Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Candyman (2021, Nia DaCosta)


First off the new Candyman movie is a sequel, not a remake. I’m not sure if the advertising campaign made that clear, yet if one views the new flick l they will witness obvious connections to the first movie. I also slightly prefer the new one over the original, although I do also love the original. Both are fantastic and contribute to modern horror cinema, although I’ll grudgingly admit the 1990s are now three decades ago. Time sure flies.

Nia DaCosta does a fine job of linking Candyman to the horrors of the past, as showcased in extremely freaky puppet show display flashbacks. According to the latest movie, Candyman is powered by victims of extreme brutality and hatred, yet of course also relies on people foolish enough to say his name. Those who don’t believe in his legend do so at their own peril.

In the case of young artist Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and his girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris), they discover that Candyman is very real. Anthony becomes obsessed with the urban myth, even going so far as to interview a local man (Colman Domingo) about Candyman and also creating paintings inspired by his research. The new Candyman works by mostly walking the fine line between social commentary and being really creepy, and is mostly successful.

Some parts are too heavy handed-one scene happens in a bathroom and it doesn’t take a genius to guess what happens next. Also the last act is a bit sloppy in that regard, and I’m not sure that’s how I would have ended the movie. However I chucked at Brianna refusing to go down into a dark basement, and one kill scene begins with a fantastic mirror shot. I will admit this film deserves a longer review, possibly an essay.

Hang around for the credits, that’s for sure. I remember Shudder’s Twitter account bravely asserting that horror is political, and they have a point. Some of my all time favorite horror movies are political and deal with social economic issues. Candyman (2021) is a fine addition to that line of work, and I’m glad I saw it on the big screen. It’s nice to support modern horror sometimes.

Get Out (2017, Peele)


WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR GET OUT:

Also this essay is a work in progress and was penned while drinking at my favorite local bar after I saw the movie months ago:

From the very beginning when a black man is afraid to walk the suburbs to the gory and exciting last act, Jordan Peele’s Get Out is an exercise in pure fear. Every once in a while there is a horror film that scares the crap out of me, and 2017 delivers one that should be seen on the big screen. I laughed and then got quiet as a poor black man was knocked out and stuffed into the back of a trunk, while weird southern music played in the background. Cue opening credits. Thanks to Halloween (both versions) and Scream I am terrified of the suburbs. Only this time it’s not one psychopath wearing a mask.

Also don’t forget the liberal racism of white people, although I doubt most of the guests at the dinner party Rose’s creepy white parents throw during the weekend that Chris, her boyfriend, and her decide to visit fit leftist ideals. Upon arriving we get two black servants and a house straight out of any upstanding horror film. This movie has so many references I lost track, although several came to mind: Rosemary’s Baby, The Shining, Burnt Offerings and even Funny Games and You’re Next. I think there may even be a little Texas Chainsaw Massacre in that instead of poor redneck cannibals it’s a rich family using black people to keep on living forever, obtaining their strengths. One thing I got out of the dinner party is how secretly cruel and awful elderly people set in racism can be, and that even the one who isn’t apparently racist is in fact just as bad as the rest of them.

Oh and Chris’ buddy, Rod is hilarous yet also makes sense through out the entire film. When he goes to the police it doesn’t matter that they’re minorities, either: his story is dismissed, partly for being crazy but also because cops are worthless in any horror movie. They never believe what is happening, even if presented with evidence. When Chris gets carded by the police and responds with a tired expected compliance, it’s very telling. As is when a cop car pops up later and Chris assumes the hands up position that I’m sure all too many people of color know quite well.

Peele couldn’t have picked a better pair of people to play Rose’s parents. Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener are a perfect embodiment of white privilege and attempts to convince people they aren’t racist. Although I wonder if they would take anyone who fits their ideal of strength and proper genetics, according to them anyways. Get Out also features their kids carrying on their parent’s heritage of racism, this proving that hoping the younger generation overcomes their parents brand of hate is a foolish notion. If anything the film almost suggests that eliminating white racists is the answer, although I don’t want to read too much into a movie where a man kills someone with deer antlers.

