Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Candyman

A sequence of (so far) two movies.

1. Candyman US movie (1992). Polygram/Propaganda/Candyman Films. Pr Steve Golin, Alan Poul, Sigurjon Sighvatsson. Exec pr Clive Barker. Dir Bernard Rose. Mufx Bob Keen. Vfx Cruse & Company. Spfx Martin Bresin. Screenplay Rose. Based on "The Forbidden" (1985) by Barker. Starring Xander Berkeley (Trevor Lyle), Dejuan Guy (Jake), Kasi Lemmons (Bernadette Walsh), Carolyn Lowery (Stacey), Virginia Madsen (Helen Lyle), Tony Todd (Candyman), Vanessa Williams (Anne-Marie McCoy). 93 mins. Colour.

Urban-Legend researcher Lyle investigates the tale of Candyman, a slave's son who impregnated a landowner's daughter and was punished by having a hand sawn off and being stung to death by bees: if you say his name five times into a Mirror, he appears and guts you with the hook he has in place of that hand. This figure is currently linked with a Serial Killer's activities in the slums. The Ghost Candyman appears to Lyle and, as her private life collapses, becomes her sole point of stability. At last she makes a Contract with him: he may take her life if he spares that of an abducted baby. This contract he fulfils, but not before explaining he is merely her psychological projection, and that she has been the killer all along.

This excellent Horror Movie/Psychological Thriller is also a complex fantasy. Of especial note is the lure with which Candyman draws Lyle to her death: the state of being an urban legend is preferable to mere life, for as the former one will be revered through the terror of countless anonymous humans, a name on every lip, without the tedium of actually being. [JG]

2. Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh US movie (1995). Propaganda/PolyGram. Pr Gregg D Feinberg, Sigurjon Sighvatsson. Exec pr Clive Barker. Dir Bill Condon. Spfx John Hartigan, Gary L King. Vfx Paul Gray, John P Mesa, Andrew Naud, Daniel Radford. Screenplay Mark Kruger, Rand Ravich. Based on "The Midnight Meat Train" by Barker. Starring Timothy Carhart (Paul McKeever), Veronica Cartwright (Octavia Tarrant), Michael Culkin (Phillip Purcell), William O'Leary (Ethan Tarrant), Kelly Rowan (Annie Tarrant), Tony Todd (Candyman). Voice actor Russell Buchanan (Kingfish). 95 mins. Colour.

1 told a complete tale, so this sequel is gratuitous; its purpose seems to be, as Kim Newman has observed, to be a launchpad for a series like the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, with Candyman elevated to the status of an admired Monster somewhere between that series's Freddy Krueger and Pinhead, from the Hellraiser sequence. Such plot as there is involves much slaughter of lesser characters until plucky teacher Annie Tarrant banishes Candyman, her ancestor, by smashing a Mirror. What was interesting about the original Candyman – its exploitation of the notion of Urban Legend – is here lost. [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.