Candyman

Candyman 
 
(Bernard Rose, 1992)
 
☆☆☆☆
 
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
 
Summary: We’ve heard this classic urban horror’s story on home video well over five times now but this Arrow Blu-ray of Bernard Rose’s Candyman is the definitive article. 
 
Director Bernard Rose’s adaptation of Clive Barker’s short story Candyman was a bit hit on its release over a quarter century ago and the passing of time has been kind to it as well. Now making its debut on a fully loaded Arrow Blu-ray, Candyman is ready for another visit. 
 
“Be my victim. I am the writing on the wall…” - when the villain menacingly whispers that to his prey, not only do you listen but you become engaged on a level deeper than the usual shock-scare tactics that most horror films utilise as their primary method of delivering terror. Candyman is a slasher film not so much about the slashing but the fear of it. 
 
 
The film stars Virginia Madsen as a student writing a thesis on urban legends. She investigates the story of the mythical Candyman (Tony Todd) who incites fear over Chicago on the threat of saying his name five times. While the original story was set in Liverpool, Rose’s version transports it from the dock city across the Atlantic to another industrial locale - Chicago. 
 
Chicago’s melting pot of abandoned buildings, intellect and simmering urban crime make for an evocative setting that Rose capitalises on with steely location photography that roams through stuffy universities, claustrophobic apartments, graffiti-riddled back alleys and jagged architecture with a local’s eye, not a tourist’s. It feels authentically grounded. 
 
Rising above that is Rose’s hyperrealistic take on the legend and Philip Glass’ revelatory score. To say that Glass’ music is iconic is a gross understatement. This is a epic aural meditation on sin, madness, history and the senses. Like John Carpenter’s own terrifying melody for his classic horror Halloween, it’s hard to imagine Candyman’s descent into psychological terror being anywhere near as effective without Glass’ choral voices and hypnotising movements. 
 
 
The Arrow Blu-ray is, without doubt, the finest home video treatment of Candyman available. It looks and sounds superb as well as being supplemented a host of thoughtfully compiled additional materials. 
 
LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
 
  • Brand new 2K restoration from a new 4k scan of the original negative, supervised and approved by writer-director Bernard Rose and director of photography Anthony B. Richmond
  • 5.1 DTS-HD MA and Original Uncompressed Stereo 2.0 Audio
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Exclusive packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
  • 6 Lobby Card reproductions
  • Reversible fold-out poster featuring two artworks
  • Fully illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by festival programmer Michael Blyth
  • Limited Edition perfect-bound booklet reproducing the original hand-painted storyboards by Bernard Rose
  • Brand new audio commentary with writer-director Bernard Rose and actor Tony Todd
  • Brand new audio commentary with Stephen Jones and Kim Newman
  • Be My Victim, a brand new interview with Tony Todd
  • It Was Always You, Helen, a brand new interview with Virginia Madsen
  • The Writing on the Wall: The Production Design of Candyman, a brand new interview with production designer Jane Ann Stewart
  • Forbidden Flesh: The Makeup FX of Candyman, brand new interviews with special makeup effects artists Bob Keen, Gary J. Tunnicliffe and Mark Coulier
  • A Story to Tell: Clive Barker’s “The Forbidden”, writer Douglas E. Winter on Clive Barker’s seminal Books of Blood and Candyman’s source story, “The Forbidden”
  • Urban Legend: Unwrapping Candyman, a critical analysis of the film with writers Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Three rarely-seen Bernard Rose short films, newly restored in HD: Looking at Alice (30 mins, 1978), A Bomb With No Name on It (3 mins, 1976), The Wreckers (5 mins)

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