Classic film ‘Candyman’ more than just a horror flick

Film written and directed by former Grand Rapids resident Bernard Rose plays at Wealthy Theater Tuesday, Oct. 25
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Arrow Home Video courtesy photo

The supernatural horror film, “Candyman,” directed by former Grand Rapids resident, Bernard Rose (who lived in the city, 2006-2007), is screening at Wealthy Theater, 1130 Wealthy St SE, Tuesday, Oct. 25.

Rose also wrote the screenplay (based on a short story by Clive Barker) for the classic film, which spawned several sequels and a 2021 Jordan Peele remake.

The original 1992 version stars Virginia Madsen (Sideways) as lead character Helen Lyle and Tony Todd, who also stars in Rose’s new film, Traveling Light.

The plot goes something like this: While researching urban legends and folklore at an inner city Chicago housing project, graduate student Lyle learns of the “Candyman” (Todd), a spirit who kills anyone who says his name five times in front of a mirror. After a mysterious man matching the Candyman’s description begins stalking her, Helen comes to fear that the legend may be all too real. Other actors who appear in the film are Xander Berkeley, Vanessa E. Williams and Kasi Lemmons.
More that just another horror movie or slasher film, the original Rose-directed 1992 version of Candyman touches on themes not present in the Barker version of the story, which was set in England.
Rose’s version of the story, which tackles urban decay, miscegenation and slavery has spurred interesting discussions throughout the world of academia. One such example, “Decoding race, monstrosity, and desire in Candyman” can be accessed  here; this article,  “White Fright? Candyman (1992) Explained,” unpacks the film’s themes (with spoilers); and  Before ‘Get Out,’ There Was ‘Candyman’ describes the film as a “sophisticated examination of race, history, and love that feels as powerful and essential today as when it was released more than 25 years ago.”
Candyman is rated-R and has a running time of 1 hour, 39 minutes.
Tickets are available at the door: $8 General Admission/ $6 CMC & Wealthy Theatre Members. Doors open at 7 p.m., the film starts at 8 p.m.
Wealthy Theatre is operated by the Grand Rapids Community Media Center, a non-profit corporation. Purchase a membership here.
The theater offers light concessions and alcohol can be purchased by anyone 21+.
Purchase a digitally remastered in 4k version of the original Candyman here.

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