I love the little details in this movie. Someone on Twitter pointed out how Rose refuses to mix her colored cereal with her milk. Her brother sits and pulls a Deliverance, playing some type of guitar while Rose and Chris reenter the mansion shortly before things completely explode. If there is critiques of this movie then it is that I saw the twists coming, although they are fairly telegraphed in the film. I really hope that Jordan Peele makes another film and has a successful career as a director. He has style, ideas and has given the world another great film, not just a horror film but a movie. Might as well cut back on the titles anyways.

2017 Movie Viewing Log


Top 10 of the Year:

Image result for iron giant

1. The Iron Giant (1999, Bird)
2. The Castle In The Sky (1986, Miyazaki)
3. Delicatessen (1991, Jeunet, Caro)
4. Mother! (2017, Aronofsky)
5. Wind River (2017, Sheridan)
6. Arrival (2016, Villeneuve)
7. Get Out (2017, Peele)
8. Donnie Darko Directors Cut (2001, Kelly)
9. Baby Driver (2017, Wright)
10. Hell or High Water (2016, Mackenzie)

Well it’s that time again.

January:

1. Meek’s Cutoff (2010, Reichardt)-65, Netflix Instant Viewing
2. The Gunman (2015, Morel)-70, Netflix Instant Viewing
3. The Lobster (2015, Lanthimos)-92, Family Video
4. Hail, Caesar! (2016, Coen Brothers)-91, Family Video
5. Night Moves (2014, Reichardt)-88, Public Library
6. Room (2015, Abrahamson)-95, Family Video

Movie of the Month: Room (2015, Abrahamson)-95, Family Video

February:

Image result for arrival (2016)

7. Dirty Grandpa (2016, Mazer)-78, Amazon Prime
8. Hell or High Water (2016, Mackenzie)-96, Family Video
9. Out of Sight (1998, Soderbergh)-90, Crackle
10. Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982, Reiner)-83, Family Video
11. Beyond The Black Rainbow (2010, Cosmatos)-81, Public Library
12. Ex Machina (2015, Alex Garland)-95, Family Video
13. Justice League: War (2014, Oliva)-70, Netflix Instant Viewing
14. Girl Asleep (2015, Myers)-93. Netflix Instant Viewing
15. Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013, Oliva)-81, Netflix Instant Viewing
16. Death Race 2050 (2017, Echternkamp)-80, Netflix Instant Viewing
17. John Wick Chapter 2 (2017, Stahelski)-95, Theater Viewing
18. Manchester By The Sea [2016, Lonergan)-93, RedBox
19. Arrival (2016, Villeneuve)-97, RedBox
20. The Crippled Avengers (1978, Chang)-77, Netflix Instant Viewing
21. Finding Dory (2016, Stanton)-88, Netflix Instant Viewing
22. Gnomeo and Juliet (2011, Asbury)-60, DVD
23. Zach and Miri Make A Porno (2008, Smith)-87, Netflix Instant Viewing

Movie of the Month: Arrival (2016, Villeneuve)-97, RedBox

March:

24. Man of Steel (2013, Snyder)-90, Family Video
25. Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016, Snyder)-71, Family Video
26. Get Out (2017, Peele)-97, Theater Viewing
27. Superman: The Movie (1978, Donner)-91, Netflix Instant Viewing
28. Night Owls (2015, Hood)-86, Netflix Instant Viewing
29. Kung Fury (2015, Sandberg)-90, Netflix Instant Viewing
30. The Iron Giant (1999, Bird)-100, Netflix Instant Viewing
31. Logan (2017, Mangold)-94, Theater Viewing
32. Kong: Skull Island (2017, Vogt-Roberts)-90, Theater Viewing
33. Superman II (1980, Lester/Donner)-90, Netflix Instant Viewing
34. Ms. 45 (1981, Ferrara)-93, YouTube
35. Superman III (1983, Lester)-34, Netflix Instant Viewing
36. Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987, Furie)-65, Netflix Instant Viewing
37. X-Men: Apocalypse (2016, Singer)-81, RedBox

