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Candyman (1992)

R  |   |  Drama, Horror  |  16 October 1992 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 48,631 users  
Reviews: 212 user | 103 critic

The Candyman, a murderous soul with a hook for a hand, is accidentally summoned to reality by a skeptic grad student researching the monster's myth.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anne-Marie McCoy
DeJuan Guy ...
Clara (as Marianna Eliott)
Ria Pavia ...
Mark Daniels ...
Lisa Ann Poggi ...
Adam Philipson ...
Carolyn Lowery ...
Barbara Alston ...


Helen Lyle is a student who decides to write a thesis about local legends and myths. She visits a part of the town, where she learns about the legend of the Candyman, a one-armed man who appears when you say his name five times, in front of a mirror. Of course, Helen doesn't believe all this stuff, but the people of the area are really afraid. When she ignores their warnings and begins her investigation in the places that he is rumored to appear, a series of horrible murders begins. Could the legend be true? Written by Chris Makrozahopoulos <makzax@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


We Dare You To Say His Name Five Times! See more »


Drama | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and gore | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

16 October 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Clive Barker's Candyman  »

Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)


$25,792,310 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Virginia Madsen is allergic to bees, so an ambulance was always on set while filming the bee sequence. See more »


Helen has a bath after returning from the police station, she gets out and her hair is wet. She looks at some of the slides she took, seeming to take only a minute or two to do this, and then turns off the machine. When she stands up to open the curtains, her hair is perfectly dry. See more »


[first lines]
Candyman: They will say that I have shed innocent blood. What's blood for, if not for shedding?
See more »


Featured in Boogeymen: The Killer Compilation (2001) See more »


Written by Vangelis and Jon Anderson
Performed by Moodswings
Featuring the voice of Chrissie Hynde
Courtesy of Arista Records Inc. / BMG Eurodisc Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A spooky, but also well thought out tale!
2 September 2005 | by (the Mad Hatter's tea party.) – See all my reviews

Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) doctoral student, and wife of a collage professor, is doing research on urban legends and mythological folklore for her school thesis. Though, there is one legend which gets her attention and leads her to rundown housing block where the residents believe that the murders that took place there were done by the hook-handed serial killer The Candyman (Tony Todd). A mysterious figure that can be summoned by repeating his name five times while looking in the mirror. Which Helen does and now her life turns into horrifying nightmare, which teeters between reality and myth, as she gets closer to the truth about the Candyman.

Second time around and this memorable piece hasn't lost any of its effect. It's not only a incredibly brood horror film that manages to create an creeping/ingenious plot with such an unsettling physiological tone, but also providing some generally horrific shocks that creep up on you and aren't for the squeamish. So, it's far from your normal slasher and it just doesn't concentrate on the violence for a change. Not only does the plot build on this mystical legend constructively, but also there's also some solid social commentary on the mindset towards race and sex, which added more to this cleverly layered plot (or should I say tragic love story). What is so great about the screenplay is that you yourself feel apprehensive to what's happening to the protagonist and to where this story is heading by playing on what people believe and how these believes can overcome them. Plus it makes great use of the Chicago's gloomy surroundings. Not only does the film have substance, but also style to boot. The direction by Bernard Rose is quite brilliant, with Rose superbly mixing visuals that gel myth and reality superbly. Particularly the well-crafted encounters between Helen and the Candyman - these sequences were incredibly hair-raising. He creates such a glum and dark atmosphere within these rundown buildings filled with vibrant artwork, the richly layered aura goes hand-to-hand with the moody legend. The slow pacing of the film is perfect; there are no tedious blotches because you are totally wrapped in the story and by the delightful performances. The death toll isn't big, but there are some real gruesome deaths, with A LOT blood. The make-up and special effects are extremely thoughtful and inventive. Phillip Glass' extremely effective score deserves such high praise. Soothing, but also haunting and was incredibly effective towards building towards such an almighty blow. Another bonus was the smooth as silk camera-work; it captured the balanced layout of Chicago with plenty of stunning Ariel shots (great intro). Overall, I was just amazed by this beautifully planned production.

What a horror icon! Tony Todd totally nails down such a terrifying and profound performance as the mythical being The Candyman. I believe this horror character totally wipes the floor clean of the other icons of its genre and who created him? No other than from the dark mind of Clive Baker (Hellraiser), who brings this frightening thriller alive, which is basically based on Baker's short story - The Forbidden. He came up with a unique horror character that's downright unnerving, completely authentic and has a lot of depth. But Tony Todd's towering figure and eerie voice has a lot to owe to that and to make one tremble in his presence! Virginia Madsen gives a stellar performance as Helen Lyle, who we really do care for her and feel what she is feeling. Good supporting roles from Xander Berkley as Helen's Husband, Kasi Lemmons as her friend/student who's also working with her their thesis and Vanessa Williams as Anne-Marie McCoy who lives in the rundown estate. The dialogue was packed with depth, but also laced with interesting topics and Todd's lines were pretty much poetic and smooth.

The one and only "small" negative would be the ending for me. I was somewhat let down by the second ending and I thought maybe it could've done without it. It just felt tact on. Anyhow it didn't stop it from being damn right creepy and it does pack a real unsteadiness.

To get in the mood of it, I say it's definitely a film to watch late at night… alone.

One of the clever horror films (if not the best) of that disappointing decade they call the '90s for horror films. If you're looking for a serious horror (before Scream's imitators made a mockery of the slasher sub-genre), I highly recommend this provocative slasher that doesn't cop out the audience.

40 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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