose lights are not on. The legend of the hooked man being a most popular one portrayed in I Know What You Did Last Summer and briefly touched upon in the teen thriller Urban Legend. This movie took place in Cabrini-Green; the projects located on Chicago’s north side and also set in the film as such. Everything seeming okay for the majority of filming, even giving some of the kids parts in the film. But one day, a single bullet went through one of their trucks from on top the roof and they quickly made their way out after getting their scenes shot. Most everyone knows by now, and if not ta-da!, that real bees were used in this film, even when in Tony Todd’s mouth. Another added element (which some may choose to not believe) was that a hypnotist was brought onto set to put Virginia Madsen under. The director was given a word in which it was supposed to put her under the same trance. Which became incorporated into the film and in some cases, Madsen not recalling entire days on set. All being too much for her though said when watching the scenes, very clear of her being under. The reason for Bernard wanting that change being that he was sick of seeing the victim always screaming their head off when around the killer and believed the effect of her being hypnotized to be more enticing.
The beginning shot of the movie was a great way to introduce the city to then switch to a swarm of bees with Candyman’s (Todd) voice slowly sweeping over the city. Who better to play the tall, hooked figure with a voice as his? I say, nobody. Helen (Madsen) is told a scary story from a friend who insists on it being true. Involving a babysitter who one night after a boy pulled up, who she wasn’t even going with, decided that tonight would be the night. Going to the restroom to tell the story of Candyman, who had a hook jammed into his bloody stump and if looking into the mirror and repeating his name 5 times, would appear. Helen then travels to a lecture class in which she sits in and we soon discover it to be her husband Trevor’s (Xander Berkeley) class. Questioning him on a female student and then scolding for the fact of teaching urban legends despite aware of her and Bernadette’s (Kasi Lemmons) research for their thesis. Later working on her paper and hearing a story from one of the janitors about a woman who had called the police about a man coming through the wall which they easily discarded. Calling once again, they later arrived to find her body mutilated with a hook left behind. She begins to search for articles on Candyman and discusses them with Bernadette. Showing how her apartment had been where the murders happened with a hole leading past her bathroom window, meekly separated by a cabinet. They then do the stupidest thing one could while already being in the world of supernatural…feeding into the tale and saying Candyman’s name 5 times.
Next they go to the project building and after a slight run-in with some guys hanging outside the building, are warned to the other tenants of “cops” coming up. They see “Sweets to the Sweet” spray painted on the walls. Entering the bathroom the murder was said to have occurred in as Helen then enters the mirror (idiota!). A later visit to the same place finds herself talking with a little boy who claimed he was unable to say anything or Candyman would get him. Instead, he takes her to a location where a boy was said to have been killed, after some time inside is harassed by a Candyman wannabe; later picking him out of a lineup. Taking notice of her terribly beaten eye. Walking back to her car and given the pictures she thought were destroyed and receives her first encounter with…he who shall not be named! A soft whisper of her name beckons as he’s seen across the parking garage. Hypnotized by his voice and asked to come with, she wakes in the middle of a bathroom surrounded in blood. Piercing screams coming from a distant bedroom as a woman stands over an empty crib with a hacked up dog nearby. Taken to the police station and forced to remove each piece of clothing, told she would be under arrest.
Released the next morning and picked up by her husband, (who hadn’t picked up her call at 3 that morning). Questioning his motives as his student crosses her mind once again. In the restroom a hook crashes through the window but is found at every exit when trying to escape. Visited by Bernadette who falls victim to Candyman with her husband later coming home to discover her on the floor and covered in blood once again. Admitted to a hospital and strapped to a gurney while claiming that “he” was close; only wanting one kiss and to take her away from everything. (That’s all) Bargaining for her companionship and using the child to get what desired. Though she’s later taken to a doctor, all the while asking to speak with her husband, is told that she had been in the institution for the past month. Charged with first degree murder and the psychiatrist being the one handling her trial. She’s showed tapes of when the supposed killer had appeared to her to show no one there but herself. Saying she could control it and calling for him once again to have the doctor killed before her eyes and told that tonight she would be his. She escapes back home and finds mostly everything packed away as the student she had suspected is painting her house a different color. Helen, stating that she wasn’t a murderer, returns to the same window first crawled through in order to settle the matter once and for all. She finds Candyman’s body laid out and approaches as she surrenders herself with bees encompassing her entire body as he takes him the baby away. After awaking and her only thought being to save the child, she crawls her way to the top of a mountain of junk outside to retrieve him. Falling into a trap simultaneously as kids light the pile on fire, believing only the man to be inside. Burnt yet making her way out, she’s able to save the baby which couldn’t be said about her hair or her life.
A great twist and scare at the end was a nice way to bring everything together. I think every time I see this movie I jump at the same parts or catch myself holding my breath for quite some time. Todd has such an engaging presence about himself as is his deep tone and soft whispers, making for a great image of Candyman. Madsen had some nice piercing eyes and an innocence at fighting for her sanity that kept the audience on her side and glad to see her back at the end for a bit of revenge. Quite the twisted story about love we have here wouldn’t you say? Wanting to be a part of her life and seeing himself as more deserving of her attention, he was relentless in his quest of capturing her heart as well as her soul. But go on…I dare you to say his name five times!