The Whisper in the Classroom: Candyman


Not so long ago, I considered doing a review series of every Clive Barker adaptation/ film. I abandoned this for a variety of reasons- mostly they suck balls (seriously- go and watch Night Breed. It’s fucking dire- although it does star Cronenberg), Droid did one of the better ones, and unusually for him managed to do a good job (here), which would therefore make my review completely redundant, and finally that I’m struggling to finish the series that I’ve got ongoing at the moment. 

However, I did, as a direct result of this watch some of the better films, and seeing as I’m all about doing series at the moment, I thought that I’d launch the Candyman Trilogy.

I like Bernard Rose films. Ivansxtc is a grossly overlooked gem of a film that I’m going to do for the Underrated series when I can find a copy, but his most commercially and critically successful film is Candyman, an excellent adaptation of Clive Barker’s creepy story that moves the location from Liverpool to Cabrini Green, Chicago. Virginia Madsen plays Helen, a postgrad with an interest in Urban Myth. She’s married to a colossal douchebag (played with Bradley Cooper sack of cocks level smugness by Xander Berkely) and stumbles across what she believes is the ultimate Urban Legend: the Candyman.

The Candyman was a painter who was brutally murdered by a lynch mob for shagging a white woman. He had his hand cut off and replaced with a hook, was stung to death by bees and then set on fire. He’s understandably pissed but his legend has grown to dominate the project erected on his funeral pyre. The legend is, incidentally, that if you say “Candyman” five times in front of a mirror, then he’ll pop up and twat you with his hook. Quite why you would want eviscerating by an angry spirit is best not thought about. Actually, this is a riff on the “Bloody Mary” myth that did the rounds in the 80’s, but it is used well here. Helen, for reasons best known to herself, says his name 5 times.  

Helen’s investigations into The Candyman serve to hugely annoy the big man, and so he starts knocking off people she encounters in a variety of hook related grisly ways, and neatly pins the blame on Helen- who through the machinations of filmic convenience happens to be a dead ringer for the white girl at fault for his suffering. His plan, and again this is only the sort of plan that works in crappy horror films, is that Helen is to be his victim, and their death in the funeral pyre will lead to the reinforcement of the legend and they will live forever as “The whisper in the classroom”. Helen, understandably, isn’t too keen on this plan. To be fair, I don’t think I’d be too keen on it either, but he seems to think she’s being hugely unreasonable. I’m not really sure why, but there you have it. Candyman is a highly effective film. It supplies both an atmosphere of terror and some genuine jump scare moments, and I think this is as a result of a few things. The first is that the acting here is all first rate- Madsen is outstanding as the cynical and unflappable Helen, but the plaudits here must go to Tony Todd who is downright terrifying as the Candyman. He has a sinister presence on screen and his lines delivered in a gravelly voice, while wildly preposterous, are without exception menacing. Furthermore, unlike in most ghost films, every time he shows up something bad happens (and messily bad), and the film resists the temptation to throw him in periodically to keep the narrative moving. He’s used sparsely and effectively.

 Secondly, the setting is every bit as frightening as the ghost itself. Helen is nosing around a notorious project, and comes to grief on a few occasions through purely human reasons. The gangs that control the slum are not hugely keen on her and every time she shows up there something bad happens. The Candyman’s lair itself is a model of urban squalor and the comparison between the middle class life Helen lives and the misery that is the Candyman’s domain is drawn with some assurance.

The final reason for the effectiveness of this film is the score. It’s by Philip Glass and is memorable, eerie and downright unsettling. It’s a combination of choral and orchestral work and is, along with The Omen, The Exorcist and Phantasm, one of the most successful Horror movie scores out there. 

There’s a huge amount of crap written about this film. No it is not “Hitchcockian”, and nor is it social commentary (for fuck’s sake). It’s just a supremely effective ghost story, confidently handled, and well played. The ending is a huge downer, but feels appropriate here- unlike the happy endings of the sequels, and I do have to say that Candyman is a contender for best Horror film of the 90’s.

