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Candyman – Collector’s Edition (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Candyman took its sweet time coming to Blu-ray in the United Stats. The 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray debut on the other hand? Its coming sort of on the heels of the Collector’s Edition Scream Factory put out a few years ago. And they aren’t slouching with this double dip. A new transfer, and upgraded to Atmos audio track and a new interview filter in to the already stacked bonus features being ported over from the previous release. You can order yourself a copy using the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review. Candyman, the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray Collectors Edition from Scream Factory, will be hitting stores on May 24th.

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Film

Originally published 11/18/2018

Skeptical graduate student Helen Lyle befriends Anne-Marie McCoy while researching superstitions in a housing project on Chicago’s Near North Side. From Anne-Marie, Helen learns about the Candyman, a knife-wielding figure of urban legend that some of her neighbors believe to be responsible for a recent murder. After a mysterious man matching the Candyman’s description begins stalking her, Helen comes to fear that the hooked hand legend may be all too real.

Many will decry the first half of the 1990s, between Silence of the Lambs and Scream, as bottom feeder period in the genre’s cinematic landscape. I’ve always felt that’s a bit too harsh. The only thing not going well for horror was that its icons of the previous decade (Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and company) were waning in both quality and box office receipts. Newcomers weren’t setting the world on fire either, unless someone wants to go to bat for the Leprechaun. That is, except for one; Candyman. And when people go on about this “bad” stretch, I always point out that the best horror film of the decade was released in this time.

There’s no shame in admitting this, and I’ve always shared; Candyman scared the absolute piss out of me after I saw for the first time. It frightened me to the lengths that I was genuinely afraid to enter a bathroom, especially with a mirror present, for a few weeks after it. Bernard Rose’s film based on a Clive Barker short story swept me in and brought all sorts of real life and fantastical horror that made me a firm believer even though I knew this was a complete work of fiction. But, it was effective enough that the 0.000001% of my brain that left open a “But, what if…” was winning the battle for a bit.

Candyman was an honest story that felt like it truly was taking place in the real world. The characters seemed genuine and it introduced the fantastical in such a way that it made it feel practical. The villain was brought to us with a careful build up and search. We watch as Virginia Madsen’s Helen goes from a skeptical outsider to a firm believer pulled in and becoming a part of the continued lore. Different from what came before, this was a slasher film that for adults. This was essentially in the Freddy Krueger mold with a speaking monster arriving in visions and providing dream-like sequences that would result in actual consequences in the real world. A film of this nature works two-fold as it hits the compelling adult notes and for the younger audience, they feel like they are invested in something more astute and mature. Effectively, both age ranges are frightened.

Tony Todd has long been one of my favorite performers in film/television and this was the movie where I decided after, I wanted to watch everything he does if I’m able (Enemy Territory rocks! Give it a Blu-ray release!). I had seen Night of the Living Dead (Which I enjoyed him a lot in) but didn’t put 2 and 2 together right away. In his signature role, he brings some of the most incredible fear and menace, but what he also carries with him that his fellow monster icons don’t is a genuine sense of sadness, despair and understanding. That’s not just in the script, its in his voice and his facial expressions and body movement. This isn’t some late sequel turn or new spin that tends to happen with monster, its who the character the demonic ghostly appearance of Daniel Robitaille actually is. And that might be what helps make him the most terrifying of all.

Surrounding Todd in the film is a fantastic lead performance by Virginia Madsen, and its her ability to balance fear and intrigue together that help make the film so compelling. The chemistry of a monster and a female is something long brushed with going back to King Kong, but until The Shape of Water, no better had it been done that in this movie. There are also some terrific character actors appearing in this movie, including the terrific Xander Berkeley doing another solid a-hole turn. What’s best about the cast and a credit to Bernard Rose as well, is how lived in and real life everyone makes this film feel at every single turn. It makes the violence and gore that happen in it feel like an actual crime scene and they truly sting to look at as you have felt that these are actual humans and not film characters being mutilated.

For many years, I had said Candyman was one of my favorite horror films of all time, one of the best ever and the best Clive Barker inspired film. While great praise, I’ve been selling it short. This is one of my flat out favorite films of all time. Everything clicks on every level with things I hadn’t mentioned; set design, a BEAUTIFUL score, special effects and iconography. Its a perfect film to me, I wouldn’t change a thing. And best of all, its one of the scariest films I’d ever seen and really really got to me as I struggled to look at a mirror in the dark or late a night for a while. There’s no higher praise for horror than that.

In addition to this review, over at Out Now with Aaron and Abe, we recorded a commentary last year in celebration of the new film’s release.

And that’s not all, we also did a series retrospective a little later in October

Video

Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the standard Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/DetailCandyman‘s 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray debut and second time around from Scream Factory features a 4K transfer from the original negative, supervised and approve by writer/director Bernard Rose and director of photography Anthony B. Richmond (Theatrical) by Arrow Video. The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation is in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible) for both cuts of the film presented via seamless branching. The film appears lovelier than ever and has a pretty dark look. It balances a line of natural/washed out and deep bold colors, showcasing a very nice contrast. Details and depth take a very noticeable step up in this upgraded image.

