Candyman

There’s exactly one movie on this planet that ever terrified me enough to give me lasting nightmares and long term issues with mirrors at night. This is that movie.

I started my horror movie watching early in life, so I can’t be sure why this one triggered that much fear in me when nothing else had. Perhaps it was the fact that it was watched late at night, during a storm, with all the girls from my Girl Scout troupe. They were all very screamy and terrified through the whole thing. For hours after they talked very specifically about how scary the movie was, and all refused to go to the bathroom alone. They jumped at every sound and were generally skittish about everything.
For a month after I would jump at my own reflection and I had dreams about my fellow Girl Scouts being ripped to bits. Bloody, horrible, graphic dreams.

As a person who has been independent most of her life, and never susceptible to suggestion like this, I can’t for the life of me figure out how this happened. The only part there that’s certain is that I had the fear. It was at least 6 years before I could even bring myself to watch it again. This right here is the first time since then that I’ve watched it (though this time there’s no significant reason for not seeing it).

Like all things that scare us as kids, watching this movie makes me wonder further why I was so scared. I’d seen worse prior to Candyman, and I’ve certainly seen worse since. Yet, I can still recall how it made me feel back then, even though I don’t feel the same way now.

This movie came along before this sort of story devolved into the realms of camp. Unlike I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend, this movie is done with better, more serious filmography and writing that doesn’t treat the watchers as if they’re infantile. It’s out to scare you, but it doesn’t rely on cheap tricks to do so. I’m not saying it’s the world’s best movie, but it’s certainly better than most of the Teen Screamers that arrived in the late 90’s.

One of the things this movie does that a lot of them don’t do is that it plays off the psychology of the main character. Not merely her fears, but also her sanity. She’s placed directly into the role of the killer despite her innocence. She’s not only tormented with the brutal deaths going on around her, but also with accusations that she’s the one committing them. As if that isn’t enough, they start telling her that she’s insane and even lock her away for it.

It can’t be easy to keep yourself together when everyone keeps saying you’ve lost it.

I’m unsure if owning this is a priority or not, which I suppose means that it’s not. It wouldn’t be objectionable to me, it’s not a bad film. If it made it’s way into my hands, I’d watch it, but it’s certainly not a movie I’d miss if it never did.

One note: Fucking hell, Tony Todd. Real bees? In the mouth!? Madness.

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