Barkercast Presents: Arrow Video's Candyman Bluray Review
Barkercast Presents: Arrow Video's Candyman Bluray Review
In the fall of 1992, the world was introduced to a new horror movie by the name of Candyman. Based upon the wonderful Clive Barker short story "The Forbidden", Candymanhas become a true classic among the horror elite thanks to Bernard Rose’s inspired directing, great performances from its main leads, the atmospheric score by composer Philip Glass, and most importantly it created one of the greatest screen villains of our time. The film went on to become a critical and financial success, but it has never been given a proper home video release. The previous dvd editions weren’t very good and the single disc bluray release I’ve heard wasn’t much better. Fans have been clammering for a better release of the film over the years and thankfully Arrow Video has once again stepped in and produced another wonderful special edition from the Clive Barker library. It’s almost as good as The Scarlet Boxset. The audio and picture quality are the best out of all the previous editions and I can't imagine it getting a better treatment than this in the future. This is another limited edition and it’s only being released in the UK, but American fans don’t need to fret because Scream Factory has also produced their own edition as well. Contents for this edition include exclusive artwork by Gary Pullin who does a lot of wonderful vinyl cover art for Waxwork Records. There’s a forty-page perfect bound booklet that reproduces the original hand-painted storyboards by writer/director Bernard Rose. There’s a fully illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by festival programmer Michael Blyth. And finally, six postcard-sized original UK lobby card reproductions. Which you can see in one of the pictures I've shared below along with some of Rose's hand-painted storyboard pics: In the fall of 1992, the world was introduced to a new horror movie by the name of Candyman. Based upon the wonderful Clive Barker short story "The Forbidden", Candymanhas become a true classic among the horror elite thanks to Bernard Rose’s inspired directing, great performances from its main leads, the atmospheric score by composer Philip Glass, and most importantly it created one of the greatest screen villains of our time. The film went on to become a critical and financial success, but it has never been given a proper home video release. The previous dvd editions weren’t very good and the single disc bluray release I’ve heard wasn’t much better. Fans have been clammering for a better release of the film over the years and thankfully Arrow Video has once again stepped in and produced another wonderful special edition from the Clive Barker library. It’s almost as good as The Scarlet Boxset. The audio and picture quality are the best out of all the previous editions and I can't imagine it getting a better treatment than this in the future. This is another limited edition and it’s only being released in the UK, but American fans don’t need to fret because Scream Factory has also produced their own edition as well. Contents for this edition include exclusive artwork by Gary Pullin who does a lot of wonderful vinyl cover art for Waxwork Records. There’s a forty-page perfect bound booklet that reproduces the original hand-painted storyboards by writer/director Bernard Rose. There’s a fully illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by festival programmer Michael Blyth. And finally, six postcard-sized original UK lobby card reproductions. Which you can see in one of the pictures I've shared below along with some of Rose's hand-painted storyboard pics: Disc One: There are two commentaries with the first one being very informative track with writer/director Bernard Rose and Candyman himself Tony Todd. They do a good job of keeping things chatting. Some of my favorite bits are that they shot in the real Cabrini Green of Chicago and hired real gangsters to help give the movie a more authentic feel. Rose had a lot of fights with the producers about Candyman being a sympathetic and tragic hero. Another interesting note is that Candyman was Rose’s first script that he ever wrote for a film which almost caused the movie not to get made. I’m not going to go into all the details here, but it’s a silly story about how the Hollywood system is ass-backwards. Rose also has never seen either Candyman sequels and doesn’t care too. That’s probably a smart move on his part. The most outrageous revelations from the track come from Todd who was pitched ideas for both a Candyman vs Leprechaun and Candyman vs The Crypt Keeper films. Yeah, those would’ve struck Hollywood gold right there. My question is why would Candyman fight anyone? He also was never fan of the floating out of the window scene. Rose loves Get Outand Jordan Peele is mentioned more than once. Another revelation that I found annoying was that the producers forced Rose to cut the dancing scene with Helen and Candyman shorter because they didn’t like the interracial context. Today that scene would’ve stay in. Rose also talks about the