Thursday, September 28, 2017

Horror Classics: Candyman

This movie is so incredibly from the early '90s. I am pretty pumped. Let's do this!

Someone is whispering about blood under a bunch of bees. He's got a hook hand and wants to split you from your gut to your gullet. Now bees are attacking Chicago. Okay. Extremely young Virginia Madsen smokes and tells a story about a babysitter who invites over an old man Bad Boy to fuck her. But before they do, the teen says they should summon the Candyman in the mirror. They say his name four times as her date gropes her boobs. She stops him, saying, "No one ever got past four." She sends him downstairs, and then says "Candyman" one more time. She is killed and the baby too, and the boyfriend goes crazy. Some girl says her roommate's boyfriend knows him. VMads is like, "Okay." She goes to another room in the high school where some creep is telling another lady the babysitter roasted the kid. The ladies share cigarettes.

VMads walks into a large lecture hall where a dude talks about alligators in the sewer. He starts to talk about "modern oral folklore" (is that what they're calling it now? GET IT--ORAL?) and then a bell rings like it's high school. Apparently it's her husband and she interrupts "Stacey" who is a little flirty with the prof. His name his Trevor. VMads is pissed he's talking about urban legends this semester at the same time they're trying to collect data from the freshmen.

Later, at a real old computer with a blue screen, VMads transcribes her own interviews. At the sight of the computer, Isaac says, "He's a ghost and he writes to us." (Ghostwriter) There are lockers in the hall, so I keep thinking it's a high school, but it's clearly meant to be a college.The janitor lady overhears the interviews and knows about the Candyman. She calls her friend in from the hall to talk to the folklore ladies about someone they knew who was murdered by the Candyman in the Projects. VMads looks through microfilm at news stories of unsolved murders. She finds the story about the lady these women mentioned, Ruthie Jean, who was killed at Cabrini-Green. VMads has discovered that her swanky apartment building was originally built as a low-income housing project. She proves it to her pal by pointing out that there's no wall between her apartment and the next one, just two medicine cabinets, back to back. The Ruthie Jean story had a killer crawling through walls. They goad each other into repeating "Candyman" into the mirror. Only VMads says it the fifth time. VMads is sleeping. She hears a noise and asks if it's Trevor. There's no response but then he jumps on her in the dark and she screams until she realizes it's him. Fuck that guy.

Daytime: VMads' friend Bernadette has a bunch of mace and a taser in her purse as they return to Cabrini-Green. She thinks they're dressed like cops, which is bad since the neighborhood is held by gangs. They're going to write their thesis about everyday horrors being cast upon mythical creatures blahblahblah. Amazing multi-colored jackets on the youths that stare at them and then catcall them and ask them who they're going to see. The guys yell that they're police and they hear people running away. VMads takes a picture in the heavily-graffittied staircase. She takes one of some of the words: "Sweets to the Sweet." A woman with a vicious dog scares them off. They find the murder apartment. The door is ajar and apparently abandoned. Bernadette does not like what VMads is doing. Oh, I guess her character's name is Helen.

They go into the bathroom and open the cabinet. Helen takes a photo of the hole in the wall where the murderer came through. Helen's going to crawl through to the other side for some reason. She thinks it's abandoned and goes to explore. Oh man, film cameras. The '90s! Helen climbs through the hole in the wall. A face has been painted around it so that the hole is a mouth. There's some sweet keyboard music and Helen finds a stash of brightly-packaged candy. She finds a bloody razor blade inside one of them. Urban legend alert! She's run out of film and Bernadette says they have to go. The lady with the dog came to give them some shit about nosing around. Helen gives her her card and follows her back to her place where her baby is crying. VMads is giving me a strong early-seasons-of-The X-Files-Scully vibe. Anne-Marie is the neighbor's name. Her baby spits up on her. The lady knows they want to know about Ruthie Jean. Anne-Marie heard her screaming and called 911, but nobody came. She's scared of the Candyman.

Later at dinner with Trevor and some other douches. Helen and Bernadette chainsmoke. Academic Longhair calls them "beautiful graduate students." He wants to "review" their "data." Bernadette lets slip that they went to Cabrini Green. Longhair wrote a paper on Candyman TEN YEARS AGO, YOU STUPID GIRL. The legend is from 1890, he was the son of a slave and became a portrait painter. He knocked up a rich (white?) girl and was murdered at the command of the father. The mob sawed off his hand at Cabrini Green and threw the man to a hive of bees. He was stung to death, body burned, and ashes scattered on the land. So of course Helen goes back to the projects to take more pictures.