If I had to pick flaws in this film, then I do have to say that it’s the dialogue. The Candyman in particular gets absolutely execrable monologues, some of which are skin-crawlingly dated. Secondly, the actual end of the film doesn’t make sense. I won’t spoil it, but I can’t see how or why Trevor would be crying in a mirror, it just strikes me as an attempt to shoehorn in a late scare. Finally, but most tellingly, the reincarnated love theme doesn’t work and is frankly superfluous. Helen and The Candyman are already properly motivated- The Candyman because her scepticism is weakening him, which is a well thought out motivation, there’s no need to add this extra layer- and if anything serves to distract and annoy.Still, these are minor flaws, and the dialogue in particular can be overlooked when compared to the film’s atmospheric strength, so it isn’t anything to really anything that overly bothers me. Candyman is an excellent film and one that I’ll happily come back to.

Overall, I do recommend this film. It’s tense and frightening, gory and scary and a horror film that is not aimed at hormonal teenagers. Tony Todd managed to embody an enduring horror movie icon in this film, and I recommend it as worth seeing just for his performance. An excellent start that the sequels cannot live up to- and seeing as the story is completed so neatly here, I lean towards the argument that the sequels should never have even been attempted. I give it a well earned 3 Changs out of 4.

 Anyway, the next film in the series is coming soon, the somewhat middling Farewell to the Flesh (should be entitled Farewell to Logic), and then I finish on the terrible third part (which even Tony says is garbage). However, I do have to say that I am really enjoying digging out Horror Trilogies and Series, so I may well continue doing this for a while. It makes a pleasant change from schlock.

Until next time,


The Candyman Trilogy


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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

103 responses to “The Whisper in the Classroom: Candyman”

  1. kloipy says :

    Great review Jarv. This is one the top ten list for me of favorite horror movies and one of the last movies to have really frightened me the first time I saw it. It’s name is almost disarming because it sounds ridiculous as if this is a slasher that kills with lollipops or something. But the psychological terror brought upon Helen, after she sticks her head into places it should be, really ratches up the tension. Yes, candyman does kill a few people, but he’s just like a presence in the film instead of the main villian. Just look at the tension created in the bathroom scene. They tell you that story and then she walks in there and you have no fucking clue what’s behind those stalls. Just a great movie all around. And you are dead on about the Glass score of this movie. It’s perfect, the main theme is wonderful.
    I even didn’t mind the second one. I thought it had some good moments and pretty decent for a horror sequel. The third one though, I only made it about 15 minutes in before I had to shut it off. Complete garbage

  2. Franklin Thomas Marmoset says :

    Shouldn’t that be the Wispa in the classroom?

    Sweet-related zing!

  3. Franklin Thomas Marmoset says :

    Also, I agree. This is a very good film.

    I never bothered with the sequels, though. Like you say, the story is wrapped up nicely and they should have left well enough alone.

  4. Droid says :

    I haven’t seen this one. I’ve always been aware of it and assumed I’d see it one day, just never did. Should probably rectify that.

  5. Tom_Bando says :

    Haven’t seen this. Tony Todd though…Tony Todd I like. First really noticed the man in the Rock. You know the lines: “…And Mercenaries-GET. PAID. I WANT MY FUCKING MONEY—!!”

    Ed Harris: There is no fuckin’ money.

    And of course his opinion of Elton John music: I don’t like that Soft-ass shit–!”

    He also was the voice of the Fallen in Big Robot Hitting Each Other (One More Time), though you’d never know it, really. He has a role (on camera this time) in the next Big Robots flick-so there’s at least THAT to look forwards too.

    And I remember him in a Bab Five knockoff, too.

  6. xiphos0311 says :

    Good movie the rest suck bad.

  7. ThereWolf says :

    Fantastic movie, one of my favourite horror films. It’s hard (for me anyway) to talk people into watching Candyman, they think it’s a by the numbers slasher flick. I usually just say, “watch the opening credits, listen to the score, if you still think it’s gonna be a gore-driven slasher pic – press ‘stop’.”

    Trevor crying, I feel he’s realised the error of his ways. Alone in the bathroom, it’s all come back to haunt him (literally!), his behaviour, what he’s done to Helen; he just cracks up in the moment.

