Posts Tagged ‘Candyman’

30 Days Challenge: Film Pt. 5

July 6, 2020


25 – A film you like that is not set in the current era

The Sting was made in the 1970s but is set in the mid-1930s. It stars Robert Redford and Paul Newman. It is one of the most quintessential con/heist movies in film history. Basically, the movie is a revenge story of a group of ‘honest’ criminals coming together to take out a violent crime boss. In some movies, this would be done by storming something and people getting gunned down over and over until somebody yields. In this movie, they decide to both embarrass and bankrupt their target. The movie has a lot of fun twists and turns and keeps you guessing until the end. Redford is arguably the main character as a hustler who goes on a journey to learn the ‘big con’ in order to achieve greater success and revenge. Paul Newman is also excellent as the mentor figure who comes up with the plan. A classic movie with a great plot.


26 – A film you like that is adapted from somewhere

At first glance, this movie is just a fun romp through the Southern United States during the mid-1930s (again). The movie is actually a loose adaptation of The Odyssey, a Greek epic poem (sequel to The Illiad) about the hero Odysseus’ long trip back from the Trojan War which is cursed by Poseidon. There is a cyclops, Sirens/Witches that turn people into animals, Lotus Eaters (who are actually Baptists), and so many more. It is a really clever take on the poem with certain things popping up that just fit with the famous book so well. The movie also mixes in a lot of the mythology of the Southern United States. For example, we have a stand-in for Robert Johnson and his famous deal with the devil. George Clooney is excellent as the central figure and Oddyseus stand-in. However, I really have to give more credit to John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson who are both brilliant as his compatriots. Nelson is especially great as the movie’s comic relief. Also a shout out to Charles Durning who once again plays a somewhat crooked and disingenuous politician. The movie is beautiful and it has one of the best all-time soundtracks.


27 – A film that is visually striking to you

I had to go with the original Candyman because of the imagery and the set design. Filmed in the actual since-demolished Cabrini-Green projects, the movie is fairly simple but brilliant. The movie has such good symbolism and imagery for a horror movie, similar to dreamlike imagery in Nightmare on Elm Street and Prom Night 2. However, a lot of it takes you by surprise. Some of it is even startling graffiti in the background which mostly covers a plot point that is only touched on. I wonder if the new version will go more into depth with it. Bees are featured prominently and that is incredibly strong imagery for me since I am very scared of bees. The movie plays a lot with allegorical and dream symbols which give more of an inner look to the title character rather than his victims.


28 – A film that made you feel uncomfortable

As a horror aficionado, a lot of films have definitely given me the willies and I considered using them. However, instead, I will go with the first movie I can remember that really gave me the willies (pun intended). The Temple of Doom has a startling amount of gross-out moments. There is the famous dinner scene with delicacies like monkey brains, tiger eye soup, snake surprise, and fresh beetles. Not exactly my cup of tea when I was a little kid and the scene is designed to make you squirm. Speaking of squirming, there is a scene when Willie has to press a switch to save Short Round and Indy but the alcove where the switch is is filled with all sorts of creepy-crawly insects. It made me shudder even as I was cursing her for hesitating. There is also the famous scenes of people’s hearts being pulled out of chests. On top of that, I was always grossed out by the scene where Indy is poisoned, just the look on Ford’s face as he acts it out.


29 – A film that makes you feel good

Hellboy was the movie that made me fall in love with Guillermo Del Toro but also Ron Perlman. The movie is very dark but Perlman’s Hellboy keeps cracking jokes and never gives up. The dialogue is also really good. The movie is about a group of misfits who are fighting against impossible odds. Perlman is so damn charismatic. However, we also have David Hyde Pierce with the beautiful movements of Doug Jones. Selma Blair is pitch-perfect as a pessimist who learns some optimism. John Hurt has the best dry sense of humor. There is also Jeffrey Tambor and Rupert Evans who are great as well. The movie is made by the dialogue and chemistry but the visuals also knock it out of the park. Part of what further endears this movie to me is the awesome director commentary and also a separate cast commentary with Ron Perlman. Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor, and Rupert Evans which both feel like watching the movie with friends.


