Today's Pick: Candyman (1992)
There's a believable dread seeping out of Candyman's modern mythology. The way it preys on urban fears gives the film a very tangible horror, while still framing the story around a magical and malevolent figure, brought to blood-curdling life by Tony Todd. Every line he says is like poisonous honey, sweet and sinister and endlessly quotable. This was the role Todd was born to play. He doesn't have an ounce of ham in him. Todd's approach to the villain is practically Shakespearean. Even though Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and others have a higher profile and a larger fanbase, it's Tony Todd as Candyman who makes the most compelling of monsters. He toes the line between sympathetic and terrifying so well that my opinion on the character shifts every time I watch the film. It's one of horror cinemas greatest performances.
While Todd is what most people remember about the film, there's so many other aspects that make this a modern classic. Writer/director Bernard Rose deserves to have just as prolific and revered a career as someone like Wes Craven. Between Candyman and the even more forgotten Paperhouse, his talent behind the camera is unquestionable, and he does a phenomenal job adapting Clive Barker's short story. The score to Candyman (composed by notable musician Philip Glass) is as haunting and evocative as the character himself. There's a darkly mythic quality to the music, mixing together images of grim fairy tales and Gothic churches. And the other actors are tragically relatable, especially a young Virginia Madsen, who is captivating and sad, but ultimately just as scary and ill-fated as Candyman himself.
I tried to fill this year's recommendations with a lot of fun movies, but as we reach this final stretch, I wanted to have one last bonafide chiller. Candyman is a fantastic film, brimming with a sense of poetry and literacy that doesn't often find its way into the genre. It's a film that I hope will continue to find new audiences to scare for many years to come.
Tomorrow, we'll get one last film in for the little ones. This one is pretty stupid, and it knows it!
31 Days of Drew 2 (2014)
31 Days of Drew (2013)