Movie of the Month: The Iron Giant (1999, Bird)-100, Netflix Instant Viewing

April:

38. Looney Tunes: Back In Action (2003, Dante)-80, Netflix Instant Viewing
39. HairBrained (2013, Kent)-76, Netflix Instant Viewing
40. Joe Vs The Volcano (1990, Shanley)-88, Family Video
41. In Like Flint (1967, Douglas)-88, Netflix Instant Viewing
42. Eyewitness (1981, Yates)-75, Netflix Instant Viewing
43. Micheal Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special (2017, Aukeman)-90, Netflix Instant Viewing
44. Reptilicus (1961, Pink)-40, Netflix Instant Viewing
45. Free Fire (2016, Wheatley)-93, Theater
46. High Rise (2016, Wheatley)-95, Netflix Instant Viewing
47. The Castle of Fu Manchu (1969, Franco)-7, Comet TV

Movie of the Month: High Rise (2016, Wheatley)-95, Netflix Instant Viewing

May:

48. Carnage Park (2015, Keating)-75, Netflix Instant Viewing
49. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017, Gunn)-93, Theater Viewing
50. Sausage Party (2016, Vernon and Tiernan)-80, Netflix Instant Viewing
51. Donnie Darko Directors Cut (2001, Kelly)-97, DVD
52. Eegah (1962, Hall Sr.)-15, Netflix Instant Viewing
53. Alien: Covenant (2017, Scott)-93, Theater Viewing
54. Catalina Caper (1967, Sholem)-5, Netflix Instant Viewing
55. Future War (1997, Doublin)-10, Netflix Instant Viewing
56. Twice-Told Tales (1963, Salkow)-80, Comet TV

Movie of the Month: Donnie Darko Directors Cut (2001, Kelly)-97, DVD

June:

Image result for my neighbor totoro

57. Wonder Woman (2017, Jenkins)-91, Theater Viewing
58. It Comes At Night (2017, Shults)-92, Theater Viewing
59. Hercules Against the Moon Men (1964, Gentilomo)-35, Netflix Instant Viewing
60. Horrors of Spider Island (1960, Böttger)-6, Netflix Instant Viewing
61. I Accuse My Parents (1944, Newfield)-40, Netflix Instant Viewing
62. Jack Frost (1964, Rou)-65, Netflix Instant Viewing
63. Fist Fight (2017, Keen)-80, Family Video
64. Laserblast (1978, Rae)-0, Netflix Instant Viewing
65. Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders (1996, Berton)-50, Netflix Instant Viewing
66. Los Nuevos extraterrestres (1983, Simón)-15, Netflix Instant Viewing
67. Spy (2015, Feig)-88, Family Video
68. Ant-Man (2015, Reed)-88, Family Video
69. My Neighbor Totoro (1988, Miyazaki)-95, Theater Viewing
70. The Pocket Man (2016, Chubinidze)-92, Theater Viewing
71. Snack Attack (2012, Cadelago)-75, Theater Viewing

Movie of the Month: My Neighbor Totoro (1988, Miyazaki)-95, Theater Viewing

July:

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72. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964, Webster)-0, Netflix Instant Viewing
73. The Sidehackers (1969, Trikonis)-0, Netflix Instant Viewing
74. Baby Driver (2017, Wright)-97, Theater Viewing
75. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017, Watts)-93, Theater Viewing
76. A Single Life (2014, Blaauw, Oprins, Roggeveen)-82, Theater Viewing
77. Game Over (2006, Pes)-85, Theater Viewing
78. Luminaris (2011, Zaramella)-91, Theater Viewing
79. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989, Miyazaki)-91, Theater Viewing
80. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017, Besson)-55, Theater Viewing
81. Teenagers From Outer Space (1959, Graeff)-51, Netflix Instant Viewing
82. National Lampoon’s Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj (2006, Nathan)-56, Charge TV