30 – A film with your favorite ending

There were a lot of good choices here but I finally went with The Thing because the ending really stuck with me and continues to stick with me. I found myself nodding as it was happening and just thinking it was perfect as the credits rolled. For those who do not remember, The Thing is about a shape-shifting alien that slowly takes over a research base in Antarctica. After the base explodes, only two people remain alive: MacReady and Childs. The viewer cannot be a hundred percent sure that either is an alien or not. MacReady and Childs cannot be sure either. There is a silent agreement between the two as they realize that it does not really matter. They start to share a bottle of scotch as they slowly begin to freeze to death. That way, The Thing would surely be killed as well. Besides, they are in the middle of nowhere with no way of escape or shelter. It is an oddly hopeful ending for a dismal result.

Media Update 1/9/20

January 9, 2020


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

I have been a Star Wars fan since I first saw the original movie as a kid. Our family had a whole bunch of the Kenner action figures at some point. I’ve seen every movie and played a whole bunch of the video games. I have even read some books. Still, I’m not one *those* fans who feel such ownership for the series (often also combined with hate for it). I enjoyed the movie. Did I have problems with it? Absolutely. Most of it was disappointments about what they decided to focus on versus what they had set up. I was a fan of The Last Jedi and the wild choices it made which I thought would set up an interesting new direction. However, they decided to play it safe and that worked out as well. Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Anthony Daniels did a great job as usual. Everybody else from previous movies had some fun cameos but had very little to do. That’s fine except for Kelly Marie Tran and Lupita Nyong’o who they should have given actual screen time to. Still, I got caught up in the nostalgic rush and Rian Johnson will be just fine. The action scenes are awesome and there are a lot of feel-good moments to close out what ended up being a decades-long story. There was more to like than to dislike and it was fine. I recommend it. Just go ahead and watch it if you’re on the fence.


Dark Phoenix

I have been a fan of the Fox X-Men franchise since X-Men (2000) first came out. Technically, Fox has been killing it with the X-Men franchise since the early nineties. Now that Disney has bought Fox, that chapter is now over. As far as I know, only one film remains and then it’s done. Anyway, X-Men First Class breathed new life into the franchise and allowed for a little more freedom. This is the final movie in that part of the franchise as well. Once again James MacAvoy and Michael Fassbender return to deliver strong performances. Nicholas Hoult gets to step up and so does Tye Sheridan. However, Sophie Turner went from a few minutes in the previous movie to really carry this whole movie on her shoulders. She did a really good job with what she had to work with. Jessica Chastain ended up being a pretty neat villain, kind of balancing out all of the very male energy. It was a bit of a mess but, like Star Wars, it was a fun mess. The only real complaint I have is that part of the reason I watch X-Men movies is to see new mutants interpreted by the franchise and there was not much here. I recommend this as well but only for people who want to watch the other parts of the franchise.


Candyman: Day of the Dead

What? Halloween is 365 days a year in my world. Besides, Jordan Peele is working on a remake so I need to finish the original trilogy. The first Candyman is a classic and the second one was a strong continuation of the original concept. The first film covered the Cabrini-Green legends. The second film covered Mardi Gras. It seems fitting that the final installment would take place during Mexico’s Dias de la Muerta celebration. The franchise tries really hard to create a legend based around black culture (and touches on other people of color). The franchise also features a series of white women being terrorized by a black man and somehow the black man is not really the villain. The movies are about karma, the hate that springs from prejudice, and the hate crimes that go unpunished. The movies are all fairly trippy and moody and just so fun visually. Part of that is because such good (and surreal) art is usually involved in the making of each movie. Like previous entries, it also has a crapton of bees in it. That said, this is definitely the weakest entry in the series. Still, it stars the wonderful charismatic Tony Todd who plays a truly iconic horror villain.