    Madsen is excellent as Helen, natural and believable; Todd is intimidating, a constant menacing presence looming over her shoulder.

    Philip Glass – minimal, majestic.

  8. RC of strangeculture says :

    Every Clive Baker adaptation – yikes that’d take forever…especially because they keep make more!

    • Jarv says :

      There aren’t as many as you think. The problem is that most of them are utter toss. That’s why I abandoned it.

      I am going to do the first 4 Hellraiser films at some point, being as I am the only person on the planet that likes part 3.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        Nah, so does Mrs Spud – but only in a nostalgic, that-was-one-of-the-first-horror-movies-I-ever-saw-at-the-cinema kind of way. I thouight it was absolutely shite in every conceivable way. Between the smoking fetish scenes rammed into the narrative, the ridiculous over-use of the fish-eye and split-focus lenses, the puerile “let’s have a dig at Christianity” attempts at profundity, and the wildly unimaginative Cenobite concepts this time round – the ONLY reason to watch it is the chance to imagine Paula Marshall and Terry Farrell shagging each other into a stupor in a back room while the nightclub slaughter scene (the only watchable bit of the movie IMHO) plays out.

        Or is that just me?

        I loved HELLRAISER II: HELLBOUND, just because of the sheer scale of imahgination in it, and the massive disparity between the epic scale of the concepts and the palpable lack of anything remotely resembling a budget to carry it out with. So you get a script that reveals the whole of Hell to be an endless labyrinth, and it gets realised by shonky matte work, Godawful bluescreen work, some half-arsed stop-motion work, using the same long corridor redressed (but not well enough) to represent Hell’s labyrinth, and Kenneth Cranham with both barrels. The ideas are fantastic, but the execution is just terrible – nudging HELLBOUND firmly into so-bad-it’s-awesome territory. Wonderful, terrible stuff.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        and when the hell are they going to make THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF JACQUELINE ESS into a movie? Now THAT would be a mindfuck of a movie!

        And I’d LOVE to see the twin villages fighting in IN THE HILLS, THE CITIES. That could be the weirdest, most gruesome thing put onscreen in ages…

      • Jarv says :

        I don’t remember the dig at Christianity. If anything it was a dig at new-wave religion.

        Unless you mean where whatshisname is shagging that bird then throws his arm out in a cross shape on orgasm (which is tacky and moronic).

        The problem with Hellraiser 3 is that they released the cenobites from Hell- the cenobites are effectively footsoldiers in Satan’s army. They don’t work when evil for their own sake, and there is nothing subversive about the pain they are offering.

        Hellraiser 2 is simply awesome- the last third of it is so bugnuts as to be untrue:

        “The Doctor is in, and he recommends… AMPUTATIONS”.

        It’s so jarring in comparison to the relatively staid and stable first 2/3 which were almost a rerun of part 1 (an outstanding film).

        Hellraiser: Bloodlines is, however, complete and utter shit.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        The HELLRAISER III Christianity jab is mainly the bit where Pinhead shoves two nailks through his palms, holds his arms out in the Jesus Christ Pose, and says, “I am the way!”. Same sort of pop culture blasphemy they threw into RAWHEAD REX, where the mad priest treats getting pissed on by some ancient beast as a benediction. Clive Barker has a real problem, it seems, with Christianity as a whole; hell, for all I know, it may have been Christians giving him the most shit for being in the closet in his early teens, who knows? There’s obviously some animosity there that hasn’t been gone into in any interviews I’ve read. But I do fid it interesting that while every man and his dog takes a pop at the Christians when wanting to diss religion, virtually NO-ONE dares to take a shot at Islam.

        I’ll believe these religion-haters are serious when Islam starts getting attack the way the God Squad has been. But then, it would require balls to attack the Muslim lunatic fringe*… balls your average blasphemer doesn’t have.

