Candyman (1992) Arrow Release Review

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Candyman (1992)
Arrow Release

“Be my victim.
Be my victim.”

 

Arrow kindly sent me a review copy for their upcoming Blu-ray release of Candyman.

This release gives you two versions of the film, the US r-rated cut and the UK 18 theatrical cut.
The UK version has an extended (and more violent) cut of the psychiatrist scene.

Well obviously that is the one I’m watching.

We all know the story, University student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) is looking into urban legends where she stumbles across one involving the Candyman, a slave with a hook for his hand that can be summoned by repeating his name five times whilst staring into a mirror, who is the local boogeyman blamed for the murders in a block of flats in a shitty part of town.

She soon learns that curiosity kills more than just the cat.

Virginia Madsen has to carry this film largely alone as she is in every single scene in the film and pretty much every shot. This isn’t an easy thing to do but manages to succeed.
Helped along by a simple but effectively chilling score and a nice aesthetic that moves between the clean, well to do nicer world of Helen and the filthy, rundown, graffiti sprayed, crime ridden part of town that is Candyman’s world.

Tony Todd shows why less is more and not just in amount of screen-time but in performance as he gives a subdued but chilling antagonist. When I first watched this in the 90s I found it to be effective due to a claustrophobic like feeling whenever Helen went almost naively head first into each setting that always involved crawling through a narrow gap thus cutting off an effective escape.

That mostly remains and the jump scares that are now overused and a cheap tactic which annoy me rather than make me jump retain their effectiveness.
Not in making you jump but in adding to the overall tension.

The film is still as good as it was back then but I don’t buy into its attempts to make you feel sorry for Candyman as well as Helen later on in the twist ending.

The picture quality. The new transfer from a new 4K scan of the negative (as is common with Arrow releases) is probably the best transfer I have seen yet.
The picture is just beautiful. Incredibly sharp and detailed and how it must’ve been in the cinema.
Complete with film grain which I like.

The sound is good too. Making a 5.1 output from a purely stereo original file limits what you can do so here so the extra speakers are used mostly for ambient sounds and Tony’s booming voice whenever he speaks.
It works and I can’t complain plus you have the original uncompressed 2.0 if you prefer.

Lots of extras including an interview with Clive Barker where he talks about the film adaptations of his works and interviews with cast, crew and others offering analysis.

There is also 3 short films from the director Bernard Rose.

If you are a Candyman fan then you should buy this which you can from here.

Trailer after the description

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS

  • Two-disc edition featuring two cuts of the film and exclusive bonus content
  • Exclusive packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
  • Limited edition 40-page perfect-bound booklet reproducing the original hand-painted storyboards by writer-director Bernard Rose
  • Fully illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by festival programmer Michael Blyth
  • 6 postcard-sized original UK lobby card reproductions
  • Reversible poster featuring new and original artwork

DISC ONE – US R-RATED VERSION

  • Brand new restoration of the US R-rated version 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
  • Brand new audio commentary with writer-director Bernard Rose and actor Tony Todd
  • Brand new audio commentary with authors Stephen Jones and Kim Newman
  • Be My Victim – a brand new interview with actor Tony Todd
  • It Was Always You, Helen – a brand new interview with actor 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
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Image Gallery
  • Three rarely-seen Bernard Rose short films, newly restored in HD: A Bomb With No Name on It (1975), The Wreckers (1976), and Looking at Alice (1977)

DISC TWO – ORIGINAL UK THEATRICAL VERSION

  • Brand new restoration of the original UK theatrical version, featuring alternate, more graphic footage
  • Original Uncompressed Stereo 2.0 Audio
  • The Cinema of Clive Barker: The Divine Explicit – a brand new in-depth interview with Clive Barker on Candyman and other filmic adaptations of his work