 

Music of the Week:
Pale Waves – Television Romance

Otoboke Beaver – Don’t Light My Fire

The HU – Wolf Totem

Todrick – DRIPEESHA

Beabadoobee – I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Closing Out the Arc”
– I finished Runaways Season 1
– I finished Prodigal Son Season 1
– I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 8
– I watched more Scream Season 1
– I watched more Penn and Teller’s Bullshit Season 3
– I watched more Brooklyn 99 Season 3
– I watched more Ducktales Season 1
– I watched more Carmen Sandiego Season 2
– I watched more Blue Bloods Season 9
– I watched more Stumptown Season 1
– I watched more The Crown Season 3
– I started watching Sailor Moon Crystal Season 1
– I started watching Community Season 6
– Why, yes I have had the flu lately

Media Update 10/18/18

October 18, 2018


Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995)
(I previously reviewed Candyman)

Last year, I reviewed Candyman, a horror movie about urban legends set in Chicago’s infamous Cabrini-Green public housing project. It was filmed on location and it explored the racial divide, class systems, and the truth behind urban legends. This movie attempted to introduce a more cohesive and personal plot into the franchise. The movie stars Kelly Rowan, a teacher of disadvantaged kids in New Orleans with a family with a dark and troubled past. She runs afoul of Candyman, again played by Tony Todd. Todd is so good in the role, with his dark and smooth voice being creepy and commanding physical presence. They bring back the awesome graffiti and production design from the original movie. I guess the only complaint I have is that they retconned the character of Candyman in this movie. However, it is a weak complaint as it creates a stronger story based on race and also makes him a more complex character instead of just a boogeyman. With the retcon, it felt like they expanded the lore of Candyman and made him more of a threat. Also, throughout the movie, we hear exposition and ominous dialogue from a local radio DJ narrating the days leading up to Mardi Gras. He is played by Russell Buchanan and they did a great job of making him into an actual character rather than just a plot device. I definitely recommend this one in addition to the first Candyman. (Oh! And trigger warning, there are a million bees in this movie.)


Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood (2003)
(I previously reviewed Leprechaun 3)

I have had this one in my back pocket for a while now and I honestly needed a bit of a break halfway through the month. I love the Leprechaun franchise and I am a big fan of Warwick Davis in general. In the first four Leprechaun movies, he terrorizes white people so they decided to make two movies where he visits ‘the hood’. This movie is his second visit and it is just good stupid fun. The victims are all pretty unlikable and the Leprechaun almost comes off as a hero in this one. Sadly, there are no stars in this one other than Warwick Davis (the last one had Ice-T and Coolio). Compared to movies like Candyman, it is a bit insulting to the black experience which is unfortunate. (Note: I am a white male so it might be extremely insulting or not insulting at all. I just saw it as a bit problematic). Still, there is some gory fun and some slapstick humor from Davis that felt true to the original. It is also really hard to dislike Warwick Davis as he is charming in every single role he has ever done. Also also, it has a really cool animated intro that should get more love. I recommend it for a good background or a stupid horror movie binge.


Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998)
(I previously reviewed Phantasm V: Ravager)

Last year I became obsessed with catching the last entry in the series (since it was in some theaters) and it was appropriately trippy. I am a fan of the franchise but, like many long-running horror franchises, I just have not caught all of the entries. This movie is just as strange yet interesting as the rest of the franchise. The movies are very much written with the same feeling. They are part Evil Dead and part David Lynch which is a pretty unique combination. The characters deliver one-liners and combat supernatural creatures while trying to maintain their sanity. There is also a touch of comedy. The rest of the movie is strange and floaty and that is usually where they explore the lore through a lot of body horror and unsettling imagery. The body horror was the creepiest part of the movie to me (as long-time readers would guess). From the first time I was introduced to this franchise, I was grossed out by it but not in a way that turned me off. My favorite part of the movie is hands down Angus Scrimm, who plays the villain The Tall Man. He has such a sinister air and such a nice deep, rich voice. After that, I really love Reggie who is played by Reggie Bannister who is the action hero of the movie more or less. This movie also explores a bit more of the lore of the franchise while keeping things a little bit vague moving forward. I definitely recommend the franchise but do not start with this one.

Next Week’s Spooky Schedule:

October 22 – Hell Fest (2018)

October 24 – The Witch (2015)

October 25 – Media Update – Halloween Television

October 26 – Prom Night (1980)

October 27 – Aftershocks: Playthings Pt. 4

 

Halloween Music of the Week:
Mushroomhead – Out of My Mind

Bianca – Kate Nyx – Sage & Silver Bullets

Witchtrap – Nightmares Of The Dead

Ghost – From The Pinnacle To The Pit

Benedictum-Beast In the Field

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Halloween Sequels 3”
– Fun fact: All of this edition’s movies earned a 25% on Rotten Tomatoes.
– I watched more Gotham Season 4
– I watched more The Good Place Season 2
– I finished watching Iron Fist Season 2
– I watched more Barry Kramer on YouTube
– As always, I watched more Critical Role

Candyman (1992)

October 30, 2017

99 minutes – Rated R for gore, psychological trauma, language, and NOT THE BEES!

