New York Times - 10/16/1992
"...The imagination of Clive Barker is authentically strange....[Madsen is] enterprising..."
USA Today - 10/16/1992
"...The Candyman cometh, and terror fans rejoice. Finally, a modern-day bogeyman who pierces the psyche..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 10/16/1992
"...Madsen and Lemmons, courageous and plucky, make sympathetic heroines..."
Folklorics graduate student Helen Lyle's (Virginia Madsen) thesis research leads her into the urban underworld of Chicago's Cabrini-Green housing projects, whose residents are genuinely terrified of "Candyman" (Tony Todd), a legendary figure with a hook for a hand. Skeptical, she "summons" him in front of a mirror and discovers with horror that he's real and wants her to join him in his "mythic" world; when she refuses, he murders those in her wake, leaving her to be charged with the crimes. She tries to explain who the real culprit is, but her efforts fail, and authorities commit her to a mental hospital. This taut horror thriller is based on "The Forbidden," by Clive Barker, who also executive-produced.
Helen Lyle is writing a thesis on Candyman, a supposedly mythical killer who attacks his victims with a hooked hand when they say his name in front of a mirror. During her research, she meets up with the killer, who wants her to join him in his "mythic" world; when she refuses, he murders those in her wake, leaving her to be charged with the crimes. She tries to explain who the real culprit is, but her efforts fail, and authorities commit her to a mental hospital. Desperate to prove her sanity, she summons Candyman, who comes and helps her escape. But he has more murderous impulses to quell, and still wants her to join him in his parallel life.
Although the film credits say the film is based on a story by Clive Barker, it is also loosely derived from an actual series of murders that took place in a Chicago housing project. Finding that in a certain building two apartments' bathroom mirrors backed up on each other with nothing in between, a killer was able to rip through the vanity to get from one apartment to another.