Candyman (1992) - Rotten Tomatoes

Candyman (1992)



Critic Consensus: Though it ultimately sacrifices some mystery in the name of gory thrills, Candyman is a nuanced, effectively chilling tale that benefits from an interesting premise and some fine performances.

Movie Info

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 historical basis for the legend, detailing how Candyman is believed to be the vengeful spirit of a former slave who, though initially respected in academia, was set upon and mutilated by an angry mob when accused of taking a white mistress. When the clinically-detached Helen flaunts her intellectual confidence by reciting Candyman's name five times, she sets in motion an inevitable series of supernatural events -- culminating in a series of grisly killings, after which Helen is invariably found holding the bloody murder weapon. Though she is captured by the police, it becomes evident to Helen that Candyman is guiding her fate every step of the way.more
Rating: R
Genre: Horror
Directed By:
Written By: Bernard Rose
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 7, 2001
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


Virginia Madsen
as Helen Lyle
Tony Todd
as The Candyman/Daniel ...
Kasi Lemmons
as Bernadette
Vanessa A. Williams
as Anne-Marie McCoy
Ted Raimi
as Billy
Ria Pavia
as Monica
Mark Daniels
as Student
Barbara Alston
as Henrietta Mosely
Sarina C. Grant
as Kitty Culver
Latesha Martin
as Baby Anthony
Lanesha Martin
as Baby Anthony
Bernard Rose
as Archie Walsh
Glenda Starr Kelly
as Crying Mother
Kenneth A. Brown
as Castrated Boy
Caesar Brown
as Tough Guy
Terrence Riggins
as Gang Leader
Gilbert Lewis
as Detective Frank Vale...
Fred Sanders
as Cop (uncredited)
Rusty Schwimmer
as Policewoman
Baxter Harris
as Detective
Mika Quintard
as TV Reporter
Doug MacHugh
as 1st Orderly
Carol Harris
as 2nd Orderly
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Candyman

Critic Reviews for Candyman

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (6)

Candyman is an uppper-register horror item that delivers the requisite shocks and gore but doesn't cheat or cop out.

Full Review… | September 17, 2008
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | September 17, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

One of the best sustained horror movies for some years.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The film's spooky atmosphere is accentuated by Anthony B. Richmond's cinematography and Philip Glass's score.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

The finest American horror film of the 1990s.

Full Review… | March 20, 2015
Antagony & Ecstasy

...a handsome yet ineffective adaptation...

Full Review… | October 31, 2014
Reel Film Reviews

Audience Reviews for Candyman


A surprisingly efficient horror film - eerie and scary - that invests in an atmospheric score and an intriguing mystery about a living rumor who can only exist through his spooky legend - and it firmly keeps its roots in the real world while the gore never feels unnecessary.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Adapted from the chilling mind of Clive Barker, "Candyman" is much more than a story about an urban legend turned serial killer. Barker looks at the everyday, the mundane, and twists it into submission. He doesn't believe in the suburban, or the normal. Through the clichés he sees the gruesome world of dreams, the outer membrane that surrounds us all, and from that he cultivates a horror tradition that lends itself to the grotesque. In this film, his tensest buildup to date, he shows martyrdom in the face of evil. Virginia Madsen is a graduate student who searches for the legendary Candyman in the ghetto of South Chicago, inevitably finding him. The story revolves around her seduction, and eventual sacrifice for the good of the community. The film is great for the fact that it builds up its villain, and also sets a mood unlike other horror films. The seduction mirrors the old "Dracula" films, and yet is much bloodier for the benefit of slasher fans, bridging traditions and creating a terrifying narrative where the boogeyman is real.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Candyman Quotes

– Submitted by Bria M (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Jimmy G (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Creep F (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Creep F (4 years ago)

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