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"They will say that I have shed innocent blood... What's blood for, if not for shedding?"
- The Candyman
The Candyman was the titular main antagonist of the 1992 slasher horror movie of the same name and its sequels, based of off the short story "The Forbidden" form the anthology book Books of Blood, written by Clive Barker. Although a brutal killer and a vengeful spirit, Candyman has an especially tragic past compared to most horror icons, which arguably made him more sympathetic - though he was nevertheless just as dangerous and deadly as any other slasher movie antagonist.
As with Clive Barker's earlier slasher icon, Pinhead, the character of Candyman was intentionally designed to be very charismatic and articulate, his main source of fear being derived from his warped sense of reasoning.
He is portrayed by Tony Todd, who also portrays Captain Darrow.
Candyman takes up the form of a lean and really tall African-American man, six feet and five inches, easily dwarfing over all the other characters in the Candyman movies. His attire consists of a large, brown fur trenchcoat, a white cravat around his neck, gray pants, a pair of polished leather shoes and a bloody hook in place for his right hand, which he uses to mutilate his victims. His trenchcoat is used in order to conceal his grotesque mutilations, the product of the torture that he suffered shortly before his death. Underneath it reveals candyman's skinless ribcage and hollowed-out abdomen, as well as his internal organs that are being infested by the many bees living within him. His hair is jet-black and curly, but kept very short.
Behavior and Motivations
Do to the grievous tragedy surrounding his death, having been murdered under unjust pretenses and for personal revenge, Candyman arose from the grave and became a wrath driven specter, haunting the land where he had been executed. But, rather then reduce the land of Cabrini Green, or the Sullivan household (depending on which movie we follow), as uninhabitable, Candyman preferred to keep the denizens in the dark, unaware of his presence until they made the mistake of doubting his presence. Candyman, while well-spoken and articulate, is portrayed as being incredibly self-absorbed, narcissistic and vain, valuing his reputation over human life. His sole motivation is to maintain the rumors and stories surrounding his death alive, as he believes that the longer people talk and fear him the more he will continue to haunt the land, later shown to be fact. The only times he had ever killed someone was merely a means to remind the people of his existence by striking terror into their hearts.
Candyman is also shown to possess a severe god complex. He implies self-omnipresence by identifying himself with the rumors and imagery based around his name and likeness, further claiming that without such things he is "nothing", making it clear that he enjoys hearing people talk about him. Candyman takes his role as a god to quite literal religious lengths. He refers to the denizens of his burial grounds as his "followers" and "congregation". Furthermore, Candyman does not kill his believers should they abandon their faith in him, instead opting to murder the people who have called him out as being superstition, such as Helen Lyle, who in the first Candyman movie told a young boy from Cabrini Green that "Candyman" had merely been an alias used by serial killers to get away with their crimes.
The people who worship Candyman, i.e. the residents of Cabrini Green and New Orleans, have a habit of participating in offerings for the vengeful apparition. During the first film a run-down apartment flat houses a sort of altar in Candyman's name, a pile of chocolate sweets with razor blades inside their packages is placed in front of a large graffiti depicting Candyman's screaming head. Also during the events of the first film, the Cabrini Green's African-American community created a make-shift pyre which they set ablaze, an obvious ritual used to appease the spirit. In the second film the people of New Orleans had created an actual altar in the attic of the Sullivan mansion, the shrine having skulls, candlers and a large wall painting depicting Candyman in a crucifix stance.
Candyman's origins are explored in a legend surrounding the tragic death of a painter in the city of Chicago during the early 1800s, the story itself first appearing in 1890. The legend told that Candyman was initially the son of a slave, who became extremely wealthy after inventing a machine which mass produced shoes during the American Civil War. With his newfound fortune, the father had sent his boy to all the best schools in America, the young man growing up to become a polite and good natured gentleman as well as a well-known painter, most famous for capturing a person's status in portraits. Sometime around 1890, the young painter had been commissioned by a wealthy landowner to capture the beauty of his daughter, a white virgin. The painter's only sin was falling in love with the girl in question with whom they were to have a child under wedlock. Unfortunately, the girl's father had discovered their relation and was left so outraged that he hired a lynch mob to find and kill the young painter. As the mob chased him down the streets of the Near North end of Chicago they eventually overpowered him and sawed off his right hand with a rusty blade. The young painter's body had then been smeared with honey from a local apiary, causing the bees to sting him to death and prompting the future generations of the neighborhood the christen him "Candyman". The painter's dead body had then been burned on a pyre, his ashes being scattered around the entire region.
In the second Candyman movie, Farewell to the Flesh, the painter is given the name of Daniel Robatille. Likewise, the movie retconned his origin by placing the painter's birth and death in New Orleans. He was born on the Esplanade Plantation (the future home of the Tarrant family) within New Orleans. Also of note, the young white woman with whom Daniel had an affair with was identified as Caroline Sullivan.
Sometime after his death, Daniel's ghost rose from the grave, a spiteful and vengeful spirit who tormented anyone who dared to question his existence. An urban legend arose which stated that whoever shall recite the name Candyman five times in the mirror, then immediately turn off the lights, will summon the ghost that will slay his summoner along with anybody else who has witnessed the specter's appearance.
Helen Lyle, a graduate student in modern Chicago conducting research on her theories on urban legends with her partner and friend Bernadette "Bernie" Walsh. She interviews freshman about their superstitions and hears about a local legend known as the Candyman. Later, Helen and Bernadette jokingly call his name and nothing happens, but as the days go by and she hears rumors but sees no proof of the Candyman's existence, she begins to believe that the Candyman is nothing but folklore.
