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(Special Edition)

Iíve always been quite partial to the original CANDYMAN ($20), as I thought it was a rather atmospheric, entertaining horror movie- one that was a cut above many other genre offerings from the early 1990s. Not only was the movie stylish, it created for itself an intriguing core mythology about a supernatural boogeyman that killed to keep its legend alive. Adapted from Clive Barkerís story The Forbidden, CANDYMAN Americanizes the story and transports it from Liverpool origins to a Chicago slum. The plot of CANDYMAN focuses on graduate student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen), who is doing a thesis on modern mythology and urban legends. During the course of her research, Helen comes across the grisly tale of the Candyman, a hook-wielding specter that supposedly haunts the Cabrini-Green housing project.

Legend has it that the Candyman can be summoned by anyone foolish enough to look into a mirror and say his name five times. Of course, oneís only reward for summoning the Candyman is being split open by the angry spirit's hook. Helenís research eventually takes her to the gang infested Cabrini-Green housing project, where she finds the Candymanís hidden shrine, one in which the phantom killer supposedly dispatched one of his victims. While in Cabrini-Green, Helen feels compelled to disprove the legend by attempting to summon the Candyman. At first, nothing happens, but Helen soon finds herself besieged by a very real spirit who has no intention of being disproved, or allowing his legend to die. In addition to Madsen fine work on the film, CANDYMAN also features the very imposing figure of Tony Todd in the title role. Todd proves to be a mesmerizing presence as the Candyman; he is both horrifying and haunting, and Todd brings a tragic quality (of almost Shakespearean proportions) to this cinematic boogeyman. Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams and Ted Raimi are amongst the other supporting cast members.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has made CANDYMAN available on DVD in a 1.85:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. This is a very nice looking transfer of a modestly budgeted horror movie from the early 1990s. The image produces a good level of sharpness and detail, although there is a bit of softness sprinkled in here and there. Colors generally provide natural looking saturation, although wintry exteriors and sequences in the housing project can appear a bit subdued. Highly saturated hues only seem to be used for an occasional effect. For the most part, the colors appear stable, without noise or overt fuzziness. Blacks appear accurate and whites are clean. Shadow detail can be somewhat murky and noticeable film grain crops up now and again. There are some blemishes on the film elements, but nothing too excessive. Digital compression artifacts are never a cause for concern.

CANDYMAN comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtrack, which decodes to standard surround. Personally, I think that the soundtrack is the biggest missed opportunity of the Special Edition reissue of CANDYMAN. Phillip Glass' evocative, haunting score for CANDYMAN is not only worthy of being remixed into 5.1, it should have also been presented on an isolated soundtrack all to itself. The existing track gets the job done well enough, with decent channel separations across the front and respectable reinforcement from the rears. Dialogue is well reproduced and is totally understandable. The bass channel isnít particularly potent, but it doesnít wimp out either. French and Portuguese language tracks are also provided, along with English, French and Portuguese subtitles.

The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some nice supplemental materials that were produced by Automat Pictures. Starting things off, is an interesting audio commentary assembled from different recording sessions featuring director Bernard Rose, author Clive Barker, producer Alan Poul, plus actors Virginia Madsen, Kasi Lemmons and Tony Todd. Next up, Sweets To The Sweet: The Candyman Mythos, a twenty-three minute program that looks at the making of the film and the influences it drew upon. Clive Barker: Raising Hell is a ten-minute biography/interview with the horror author/playwright/filmmaker. Bernard Rose Storyboards are presented in a five-minute montage underscored by Phillip Glass' wonderful music for the film. Previews for some other Columbia horror titles close out the supplements.

CANDYMAN is a creepy and atmospheric horror movie that has developed a well deserved following over the years. Columbia has done a reasonably good job with their Special Edition DVD, although I feel more attention should have been paid to the filmís terrific soundtrack. If you are a CANDYMAN fan or a horror aficionado, youíll want to check out this DVD.



Candyman (Special Edition) (1992)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2004 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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