        As for BLOODLINES… HOW can you hate the idea of a space station that closes up as the opposite of the Lament Configuration Box, effectively trapping the Cenobites in the opposite of Hell?? I preferred the hell out of BLOODLINES to the shitfest that was HELL ON EARTH…

        *By Muslim lunatic fringe, I should specify – I have no problems with the vast majority of moderate Muslims, just those loonies that want to stone adulteres and homosexuals, and want to implement their barbaric, psychopathic laws on the rest of humanity by force of arms. THOSE people need stamping out like the scourge they are. Same goes for violent fundamentalists of ANY religion, including Christianity. Here endeth the lesson…

      • Jarv says :

        Because it’s staggeringly dull. I do like the idea of the Spaceship, but I strongly dislike the Cenobite shag-queen that turns good or whatever the fuck it is.

  9. MORBIUS says :

    I remember liking Candyman on first viewing,
    haven’t seen it in ages, will give it a second go
    if I can track it down. Thanks for the review.

  10. Spud McSpud says :

    As always, an excellent Jarv review. I’m particularly glad you pissed on this stupid film critic bollocks about the movie representing the struggle of working class black Americans vs the evil white woman WASP class, or social commentary in any form – I’ve read endless reviews putting these ideas into this, but at its heart, CANDYMAN is just a damn scary ghost story, fucking well made. Yes, it’s set in a project, and yes, there is a juxtaposition drawn between the disadvantaged at Cabrini Green and Helen’s cosy (but sterile and boring) middle-class existence, but really it’s not much to do with the story – the Candyman’s from a different time, different place. And for once, this verbose movie monster (Barker really likes his monsters to explain themselves, doesn’t he?) has decent motivations for everything he does. And finally, he’s fucking TERRIFYING. Tony Todd’s career never recovered from the greatness of this role. He emobides the Candyman perfectly.

    Oh, and Virginia Madsen. Hubba hubba. Just gorgeous.

    And you can’t rave about CANDYMAN without mentioning the score – so again, Jarv, kudos for covering EVERYTHING that makes this movie great. This is a Hallowe’en staple for the Spud household. So, cheers for this timely reminder of how awesome CANDYMAN still is as a balls-out frightfest of a movie.

    • Jarv says :

      Cheers Spud.

      That infuriates me no end, because the paralell is clearly drawn between the project and the academic life, however it isn’t the point of the flaming film. It’s an interesting note in an outstanding ghost story.

      Have you seen Midnight Meat Train? Vinny has had his tongue torn out in it, so can’t explain himself, and I think it’s the only film that I haven’t wanted to punch Bradley Cooper in.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        Aha! Nope, not seen MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, and the main reason was that Vinne Jones was in it – he’s fine as a one-note cypher of a character, as in LOCK STOCK or GONE IN 60 SECONDS, but he has to actually ACT in that, I would think. Is he any good?

        I take your point about Bradley Cooper, but I seem to be the only guy on AICN who actually enjoyed THE A-TEAM, and Bradley Cooper’s wired Peck was one of the main reasons. Sharlto Copley’s Murdock was great, and I even stopped hating Rampage Jackson’s BA after a while. It was exactly what it said it’d be: a re-imagining with just enough nostalgia value for the fans. And to flush my geek cred down the pan even further, I enjoyed SMOKIN’ ACES – which is why I think Carnahan was PERFECT for making THE A-TEAM.

        Or maybe I’m just a shitload less discerning about movies than I used to be…

        So – is MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN worth a watch, then? And have you seen DREAD or BOOK OF BLOOD yet? I’m re-reading the entire BOOKS OF BLOOD series, and thoroughly enjoying it mostly, but haven’t yet got into the movie adaps of them…

      • Jarv says :

        MMT was the role Vinny Jones was born to play. He just has to glower menacingly at the camera and hit someone in the head with a hammer every so often. It’s a surprisingly enjoyable, highly stylised piece of schlock. Even Droid liked it.

        Haven’t seen A-Team. Carnahan is on a one man mission to arse-rape his own credibility, and it smells too much like childhood molestation for me.

        Also, I have seen neither of those films and am going to at some stage.