Movie of the Month:  Baby Driver (2017, Wright)-97, Theater Viewing

August:

83. Dunkirk (2017, Nolan)-93, Theater Viewing
84. Night Monster (1942, Beebe)-56, MeTV
85. Bite (2015, Archibald)-60, Public Library
86. The Black Torment (1964, Hartford-Davis)-81, Public Library
87. Blair Witch (2015, Wingard)-69, Public Library
88. Atomic Blonde (2017, Leitch)-88, Theater Viewing
89. Johnny Express (2014, Woo)-93, Theater Viewing
90. The Castle In The Sky (1986, Miyazaki)-100, Theater Viewing

Repeats Seen On The Big Screen: Temple of Doom (1984, Spielberg)-90 and The Last Crusade (1989, Spielberg)-95.

Movie of the Month: The Castle In The Sky (1986, Miyazaki)-100, Theater Viewing

September:

91. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002, Tezuka)-75, Comet TV
92. Deathstalker III: The Warriors from Hell (1988, Corona)-35, Comet TV
93. The Castle of Cagliostro (1979, Miyazaki)-92, Theater Viewing
94. Cave Dwellers (1984, D’Amato)-0, Comet TV
95. Wind River (2017, Sheridan)-98, Theater Viewing
96. Afternoon Class (2015, Oh)-90, Theater Viewing
97. The Centrifuge Brain Project (2012, Nowak)-90, Theater Viewing
98. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984, Miyazaki)-92, Theater Viewing

Movie of the Month: Wind River (2017, Sheridan)-98, Theater Viewing

October:

99. Mother! (2017, Aronofsky)-98, Theater Viewing
100. Bride of Frankenstein (1935, Whale)-95, Public Library
101. Crawlspace (1986, Schmoeller)-90, Public Library
102. A Cure for Wellness (2017, Verbinski)-65, Public Library
103. Urban Legend (1998, Blanks)-80, Crackle
104. The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1974, Gibson)-70, Tubi TV
105. The Manster (1959, Crane, Breakston)-45, Tubi TV
106. Final Destination 2 (2003, Ellis)-82, Public Library
107. 20 Million Miles To Earth (1957, Juran)-80, Public Library
108. Blood For Dracula (1974, Morrissey)-70, Public Library
109. Raw (2017, Ducournau)-92, Netflix Instant Viewing
110. Legion (The Exorcist III DC, 1990, Blatty)-94, Public Library
111. The Curse of the Cat People (1944, Wise, Fritsch)-71, Public Library
112. It (2017, Muschietti)-94, Theater Viewing
113. Pieces (1982, Simon)-77, TubiTV
114. Flesh For Frankenstein (1973, Morrissey)-75, Public Library
115. Fright Night (2011, Gillespie)-84, Public Library
116. Alice, Sweet Alice (1976, Sole)-82, TubiTV
117. Jennifer’s Body (2009, Kusama)-90, Blu Ray
118. Salem’s Lot (1979, Hooper)-90, Blu Ray

Movie of the Month: Mother! (2017, Aronofsky)-98, Theater Viewing

November:

Image result for delicatessen (1991)

119. Cutthroat Island (1995, Harlin)-45, Charge TV
120. Crossfire Trail (2001, Wincer)-77, Get TV
121. Delicatessen (1991, Jeunet, Caro)-100, Netflix Instant Viewing
122. Thor: Ragnarok (2017, Waititi)-91, Theater Viewing

Movie of the Month: Delicatessen (1991, Jeunet, Caro)-100, Netflix Instant Viewing

December:

Image result for paprika (2006)

123. Paprika (2006, Kon)-95, Public Library Blu Ray
124. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017, Johnson)-94, Theater Viewing
125. Scary Movie (2000, Wayans)-83, Netflix Instant Viewing
126. Justice League (2017, Snyder)-82, Theater Viewing

Movie of the Month: Paprika (2006, Kon)-95, Public Library Blu Ray

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