‘Candyman’ (1992) Collector’s Edition 4K UHD Review: A 90’s Horror Film that Holds Up

Candyman

When most people think of great horror movies they usually think about the 1980’s when scary movies (good and bad) were plentiful. The ’90s, for whatever reason, is often looked upon as a wasteland where nothing good was created. Candyman is a film that throws that idea for a loop. It’s not only one of the best horror films of the 90s, but one of the best overall and has built a strong cult following over the years.

Based on a story by Clive Barker (he wrote Hellraiser), Candyman looks at the idea of the urban legend and sets the story in a truly urban area: Chicago. Helen (Virginia Madsen) is a college student doing a thesis on urban legends and learns of the legend of Candyman. Candyman was the son of a slave that was murdered in the 1800s for falling in love it the daughter of a rich white man. Now he gets his revenge by killing anybody that says his name five times in the mirror.

Several deaths in a predominantly African-American neighborhood are attributed to Candyman and Helen believes these stories to be a way for the community to cope with the hard life of the neighborhood. She sets out to find the truth and soon discovers that the legend may indeed be true. Not only that but meddling in the legitimacy of the legend may cause much more violence than she ever thought.

Candyman Trailer

Candyman Collector’s Edition 4K: What I Liked and Didn’t Like

What I Liked

The acting in Candyman is top-notch. You don’t see that a whole lot in the horror genre but this one exceeds in that area. Virginia Madsen (Oscar nominee for the 2004 movie Sideways) is a great actress. She brings realism to the character of Helen. Tony Todd in the role of Candyman brings a chilling performance with his booming bass voice and physicality. It’s one of those situations where you simply can’t imagine anybody else in the role.

Today we see tons of stories that center around racial issues and some of the horrible aspects of the past. People like Jordan Peele have really opened up the idea of horror films with a strong African-American presence, but in 1992 this was almost unheard of. In fact, the idea was so uncommon that the NAACP actually objected to it but in the end, it was decided that a black man could play a villain just as well as Robert Englund or any other mainstream horror icon. In the end, Candyman has become an icon in his own way.

What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, and I don’t say this too much, there’s not much to dislike about this release. The film is well-made with a strong cast. The story was an early attempt to bring in an interesting African-American character and focus on things like racism and poverty without forcing it too much. If there is anything I would point to on this release it’s that there seems like there might be an attempt to walk the line where we don’t know if Candyman is real or if Helen is going crazy and it’s all in her head, but they don’t pull it off that well.

It seems pretty apparent from the beginning that she is pulled into a real situation. It’s a little thing but it just doesn’t work well for me. That said, it doesn’t really detract from the meat of the story for me.

Technical Aspects

This release was pulled from the original negative and gets a full 4K transfer. The upgrade is very noticeable from previous versions that upgraded to 2K. The movie is intentionally grainy in areas to give certain mood and ambience but within that you can also see a great amount of detail, especially very fine items like face line creases and hairs.

The inside scenes are richly deep with inky black tones that give a rich texture. The outside shots contrast with that but never get too bright. The entire film is meant to be somewhat dark but some items, like a white shirt, really pop out of the background. Overall, the 4K UHD upgrade looks amazing, and this version is far superior to earlier versions.

Audio

The previous special edition version had a 5.1 DTS-HD MA track and that has been replaced by a new Dolby Atmos track (found on both the Blu-ray and the 4K UHD discs, although the Blu-ray discs retain the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track as a legacy track) and they actually sound remarkably similar. The original tracks were almost perfectly done so there wasn’t much that could be upgraded. Probably most notable is the dialogue. The new track really makes Tony Todd’s booming voice really fill the room.

In certain scenes, he really takes over the room. The small stuff also seems to be a bit refined. Quiet dialog, background sounds, and minor foley effects are more pronounced adding a layer to the entire film.

Special Features

  • DISC ONE (4K UHD — THEATRICAL & UNRATED CUTS):
  • NEW 4K Master Of The Original Negative, Supervised And Approved By Writer/Director Bernard Rose And Director Of Photography Anthony B. Richmond (Theatrical Cut) By Arrow Video
  • NEW 4K UHD Presentation In Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible) Of Both Cuts Of The Film, The Theatrical R-rated Version And The Unrated Version Featuring Alternate, More Graphic Footage, Presented Via Seamless Branching
  • NEW Dolby Atmos Track
  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Bernard Rose And Actor Tony Todd (Theatrical Cut)
  • Audio Commentary With Authors/Film Historians Stephen Jones And Kim Newman (Theatrical Cut)
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • DISC TWO (BLU-RAY — THEATRICAL CUT):
  • NEW Dolby Atmos Track
  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Bernard Rose And Actor Tony Todd
  • Audio Commentary With Authors/Film Historians Stephen Jones And Kim Newman
  • Audio Commentary With Bernard Rose, Author Clive Barker, Producer Alan Poul And Actors Tony Todd, Virginia Madsen And Kasi Lemmons
  • Audio Commentary With Bernard Rose, From The Movie Crypt Podcast Hosted By Filmmakers Adam Green And Joe Lynch
  • Sweets To The Sweet: The Candyman Mythos – Featuring Interviews With Bernard Rose, Producer Alan Poul, Executive Producer Clive Barker, Actors Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd And Kasi Lemmons
  • Clive Barker: Raising Hell – An Interview With Author/Artist/Filmmaker Clive Barker
  • The Heart Of Candyman – An Interview With Actor Tony Todd
  • Bernard Rose’s Storyboards
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Gallery
  • Screenplay (BD-ROM)
  • DISC THREE (BLU-RAY — UNRATED CUT):
  • NEW Dolby Atmos Track
  • NEW Looking Back In The Mirror – An Interview With Actress Vanessa Williams
  • Be My Victim – An Interview With Tony Todd
  • It Was Always You, Helen – An Interview With Actress Virginia Madsen
  • Reflection In The Mirror – An Interview With Actress Kasi Lemmons
  • A Kid In Candyman – An Interview With Actor DeJuan Guy
  • The Writing On The Wall: The Production Design Of Candyman – An Interview With Production Designer Jane Ann Stewart
  • Forbidden Flesh: The Makeup FX Of Candyman – Including 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
  • Candyman (1992) Collector’s Edition 4K UHD is currently available from Shout! Factory

Overall

Candyman is a modern classic that holds up really well. It’s an original, dark horror story that really takes Clive Barker’s original material to create something truly impressive.

Shout! Factory’s UHD/Blu-ray combo pack reissues gives the film an royal upgrade that I can’t see anybody ever surpassing. This new release is a good set not only for fans of Candyman but for those that don’t have a copy. Either way, this is definitely the one that I’d recommend picking up.

1992 Candyman 4K Review:

Grade: A

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