Anne-Marie isn't home, but Helen sees a kid in the hall and asks him about Ruthie Jean. He says he can't talk about it or Candyman will get her. He tells her she isn't safe alone there. She convinces him to show her "where Candyman is." They go outside where a bonfire is being constructed. The little boy says Candyman is in a public restroom outside. A little disabled boy was murdered there, horrifying a man who tried to intervene. The little boy was apparently castrated. "Better off dead," the kid tells Helen. She decides to go into the bathroom. Bad idea. Also, gross. "Sweets to the sweet" is written in what looks like shit on the wall and last stall. A shit arrow points down at the toilet, which is full of swarming bees. Outside, somebody comes up behind the boy Helen was talking to. The kid says "Candyman." Don't know if he's explaining or that guy IS Candyman. The guy has a long leather duster jacket and a hook. He's got youths with him and they surround her. "I hear you're looking for Candyman, bitch. Well, you found him." He has a funny accent. They beat her up.

I should clarify that Helen and her colleagues--besides Bernadette--are white and all the folks at Cabrini Green are black, so there's... kind of a lot going on here. A police lineup. Helen's eye is massively swollen shut. She identifies one of them. The cop says they knew he called Ruthie Jean and attacked the kid, but nobody at Cabrini Green would testify against him before because the police can't protect anybody living there. But now they have a white lady witness! Jake (the kid) says the Candyman is going to get him, but Helen says he wasn't real, just the name a bad man took. A while later, Trevor comes home to a fancy dinner. Her eye is just black now, hardly swollen anymore.

Helen goes back to work. Bernadette has some photos for her that apparently survived the attack. They're in slide form. Later, Helen is alone in the campus parking garage. Somebody in checkered pants and a sweet long pimp jacket walks towards her. "Helen," says a disembodied voice. She sees him standing across the parking lot. It's the real Candyman, bitch. "Do I know you?" He walks towards her and she's transfixed. He speaks without opening his mouth and she silently cries. She sees that the hook is crammed into his bloody stump. "Be my victim. I am the writing on the wall." Now we see bees. "Come with me." Helen wakes up and is all bloody. Anne-Marie's dog's head has been chopped off. Her baby is gone and there's blood everywhere. She chops Anne-Marie with the hatchet she's holding. Helen gets arrested. She cries as a lady cop orders her to take off her bloody clothes. She wants to shower. OMG.

Later she is in an interview room and the detective from her assault comes in and tells her she's been arrested and reads her her rights. Helen says she doesn't know where Anne-Marie's baby is. She wants to call her husband, but that bitch ain't home. He's off fucking Stacey. It's 3am. Helen smokes in her cell and flushes the butt. She has a vision of the baby with the Candyman. Trevor finally shows up. The press is crowded outside. They cover her in a jacket. On the news, they talk about Baby Anthony still being missing. She tells the lawyer she blacked out and doesn't remember anything. Trevor claims he was home last night, asleep. He's going to "stand by [her]" but he's got to go fuck his grad student now.

Helen drinks a delicious Budweiser and lights a cig. She decides to look at her slides from the apartment. These snapshots are very (suspiciously) artistically composed. In a shot of herself in the mirror, she sees a man in the background. She shuts off the projector and opens the curtains back up. She decides to go confront her own medicine cabinet. Suddenly a hook busts through. Helen runs outside and sees him in the hall. "Believe in me. Be my victim." She goes inside to call 911. He has the child, who will die in her place. She's destroyed his "congregation's" faith in him. I don't know why she has to come willingly, though.

Bernadette shows up with flowers. Helen tries to warn her away, but is incapacitated in the Candyman's presence. Bernadette comes in and Candyman kills her. Trevor finds Helen on the floor with a bloody knife. "Don't let him kill me, Trevor." She's been revived, handcuffed in her bed. She runs out and sees Bernadette in a pool of blood with some of the slides thrown on her body. "Why do you want to live?" says the Candyman. He claims being a legend is pretty sweet. Blood runs down the walls of the abandoned apartment and the baby cries. Helen leaves Trevor as she's wheeled into a psych ward. They've strapped her down. You're not going to get out of those restraints! Candyman floats above her and she screams that he's in the hospital room. They sedate her.