But because of this disbelief, sooner than later the Candyman reveals himself to Helen that he is indeed real. When she sees the demonic spirit for the first time she passes out and wakes up in Annie Marie's apartment covered in blood. Annie Marie's rottweiler is decapitated and her baby Anthony is missing, she attacks Helen and is forced to defend herself from Annie by cutting her with a meat cleaver. The police enter the room and arrest Helen. Helen is then bailed out of jail by her husband Trevor who then leaves to do an errand while Helen is in the apartment. While Helen is there she tries to find clues from the photos she took of the pictures and words describing the Candyman. She then goes to the bathroom to think about things then Candyman bursts through the mirror, she runs but sees that she cannot not escape the evil spirit. He reveals that he has the child and he will take her where he (Anthony) will die in a new place. He also says that her disbelief destroyed the faith of his followers and that he cannot exist if they don't believe he is real which was the reason he appeared to her and states that he must kill Helen in order to keep his legend in the minds of his believers. He then cuts a a small hole in the back of Helen's neck, wounding her.
Then her friend Bernadette arrives and rings the door bell. Helen pleads for her to leave but Bernadette comes in anyway, the door then slams behind her, she looks behind and sees the Candyman and as she screamed she was brutally murdered. Trevor came by and saw Bernadette dead on the floor and Helen on the ground bleeding with a knife. She loses consciousness and Trevor calls the police. Helen is charged with first degree murder and nobody believes her the only person who can save her is the Candyman.
After a month in the hospital, before her trial, a psychologist has an interview with Helen. To prove the Candyman is real, she summons the Candyman in his office and Candyman kills the psychologist. Helen escapes and later finds out that Trevor has been having an affair with one of his students and was planing on leaving her in the hospital to pursue the affair. Helen only leaves when they threaten to call the police.
Helen flees to Cabrini-Green to confront the Candyman and find Anthony. In the apartments attic, she finds the words "It was always you Helen". When confronting the Candyman, he predicts that Helen will carry on his legacy of inciting fear into the community. The Candyman agrees to release the baby if Helen sacrifices herself. However, the Candyman really intends to sacrifice them both to fuel his legend. He takes Helen and the baby into the middle of a junk pile where residents where planing to start a bonfire. Jake, a kid Helen befriended earlier see's Candyman's hook, and alerts the other residences. As they start a bonfire, Helen manages to stab the Candyman and break free. As the Candyman burns alive, Helen successfully breaks out of the ruble and rescues the child, although being burned alive herself in the process. With the last of her strength, Helen pushes Anthony to Anne Marie, before she succumbs to her injuries.
With the Candyman defeated, Helen was absolved of her crimes, but the Candyman gained some victory as people now believe in him again and Helen has become an urban legend in her own right, as Trevor finds out later.
Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh
Coleman Tarrant, father of New Orleans schoolteacher Annie Tarrant, was murdered in a Candyman-like fashion some years prior at his old family mansion. When Professor Philip Purcell is murdered in a bathroom by Candyman after presenting the legend to his class and calling him forth, Annie's brother is accused of the murder (since his furious public confrontation of Purcell over the subject) and one of her students starts to see the Candyman. In order to disprove to herself that the Candyman exists, she says his name five times in front of a mirror, summoning him to New Orleans on the eve of Ash Wednesday and Mardi Gras, where the killing begins in earnest. Her husband Paul Mckeever becoming one of Candyman's new victims. The film's climax reveals more details of the Candyman's genesis, and his reason for stalking Annie. In the end, the Candyman dies when his mirror that was once his former lover's gift in his former life, breaks.
Candyman: Day of the Dead
The ghostly serial killer returns once again from beyond the grave; this time, during the eve of Day of the Dead, to haunt a Los Angeles art gallery owner named Caroline McKeever, a distant relative of the Candyman (and also Annie Tarrant's daughter) in order for him to claim her soul so she will be next to him. In the meantime, the Candyman goes about killing all those associated with Caroline (starting with artist Miguel Velasco, her lover David de La Paz, and following with her roommate Tamara) in his usual gory ways with his hook and making it appear to the authorities that Caroline is the one responsible for the killings. Particularly when seasoned police detective (and closet prejudice of most minorities) L.V. Sacco dies in the front seat, which not only brings the whole local police department down on her head; but puts her in the firing line of Sacco's equally bigoted and very deluded partner Lt. Det. Samuel Deacon Kraft who has no intention of bringing her in alive. In the end, after destroying the painting of Danielle Robatille which in turns destroys the goodness of the accursed spirit of the Candyman, Caroline soon finally destroys the legend by telling Detective Jamal Matthews that Kraft himself was the Candyman after he tried to kill both her and David de La Paz with a hook before being shot in the back by Detective Matthews.
Powers and Abilities
Not too many of the Candyman's powers have been shown through the movies, but it is well known that he is immortal because he has been around for centuries and does not age or need food and water to survive. He is also able to teleport at fast speeds as well as phasing through walls for where ever his victims ran he was there before they got there. He also possesses superhuman strength, as he is able to throw his victims through walls with little effort. He has also shown regenerative capabilities (shown when Annie ran out the room). He also has power over a massive army of bees that live within his very being, as shown in the first Candyman film he covered an entire city with killer bees. He has shown some form of telekinesis along with ability to fly or levitate, and also can become invisible to the naked eye. The mirror that contains his soul is the secret of his power. If the mirror is destroyed he will cease to exist.