Horror lovers will likely crucify me if they learn that I had never seen the 1992s until this last weekend Candy man. In fact, I didn’t even know what Candy man until the sequel by Jordan Peele and Nia DaCosta caught my eye.

Can you embarrass me After all, I’ve seen a number of sequels, reboots, and remakes from Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Chucky, and Michael Myers over the years, but for some reason I never saw Tony Todd’s hook-sporting villain alongside his Hollywood horror Compatriots. Indeed, until I saw Candy man, my appreciation for Todd came from his brief but effective performance as a very different kind of “man” in Michael Bays The stone:

I remember friends talking about it Candy man in high school, but my wild imagination assumed it was more like this:


All in all, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I sat down to watch Bernard Rose’s award-winning film (based on The forbidden by Clive Barker). To be honest, I was pretty impressed.

Candy man has its fair share of violent, bloody moments, but the film never sinks into slasher film territory. In fact, the entire production was way more artistic than I expected and does a good job of developing their characters, building suspense, and building their creepy plot.

RELATED: Candyman Spooks The Box Office, Surpassing $ 20 Million In First Weekend

In other words, this feels more like a precursor to Hereditary and Midsummer than anything that includes machetes and masked boogie men.

Surprisingly, Rose (based on Steven Spielbergs jaw) keeps the title villain off-screen until about halfway through the film, and cleverly spends the first half following Virginia Madsen’s graduate Helen Lyle as she explores Candyman’s tragic backstory.

In a way, you actually empathize with Candyman, or at least understand why he’s doing what he’s doing.

Rose and Cinematographer Anthony B. Richmond did a great job using ghastly imagery and uniquely designed sets like this one:

They also sprinkle in some social comments. At some point, Helen is attacked by a gang and realizes that the news is making a big deal of the assault on a white woman, but nothing about the numerous victims killed in the projects every day.

In fact, as the videos above explain, Candyman’s love affair with a married white woman resulted in his torture and ultimately death by bees in the late 19th century.

Speaking of which, there are a lot of bees in this flick, especially in the most memorable scene in the film where Todd makes them crawl gleefully all over their mouths:

As if that wasn’t enough, Helen is also painted as a tragic figure. In fact, Candyman could even be called the story of her origins, as everything that happens during the course of the film – especially regarding her bastard husband – leads to her eventual transformation into an urban myth ala Candyman.

The character also doesn’t deserve anything from the bull that’s thrown at them, which makes the story all the more heartbreaking. But hey, that makes for a compelling movie theater and leads to some really amazing moments like the moment Helen wakes up and a bloody one right after her first encounter with Candyman Male cat Moment.

Later, Candyman shockingly kills her psychiatrist before performing an inverted Peter Pan right out the window:

Crazy stuff.

There are other brutal scenes, but surprisingly, much of the carnage is seen only afterwards – which makes it all the more effective.

In everything, Todd and Madsen are great on screen together. The latter carries the film on her shoulders and does a good job even in the midst of some really terrible acting from some of the supporting cast – seriously, what about this actress who plays the girlfriend?

All of these elements come together to form a surprisingly complicated horror film that opts for deep cuts over tired jump scares. And while the sequels sound more like the movie, I thought Candy man should, the original deserves greater recognition as a uniquely crafted ’90s horror film that is sure to stay with you long after the credits roll.

Special thanks also go to Philip Glass, whose synth-heavy score effectively drives the narrative forward. Am I the only one whose love is too Rugrats became clouded immediately after listening to the music?