Flick is interestingly both sequel and reboot of the classic 1992 film of the same name. The movie finds Chicago artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) returning to the now vacant and gated Cabrini Green projects, to add some spooky spark to his creativity, after hearing of the Candyman legend. Anthony learns the hard way to ‘be careful what you wish for’ as he evokes a malevolent entity and bodies start to fall. Even worse, Anthony begins to transform into something out of urban legend. Is the Candyman more than just a folktale and has he returned for new blood?
Delayed sequel is directed by Nia DaCosta, based on her script with Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld. Their script, in turn, is based on Bernard Rose’s classic film, which itself is based on a Clive Barker short story The Forbidden. As a horror film, Candyman has disturbing imagery, very graphic gore and make-up, and some chilling sequences, though is never really all that scary or suspenseful. Where it really succeeds, aside from DaCosta’s flare for visuals, is in presenting some very well rounded characters, and as scathing social commentary. DaCosta, Peele and Rosenfeld not only give us some three dimensional characters to like and become emotionally invested in, but have some bold commentary on both gentrification of urban neighborhoods and the treatment of the black community, especially by police. Candyman is no longer just an urban boogieman, his mantle is picked up from generation to generation by innocents who have faced brutality and injustice at the hands of oppressors and by those who are supposed to protect them and their rights. There are no punches pulled and it’s blunt honesty adds the power to the proceedings that the lack of strong scares did not. The cast are all very good, especially lead Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, the flick has it’s disturbing moments and the gore FX are quite well-rendered when blood flows. It is as a film with a strong message, however, that is where Nia DaCosta and company really breathe new life into a classic horror icon.
RAWHEAD REX (1987)
(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)
Rawhead Rex is a 1987 British horror based on a short story by Clive Barker. It has a pagan demon (Heinrich von Schellendorf) being unleashed from his tomb in Ireland when a farmer removes a protective stone. The creature goes on a killing spree, claiming victim after victim, till he murders the son (Hugh O’Conor) of an American researcher (David Dukes), who vows to find a way to destroy the monster once and for all.
Flick is lamely directed by George Pavlou from a screenplay by Barker himself. The director fails to bring any scares or intensity to the tale, even with Rex reigning bloody terror on Ireland’s trailer parks and tourists. You’d think that with this local legend being so well known in a small town, to the point of being included in a church stained glass window, that a local farmer would known better than to remove the stone that has imprisoned the beast for centuries. The creature himself is extremely rubbery and when it roars, you can see actor Heinrich von Schellendorf’s own mouth inside it’s maw. The monster is dressed like he’s a member of a Danish heavy metal band, complete with mohawk and there seems to be little rhyme or reason for his killing. It’s very random. There is also little explanation as to why or how Rex gains control of a local priest (Ronan Wilmott) by pissing on him. The acting from a cast of basic unknowns is quite underwhelming and despite the amusement of abundant gore, the make-up and visual FX are all quite cheesy. The climactic confrontation with Rubberhead Rex is also silly and we get little explanation as to why things work out the way they do. It seems made up as they go along…like the rest of the movie, to be honest.
I never understood the love for this flick. It has a decent fan-base and is fondly remembered, but I am not a fan. A recent revisit didn’t change my mind, even with laughably cheesy FX and a lot of 80s nostalgia. It’s not scary. It’s not intense. It has a very thin story that really doesn’t go anywhere and it’s creature is too rubbery and silly looking to be the least bit effective. There is a lot of bloodshed and heads ripped off, but otherwise, little to recommend. For it’s fans only.
Rated 2 rubbery Rexs.