bonfire scene and how it was very scary to shoot. Finally, the ending was a re-shoot which I didn’t know. This was a very good commentary and shouldn't be missed. The second commentary by Stephen Jones (Clive Barker's Shadows of Eden) and Kim Newman is actually my favorite out of the two because these guys know their stuff when it comes to horror movies. They bring up interesting theories that open doors to look at the movie differently. I think the most interesting comment they make is how Candyman could be totally removed from the story and the movie would still work as a creepy, psychological thriller. When Jones was doing some research for the commentary, he found that the original land of Cabrini Green was referred to as the “little hell.” And the most important point they make is that even though the movie has a lot of changes from the original story, Rose’s direction doesn’t affect the flavor of it. The rest of the features are broken up into featurettes: Be My Victim: Interview with Tony Todd. Todd talks about how at first he didn’t believe the offer for the part was real when he was called by the producers. Originally, the studio wanted a more Eddie Murphy-type character for the role. This goes to show that producers never took horror seriously back in the early 90’s. Rose wanted a more serious approach and he knew Todd could bring that out. Both men wanted a Phantom of the Operastyle of character. The gothic vibe and lynching story line were also created by Rose and Todd. The costume created by Leonard Pollack was another step for Todd to create the character. The pants he wore were from that period as well. Another intersting fact is that there were five gangs operating in Cabrini Green during filming. The filmmakers had to pay them off to shoot there and they also had police snipers on set to protect the actors. Todd obviously adores Rose and says he’s a wonderful person. Rose apparently had to fight the NWACP because of how the film shows a black man in negative light. He states that films that bring up racial disparities are good for conversation with Candymanleading to many interesting discussions. I couldn’t agree more with him on that. He also said before he got the role Virginia Madsen (who was co-producer) had to sign off on him to do it. They got along great during the making of the film. To end the interview, he comments on how the bees had their own trailer and had their own names. He also mentioned this on the Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh bluray release. Here’s hoping that Todd gets to play the character again in the upcoming remake. It was always you Helen: Interview with Virginia Madsen. Virginia comes across like a very warm and compassionate person. She still has that beautiful smile that I’ve always loved about her when I first saw the film. Originally, the role of Helen was going to be played by Rose’s girlfriend and Madsen was going to play Bernadette. Of course the gods of cinema interfered and Rose’s girlfriend got sick and Madsen was given the role instead. She also had a lot of great things to say about working with Bernard Rose. He made her eat a lot pizza because he wanted her to “stay round” throughout the movie. The way she approached the part was that she pretended it was her in those circumstances. She found that she shared a lot of the same qualities that Helen had. Bernard Rose hypnotized her in the scenes where the Candyman puts Helen in a trance. It really scared her, but she wanted to do it again immediately! After making that film, she decided she would never do it again though. When the topic goes to talking about her co-star Tony Todd, the first thing she noticed about him was that he’s quite beautiful and had a wonderful voice. He was also very handsome and gentle. The shot where Candyman breaks through the mirror to scare Helen was real and she wasn’t expecting it at all. It pissed her off that the filmmakers did that to her, but later she found out that it took them a lot convincing to get Todd to do it. She totally has forgiven Tony today for the incident. She also relates the Candyman and Helen's love story to Phantom of the Operacalling it a “everlasting” love. She comments on how all the cast was all very close and even working with bees is quite pleasant. She didn’t however like working in the burn makeup though. And finally, she still regardsCandymanas one of her favorite movies. The Writing on the Wall: The Production of Candyman: Interview with Jane Anne Stewart. Once again props are given to Rose for being great to work with. He knew what he wanted as far the design went and if he wanted a wall covered with fake feces, he was going to get it. A lot of her production designs are based on something real. They scouted with a location manager all over Cabrini Green to create a realistic look for the movie. The buildings there were built very inexpensively. Walls could easily be bashed through like in the movie. Stewart used this same aesthetic when crafting the sets for the film. When it came to craft Candyman’s lair for the film she believed it would be in one of the spaces where