Depth:  As mentioned, depth of field is improved here. What impressed before, impresses again with added value. There’s a real nice sense of scale and the film just feels bigger than it ever has before. Motion is smooth and filmic with no issues coming in the form of any distortions from rapid camera or actor movements.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and natural. Their saturation and contrast really elevate this new presentation. This film has exquisite shadow and nighttime sequences. Even more pattern, texture and detail comes apparent in the darkest corners of the frame. No crushing witnessed.

Color ReproductionCandyman features a palette that is very urban and natural, keeping a bold look with mostly dingy or “normal” colors. However, there are some great moments with pop, including a blue sweater Virginia Madsen wears and some other articles throughout. Lights in windows, lamps and such in the dark glow well and the fire in the finale roars off your screen beautifully.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural, aside from obviously filtered sequences, and keep appearance throughout the whole film. Features like scarring, stubble, lip texture, wrinkles, make-up brushing, dried blood and more come through quite clear. Special effects hold up quite well and look very natural still in this high quality presentation restored image.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

DynamicsCandyman‘s gets an upgrade here to Atmos and it sounds very ghoulish. The film’s audio is very impactful and runs loose around your viewing space. It has the mind to go from natural to madness without ever feeling overdone. There is a precision on the layering and depth here, especially with making lifelike and jumping sound effects. its all blended with a good balance and makes for a very fun and spooky experience.

Height: Ohhhh they have some fun up here, especially with Tony Todd’s boom vocals. There are also some nice contributions from some of the interiors with window or scooting around from above.

Low Frequency Extension: Tony Todd’s voice rumbles your subwoofer, the gothic score shakes it and many of the loud effects hit plenty hard enough. Its a pretty awesome outing from your subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: There’s a lot to hit up front, but this mix rather plays with the room and jumps around with unique sounds in side and rear channels. They can build a room, roll around with the action or even just pop out and make you turn your head as if something was actually there.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp. Tony Todd’s voice overs are especially deep, rumbly, clear and haunting.

Extras

Candyman – Collector’s Edition 4K is a 3-disc set that comes with the standard edition Blu-rays of each cut of the film. These aren’t precisely the same standard Blu-ray discs as before, both now have the new Atmos track and one has a new interview done for this release.

You can find detailed overviews/thoughts on the legacy bonus features on the review for the Blu-ray Collector’s Edition’s HERE

DISC 1 – 4K UHD

Audio Commentary

  • with writer/director Bernard Rose and actor Tony Todd (Theatrical Cut)
  • with authors/film historians Stephen Jones and Kim Newman (Theatrical Cut)

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:04)

DISC 2 – BLU-RAY DISC 1 (THEATRICAL)

Audio Commentary

  • With Writer-Director Bernard Rose and Actor Tony Todd
  • With Stephen Jones and Kim Newman
  • With Director Bernard Rose, Author Clive Barker, Producer Alan Poul and Actors Tony Todd, Virginia Madsen and Kasi Lemmons
  • With Director Bernard Rose, Moderated By The Movie Crypt’s Adam Green and Joe Lynch

Sweets To The Sweets: The Candyman Mythos (SD, 23:49) 

Clive Barker: Raising Hell (SD, 10:46) 

The Heart of Candyman (HD, 7:07) 

Bernard Rose’s Storyboards (HD, 5:22) 

Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2:05) 

TV Spots (SD, 1:36)

Still Gallery (HD, 5:19)

Original Script (BD-Rom)

DISC 3 – BLU-RAY DISC 2 (UNCUT)

Looking Back In The Mirror (HD, 15:49) – An interview with actress Vanessa Williams. This interview is new for this release. Williams does a pretty all encompassing look at her career leading up to Candyman, making the film, her rather awesome observations and interactions with both Clive Barker and Bernard Rose, and also working on the new one and her thoughts revolving on Nia DaCosta’s film from last year.

Be My Victim (HD, 9:47)

It Was Always You, Helen (HD, 13:11)

The Writing on the Wall: The Production Design of Candyman (HD, 6:22)

Forbidden Flesh: The Makeup FX of Candyman (HD, 8:02)

A Story to Tell: Clive Barker’s “The Forbidden” (HD, 18:39)

Urban Legend: Unwrapping Candyman (HD, 20:41)

Reflection in the Mirror with Kasi Lemmons (HD, 9:48)

A Kid in Candyman With Dejuan Guy (HD, 13:36)

Summary

Candyman remains one of my all time favorite horror films and simply films in general. Scream Factory already had a boffo collector’s edition of the film on standard Blu-ray, but they’ve managed to even scoot past that a solid degree with this new 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray presentation. The next transfer is gorgeous and the Atmos track is quite wicked. A new interview with Vanessa Williams to tick off another box of someone not there for the last disc seals the deal of a terrific upgrade.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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