I remember walking to the comic book shop when I was younger and carrying home a bundle of comic books. When I was ten, there were ads on the back of some of those comic books for a movie called Candyman. I had not yet watched any horror movies yet but I already appreciated the darker imagery. However, what scared me immediately was that there were bees on the mini poster. I have been deathly afraid of bees for a long time now. I never had a good relationship with the stinging insects but that relationship took a dive when I was little. I was hanging out in my family’s backyard near the woods and I pulled on a vine, probably to test it for Tarzan-like properties. Immediately once I yanked the vine, I was swarmed by a whole nest of bees. All of my senses were overwhelmed with pain and chaos and I had to be told what happened next. My mother ran to the rescue, pulled my shirt off and swatted the bees away with it. It took a long time for me to physically recover but I have never looked at bees the same way again after that.

The nineties seemed to be full of both slasher movies and urban legends. The early nineties were pre-internet and we got a lot of our urban legends from word of mouth. That meant that they spread slower but it also meant that a lot of them stayed less pure. As we saw with old fairy tales, as soon as cultures collided, tales seemed to merge. Perrault and Grimm seemed to dominate over any other tellings of other stories. Certain versions of tales are probably lost to time as certain authors or storytellers became more popular. Similarly, we learned one basic version of certain urban legends like Bloody Mary or the Guy With a Hook for a Hand. When the internet really fired up, these urban legends came to be called ‘creepypasta’ and you could immediately google the original version and every variation anybody ever wrote. While one author dominated, they no longer overwrote all previous versions. I am not sure which one I like better but there is something scarier when somebody is telling you a story across a campfire than reading it on the screen of a computer.

The movie was made in 1992 so the film quality is not that great. For some reason, movies started to look a little washed out in the 90s. Still, as long as you’re expecting it, it’s not a problem. Much of the movie is set in and around Chicago’s legendary/notorious Cabrini-Green projects. There is so much attention to detail in a lot of the sets. A derelict set of apartments looks as decrepit and dirty as real derelict buildings I have been in. Special care is given to really awesome (and creepy) graffiti related to the killer. Much of the filming was done in the real Cabrini-Green to make it more realistic (actual gang members were used as extras). The blood effects and the prosthetics are so good but of course they are, it’s a Clive Barker movie. So, how were the bees? They were absolutely terrifying every time they were on screen and each appearance was worse than the last. Way more terrifying than those TV movies about real-life killer bees even. The thought that they are all real and were specifically bred for the movie is even scarier. Finally, the atmosphere was definitely helped by the addition of a spot-on Phillip Glass organ, voice and piano score.

The movie stars Virginia Madsen, a woman whose voice I have heard a lot of in cartoons. She is a dogged academic trying to research urban legends and she gets intrigued by a killer known as Candyman. There is a joy and excitement in her performance early in the movie as she pursues stories and does the necessary research. She is joined by her research partner played by Kasi Lemmons. Now, usually it would not be important but Madsen is white and Lemmons is black. Candyman himself is also black (played by Tony Todd). So, the movie is about a white academic delving into black urban legends and quickly getting over her head. The acting really reflects that as Madsen happily acts clueless while Lemmons often acts as the voice of reason, trying to protect her oblivious white friend. We also have Vanessa Williams giving a great performance as a resident of the projects who provides them with more information. Madsen is perfect as a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Tony Todd is so great as Candyman. It takes a lot of charisma to be horror movie monster without something obscuring the face like a mask or a disfigurement. A handsome slasher is hard to pull off but this movie definitely did it.

Overall, I really liked the movie. I had been lead to believe that the movie was just another nineties slasher movie but it felt like a lot more than that. The movie was psychological in ways that I was not expecting. The story also had a bunch of twists that I did not fully expect. It also attempted to approach the subject of class and race differences, even including references to slavery. The same cultural power imbalance that led to places like Cabrini-Green being constructed and getting as bad as they have.


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