the occupants of Cabrini Green lived. She talked to Rose about how the people had built the lair for him. She built the set so big that DP Tony Richmond had to ask her to remove four feet from the ceiling, so he could get lights onto the set. The bonfire set was created by asking the city to bring in tons of trash. She built the path for the fire when Virginia crawls through the set. They practiced this a lot before shooting to get it just right so there wouldn’t be any problems. Forbidden Flesh: The Makeup FX of Candyman. Bob Keen, Gary J. Tunnicliffe, and Mark Coulier all talk about their experiences working on the movie. They were all hired to do the film after Hellraiser III: Hell on Earthhad finished filming. Gary J. Tunnicliffe built all the effects for the film and even created the hook. It was going to be much longer with the stump starting at the shoulder or the elbow. I’m glad they went against this idea. They tried to purchase a hook at first, but then decided to have it made by a blacksmith. Which is were things get a little weird for them. They explained to the blacksmith what they wanted, and he seemed fine with it at first. It's when they came back to pick it up that the blacksmith refused to give it to them because he and his son believed “in the good Lord Jesus.” He also said that they were also spawns of the devil. What an asshole. So, Gary had to make it himself which I think turned out better in the end. Things happen for a reason. They also talk about the effects for the chest reveal. A lot the work they put into that was covered up by the bees unfortunately. We were supposed to see lungs in the ribcage expanding in and out. I would've loved to have seen that. A Story to Tell: Clive Barker’s the Candyman: Douglas E. Winters talks about The Forbidden. Douglas E. Winters, who wrote the excellent book on Clive Barker called The Dark Fantastictalks about Clive’s early days and how "The Forbidden" story and movie are different from one another. For new fans that may not know “The Forbidden” appeared in volume five in The Books of Bloodand in the US as In the Flesh. The title “The Forbidden” Winters explains refers to “the forbidden fruit, the Faustian pact, or Pandora’s box being opened.” It’s that desire or need to see something that is kept from us. Winters comments that "The Forbidden" is the archetypal Clive Barker horror story because it’s a horror story about horror stories. It’s about the “allure of horror stories and why we want to read them.” In Clive’s story the setting is a slum in Liverpool where a woman who’s fascinated with graffiti and how that fascination leads her into the chaotic world of myths and legends. Eventually, she comes to know a creature known as the Candyman, a “forgotten God” who’s brought back to life because of her fascination with his acts and the community that also believes in him. It’s a fascinating look into the story and how Bernard Rose fell in love with it so much that he wanted to make an adaptation of it. Urban Legend: Unwrapping Candyman: Interview with Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes. Tananarive Due and her husband Steven Barnes are American authors who really love Candyman. They talk about how they were happy that it was a horror film with African Americans in it. They appreciated the political awareness of the story and how poverty played a large part into creating another underlying subtext that made the setting itself a monster. They believe if Candyman were made today you’d have to spend more time with the black characters which I’m sure the remake will probably do. I really agreed with them when they said how the film pleases both black and white audiences. They also say it helped that Bernard Rose wasn’t American, so he could look outside US system to make a film that would be more honest in its storytelling. The rest of the first disc has the original theatrical trailer, an image gallery, and three Bernard Rose short films. Disc Two: Original UK Theatrical Version that contains a few seconds of extra gore in scene where Candyman kills the psychiatrist. It’s really very little and doesn’t affect the scene at all. I'm still glad they made it available for the fans for this release. The Cinema of Clive Barker: The Devine Explicit— a brand new interview with Clive Barker. This is no doubt my favorite feature on the entire set. It’s been awhile since we’ve last heard from Clive and he has much to say about his films and why he loves what he does. He also gets very personal in this interview, but I’d like for everyone to experience these moments for themselves. I can’t stress how well done this interview is. Sadly, it’s is only exclusive to this release and I highly recommend it to any Clive Barker fan. I think this is the definitive edition of Candyman. Like I said before you really can't out do this version. It will be curious to see if Arrow Video will eventually release this into a single disc version in the future. If they do they should release it Stateside with the Clive Barker interview included. Every fan deserves to see that. This edition comes highly recommended!