        I’m still waiting for book 3 of Abarat to come out, which is hideously late now.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Spud you aren’t the only one who enjoyed Smoking Aces. It’s stupid over the top and enjoyable nothing of a movie.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I enjoyed Smoking Aces as well….just trust me on the sequel, skip the shit out of it.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        Glad you guys enjoyed SMOKIN’ ACES too… It’s been savaged all to hell all over the internet critically, and seems to always get slammed by the Talkbackers over at Harry’s place, yet THE LOSERS steals entire set-pieces from it wholesale (Chris Evans mind-shooting the security guards is straight out of ACES) and gets acclaimed. The internets is just weird sometimes.

        Yeah, I thoroughly enjoyed ACES. I’ll skip the sequel on your recommendation, and rewatch the first. Alicia Keys is particularly sexy in it too. Gotta love a woman who can handle a 50 cal…

      • Tom_Bando says :

        I kinda liked the A-Team, but it was really over the top. The movie was fine, but so long after the series-why bother, exactly? Ya got me.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        seems to always get slammed by the Talkbackers over at Harry’s place

        Come on Spud you know about 98.326154871% of those chowder heads are worthless none to bright numbnuts. why would you care what those chromosomally challenged asshats think?

      • Jarv says :

        No. Fucking. Way.

        Smokin’ Arses is a steaming turd of a movie- one that manages to be loud, cretinous and irritating simultaneously.

        Not to mention that the end is so awful that even were the rest of the film mint, which it isn’t, then it would still be awful.

        I stand by this- even worse than that shitfest Shoot ‘Em Up

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Jarv Smoking Aces is just a stupid fun nothing of a movie that really shouldn’t raise your blood pressure so much it isn’t worth it, it’s just to goofy for that sort of response.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I’m with Xi on this one. Mainly because Smoking Aces was pretty forgettable overall. I think you are just confusing Aces with Poop’em Up.

      • Jarv says :

        I still have ‘Nam style flashbacks from the time I got drunk and double billed Shitting Arses with Shit Em Up.

        Worst idea I’ve ever had. Even Monica Belluci as a lactating hooker couldn’t ease the pain.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        I hate disagreeing with the Jarv, fine fella that he is, but the idea of SMOKING ACES plus SHOOT EM UP plus beer and pizza = fucking great night in for me!! Throw CRANK in at the end and I’m one happy twat.

        Obviously, the caveat is that this is a trilogy solely reserved for those weekends where I want to watch shit that in no way requires even the mildest of workouts from my old grey matter. Not everything needs to be good for the heed – sometimes you just need to watch good, well-choreographed, well-paced, perfectly edited chaotic gunfights starring implausible characters, and Paul Giamatti. You just do. And not every gunfight needs to be the one from HEAT. I’ve loved stupid, cartoony gunfights ever since I saw HARD BOILED back in the early 90s – and these three movies give me that. Cartoon gunfights, done for real. Sorry, Jarv.

        And Clive Owen would’ve been so much better a Bond than Daniel fucking Craig. Him and the new direction Bond movies that are basically THE BOND IDENTITY, THE BOND SUPREMACY, THE BOND ULTIMATUM…

      • Spud McSpud says :

        Hey Xi,

        Yeah, you’re right – but sometimes it really fucking bugs me how a good 98.9% of the fucking mouthbreathers over there in Harry’s casa just fucking agree with consensus because it’s easier than thinking for themselves. Stuff like the blanket love for THE DARK KNIGHT – which, apart from Heath Ledger’s obviously genius performance, is too fucking long, boring in places, doesn’t even need Two-Face in it (for all the complete lack of chaos he causes before the end), and is generally over-hyped to a stpuid degree. Don’t get me started on BATMAN BEGINS TO BORE ME RIGID. I don’t get it.

        But yeah, I should just stop expecting those fucks to one day wake up itelligent. Ain’t gonna happen…

        And “stupid fun nothing” is EXACTLY what I’d describe my aforementioned three guilty pleasure cartoony gunfight movies as. No point trying to think objectively about them – there’s not enough substance there. It’s like eating candy floss- you can’t even begin to describe to a nutritionist why that might EVER be a good idea… but come on, who doesn’t like candy floss??

