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Bernard Rose followed his moody fantasy-thriller Paperhouse (1988) with this modern horror tale, based on Clive Barker's short story "The Forbidden". Compiling a thesis on urban legends, University of Illinois in Chicago graduate student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) becomes aware of the prevalent superstition surrounding the legend of "Candyman" (Tony Todd)--a hook-wielding phantom who will appear if his name is recited five times into a mirror--among the tenants of Chicago's Cabrini Green project. A senior professor, hearing of Helen's research, explains the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Candyman is an uppper-register horror item that delivers the requisite shocks and gore but doesn't cheat or cop out."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"The film's spooky atmosphere is accentuated by Anthony B. Richmond's cinematography and Philip Glass's score."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"The film bogs down into ordinariness after its fast start when the myth is literally acted out and all sense of movie magic gets washed down the toilet."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Serious, straightforward cinematic terror is always hard to come by, but this literate shocker ranks among the best horror movies of the '90s."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"One of the best of the end-of-the-eighties/start-of-the-nineties body mortification films."
‑ Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central
"Like so many post-Val Lewton horror films, this 1992 feature starts out promisingly while the plot is mainly a matter of suggestion, but gradually turns gross and obvious as the meanings become literal and unambiguous."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Madsen is a much better actress than is usually found in such a role. However, if you don't like splashes of blood or bees swarming out of bodies, you may want to think twice about this one."
‑ Richard Harrington, Washington Post
"Sadly enough, with all the things Candyman has going for it, it turns out to be not much more enthralling than the last Freddy Kreuger slash-o-rama."
‑ Steve Newton, Georgia Straight
"Reheats old material and serves it as if it were bold and original."
‑ Rob Gonsalves,
"The Candyman is a svelte, sexual monument, far removed from the silent brutality of your average serial slasher."
‑ Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
"One of the best sustained horror movies for some years."
‑ , Time Out
"What I liked was a horror movie that was scaring me with ideas and gore, instead of simply with gore."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Candyman is atmospheric and visually stimulating enough to satisfy gore-hounds as well as being an intelligent social commentary."
‑ , Film4
"The enduring resonance of Candyman, adapted and directed by Bernard Rose, has to do with its respect for and investment in specific and real events."
‑ Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
"Very clever, well-made and unpredictable."
‑ Andreas Samuelson, Slasherpool
More reviews for Candyman on Rotten Tomatoes

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