It was 1993 and I was at an all-girls sleepover party. One of my friends decided to go all out for her birthday and arranged this massive celebration with all of our friends from gymnastics. We were all nerds, and we liked it! As we shuffled into her fathers house for a night of no-sleep madness, we all pulled together pillows, blankets, popcorn, soda, candy, and snacks into her living room. My friends younger brother pulled out a VHS tape behind his back and had a sinister laugh. ‘It’s the CANDYMAAAAAN!’ he exclaimed.

I was terrified. Being a big Hello Kitty fan, I was not the big fan of gory, scary thriller movies, mainly due to the fact that living in an all-girls home. The audience was pretty PG. And cookie cutter really.

The main VHS tapes we had at my house consisted of Disney movies, Fraggle Rock reruns that we taped while watching it on HBO, Beetlejuice, E.T. and Labyrinth. These movies were semi-scary, but not REALLY a gory, psychological thriller about a haunted serial killer constantly swarmed by bees that gave out candy with razer blades and went after everyone saying his name 5 times in a row while looking at yourself in the mirror. I was so scared, I had to call my mom to pick me up. Lying that I had a stomach ache, I needed to get out of that house, and I needed to get out fast.

The bad news was that I couldn’t escape the CandyMan. Every bathroom in our house had mirrors and every time I had to go to the bathroom I had to leave the door open. I didn’t trust the CandyMan, even when I didn’t call for him. I couldn’t shower for 3 days. It was the first horror movie that I saw that CHANGED me. The terrifying scares of a supernatural killer got me. And then from that year on, I swore off scary movies.

Flash forward to 30 years later, I had to go back to that sleepover in 1993 and instead of watching the 1992 version of CANDYMAN, I caught the 2021 version today. And boy, it did not disappoint.

The editing was on point and the narrative was equally as disturbing. We see the complete deterioration of a painter slash artist that is going THROUGH IT. His career is in shambles, he hasn’t sold a painting in years. His wife is checked out, working her way up the corporate ladder in the installation world. She is so concerned with getting her next promotion that she is too busy to see him changing for the worse.

We learn soon that his wife’s father commited suicide in front of her, jumping 20 stories to his death in a tower they lived in growing up. The brother gets on her husbands case, reminding him that she is paying the bills and he should be thankful that she is floating the boat while he is discovering himself.

This tragic moment shows her soft side to help artists, hence her eventually marrying one. They live in a very posh life and seem to have an upper class lifestyle that treats them both well. Eating out at nice restaurants and drinking nice wine; these two seem a bit spoiled living the luxurious life. But something is eating at her husband and he does not feel fulfilled.

One night the wife’s brother is sitting on the couch and over for dinner. He introduces his boyfriend to the group and starts to tell tales of the horror stories that came out of the broken down projects apartment complex that once was but now is abandoned. It seems there was a man that lived in the basement of the complex that would come out of the wall and give the kids candy. One day her brother went downstairs to do laundry and the man came out of the wall and scared the crap out of the kid. There was a hole in the wall and he peered into it, thinking there was something there but then knew it couldn’t be someone in the wall. He continues doing his laundry when someone peers out of the hole with a steel hook for a hand and offers him candy. The boy screams and luckily the police are nearby and run in to try and save him. He goes upstairs and the police funnel down and kill the man, even though the man really didn’t do anything wrong but wanted to give the kid some candy. We see a glimpse of horror here that is tormenting and terrifying. Should the boy have not screamed?

Either way the story starts to unfold as the painter decides to get out and take pictures of an old abandoned church that has since been boarded up. As he stares at the eerie looking abandoned church, he takes pictures and is suddenly stung by a bee. The bee sting ends up getting infected, getting progressively worse as the movie rolls out. We see that weird murders start popping up that trail the painters friends and family. The curse seems to recycle itself in this psychological thriller.

Have you said CANDYMAN five times in your mirror today?

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