Greetings and welcome back to Horror Business. We have one awesome episode in store for you guys. In this episode we’re talking about 1992’s Candyman and 1995’s Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh.
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We start by somehow talking about Gambit from X-Men for way too long. We then briefly discuss what we’ve done lately involving horror. Liam talks about watching Death Line and Shirley, and Justin talks about watching the Netflix original Our House.
Up first is Candyman. We begin by talking the background of the film, including the director’s filmography and the film being based on a Clive Barker short story. We briefly discuss how the short story is typical Clive Barker fare while the film is decidedly very un-Clive Barkery. We dive deep into what takes up most of our discussion, which is that we both unabashedly love this film despite it being a rather tone deaf and at times problematic film.
We talk about how our personal histories with the Candyman franchise. Liam marvels at how good the film is, given it’s a movie that takes place in “the hood” based on a short story written by a lily-white British man and has some corny overtones. Justin talks about how the film leans heavily into simple imagery to conjure up dread and fear and succeeds wildly, and how despite film being well made and gorgeous it is a mess thematically. We talk about the performance of Tony Todd and how that performance is so remarkable people tend to forget he’s actually playing a villain.
Liam talks about the concept of Candyman being parasitic in nature, and how the film’s setting being moved from London to Chicago’s Cabrini-Green is both a good and bad idea, in that it’s a more visually appealing setting but the film largely fails to really utilize some of the deeper racial themes that could be explored. We discuss the films unfortunate use of the wise Native American/mystical Negro/white savior tropes and some of the more racist tropes in classic literature. We dive deep into some of the more problematic themes in the film, including the idea of a black man who is undeniably “other” lusting after and seducing a white woman, the “jungle-ization” of urban Chicago, the way that the film subtly let’s white racists off the hook for Candyman’s origin i.e. a lynch mob murdering a black man for loving a white woman.
We briefly talk about how Nia DeCosta’s upcoming Candyman might correct some of the problematic elements of the film. We talk about some of the other performances and some of the scarier parts of the film.
Up next is Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh. We begin by talking about the film falls victim to the “McGuffinization” of horror films and becomes something of an adventure horror film. Liam talks about how connecting Candyman’s origin to the protagonist’s family is a wise decision and goes a way to correcting the problems in the first family.
We have a violent and prolonged argument about the meaning of the protagonist’s family hiding her history from her. Liam discusses how the fact that Candyman is related to the protagonist is a move away from traditional horror in that the horror is within the character as opposed to an external threat.
We talk about how despite the film attempting to unravel and lay out some complicated racial themes it still comes off as clumsy and misguided. We discuss some of the things we like about the film, and Liam talks about the theme of the film how white America doesn’t really know itself.
We talk again about the magical Negro/mystical Native American trope that this film also utilizes and how the film differs from traditional folk horror in that the films location (Chicago and New Orleans) the film takes on colonialist aspects because it’s essentially a film about white people discovering horrible truths in a hostile unfamiliar land.
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