Fucking yes.
Back in the projects, Candyman hovers his hook over Baby Anthony and is maybe letting him suckle blood from his finger? Helen wakes up in the hospital and the orderly dude is a jerk to her. They're taking her to meet with someone named Dr. Burke. He looks like a psychologist. She's been in the hospital for a month while they stabilize her on thorazine. He's working for her defense. She's being charged with first-degree murder. He wants to know what happened in her apartment. She won't talk. He turns on surveillance footage of her screaming that the Candyman was there. Of course he's not on the video because of how he's a spectral presence and/or hallucination. She says she's not capable of doing what happened to Bernadette. Helen claims she can prove it and tries to call Candyman in the office mirror. He appears behind the psychologist and slices his back open. Oops! He slices her restraints, too, and she follows Candyman out the window. She then crawls in another room and steals a nurse's outfit after knocking her over. She uses the nurse's keys to open the elevator as cops run past. She wipes the blood off her face and runs back to her house.

She gets there and it's being painted pink. Stacey is there painting. Trevor tells her to get out. Stacey is scared. Fuck that bitch. "What's the matter, Trevor, scared of something? I hate the color scheme." She throws some pink paint at the wall. She tells Stacey to call the hospital and she cries. Fucking Trevor. Worthless piece of shit. "You were all I have left... It's over." She's gonna go to the Candyman now and help him with his congregation. He is way hotter than Trevor. TBH, she doesn't really have any options left. She can go back to the hospital and hope to get sentenced to a psychiatric facility forever. So she goes back to the projects and climbs through the ol' mirror.

Classic dead probably evil possibly past-life love Nice Guy move.
She finds a bunch of candles set up and some hooks hanging from a chain. She grabs one and crawls up into a hole in the ceiling. Another abandoned apartment, I guess. She finds an old mural of the Candyman before he got lynched back in the day. Candyman is sleeping on a table, apparently. Is she going to attack him? He wakes up as she tries to get him. She asks to exchange herself for the baby. She surrenders to him. He promises the pain will be "exquisite." He lifts up her skirt with the hook. He promises her immortality as bees come out of his mouth and his empty chest cavity. He open mouth kisses the bees into her. He goes and gets the baby who is apparently FINE, even after a month. Helen wakes up in the abandoned unit, also apparently fine, no bees to be found. Now there are candles everywhere and the words "It was always you, Helen" written over the mural. She sees her own face in the mural now. SHE WAS THE LOVER HE GOT LYNCHED FOR IN A PAST LIFE, I GUESS?

She goes outside into the bonfire junk pile, following the baby's cries. Jake wakes up somewhere and looks outside. He says, "He's here." Helen loses her hook as the residents come outside with gasoline and torches. She finds the baby in the pile. "I knew you'd come," Candyman says, covering her mouth as the fire rises around them and the crowd chants, "Burn him." Candyman claims they're already dead, but she wants to save the baby. She stabs him with a burning stick and tries to escape. She's on fire now, but manages to crawl out of the fire as he screams, "Come back to me!" Bystanders put her out as she hands Anne-Marie her baby. The Candyman screams and burns. How is he burning, isn't he a ghost? Bees burst out of the fire. Jake sees him in the fire.

Helen is buried. Trevor and Stacey and like two other people are at her graveside. It's the department douchebags. Suddenly Anne-Marie and her neighbors show up to the funeral. Trevor is confused about why there are a bunch of black people there. Jake has an adorable bowtie, and no family, apparently. He drops the hook into her grave.

#NeverForget the "murder by bees" subplot.
Later, Trevor is sad or something. Stacey wants to know if he's okay. God, that apartment is so pink. She wears no bra and a basically see-through shirt. She's pissed and he's hiding in the bathroom. Who could've predicted that this relationship wouldn't work out that well? He misses Helen. He cries against the medicine cabinet as Stacey angrily cuts meat in the kitchen. He says Helen's name five times into the mirror and a bald, burnt Helen shows up behind him. "What's the matter, Trevor, scared of something?" She guts him with a hook and really, really enjoys it. Stacey finds him even as she holds a giant kitchen knife. Now there's a sainthood painting of Helen in the abandoned apartment. Nice.

I thought that was going to be super-cheesy, but it was actually pretty good. Yea!

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