      • Spud McSpud says :

        Hey Xi,

        Yeah, you’re right – but sometimes it really fucking bugs me how a good 98.9% of the fucking mouthbreathers over there in Harry’s casa just fucking agree with consensus because it’s easier than thinking for themselves. Stuff like the blanket love for THE DARK KNIGHT – which, apart from Heath Ledger’s obviously genius performance, is too fucking long, boring in places, doesn’t even need Two-Face in it (for all the complete lack of chaos he causes before the end), and is generally over-hyped to a stpuid degree. Don’t get me started on BATMAN BEGINS TO BORE ME RIGID. I don’t get it.

        But yeah, I should just stop expecting those fucks to one day wake up intelligent. Ain’t gonna happen…

        And “stupid fun nothing” is EXACTLY what I’d describe my aforementioned three guilty pleasure cartoony gunfight movies as. No point trying to think objectively about them – there’s not enough substance there. It’s like eating candy floss- you can’t even begin to describe to a nutritionist why that might EVER be a good idea… but come on, who doesn’t like candy floss??

      • Droid says :

        Spud, the problem with SA and SEU is not that they’re dumb action flicks, it’s that they’re not ENJOYABLE dumb action flicks. They’re psuedo hip boring crap. And while I am intrigued as to wonder how Clive would’ve gone as Bond, I don’t think the Casino Royale is anything like a Bourne. That stigma has come about because Quantum was such a generic, pointless, boring faxsimile of current popular action films.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        Hey Droid,

        Fair play – I’ll give you ROYALE over QUANTUM. Plus Eva Green trumps any other thing that recommends the Craig BONDs. I’d ravage that woman with a fury the gods could not begin to fathom…

      • xiphos0311 says :


        you don’t like Nolan’s Batman Begins or The Dark Knight? That’s just more reasons to think you’re a good dude.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        Hey Xi,

        I just do not see what all the fuss was about with Bale’s Bat-movies. BEGINS was a confusing mess – all the crap with Ken watanabe supposedly being Ra’s Al-Ghul (which was painfully obviously a red herring), to the boring Batmobile chase – A BORING FUCKING BATMOBILE CHASE!! – to that fey fucker Cillian Murphy playing the Scarecrow (note to Nolan: if the villain looks like someone my seven-stone sister could beat the shit out of, HE’S NOT SCARY), to a climax that ends with Batman running a train off its tracks (boring in SPEED, boring in UNDERSIEGE 2, and fucking boring in this). I mean, it has moments of genius – I absolutely LOVE the scene where Bale stands in the newly created Batcave, surrounded by a cloud of bats, mastering his fear, BECOMING the Batman – but a good eighty percent of that movie is as boring as fuck.

        In THE DARK KNIGHT, let’s face it – when the Joker is off-screen, it’s as boring as fuck. Bale is better than in BEGINS, but not by much. NOBODY refers to politicians as “white knights” or “saviours of ” – at least, not to my limited working-class knowledge. Maybe mega-rich socialites talk like that about politicians, but I don’t fucking think so. And for a movie that loudly proclaims how proud it is of its realism – it’s a movie about a MAN WHO DRESSES AS A BAT TO FIGHT CRIME!! How is that fucking realistic?? And it further fails in its quest for “realism” with all this “white knight” “saviour of Gotham” nonsense. Two-Face is a boring bastard in this, Gary Oldman is fucking wasted for the second movie in a row, and Heath Ledger steals the fucking show. Maybe 65-70% boring as fuck compared to BEGINS. I LOVED the bank heist sequence, but then I also enjoyed it when it was in HEAT, too.

        I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Biurton fan – I think a movie about a comic-strip vigilante who fights crime dressed as a bat in a city called GOTHAM, deserves to have more style to its city than Nolan’s movies do. I preferred Keaton to anyone else. And though Ledger EASILY trumps Nicholson, I’d have loved to see a David Tennant or Joseph Gordon Levitt Riddler up against Keaton’s Batman. Awesome stuff.

        How Nolan could make me REALLY happy: Get Oldman back as Gordon in a word-for-word movie of BATMAN: YEA ONE, or fucking get an HBO series up and running for GOTHAM CENTRAL, which is hands down the most interesting thing to happen in the Batman mythos for years now. The first story – starring Mr Freeze – is amazing.

        Nolan’s BATMAN movies are massively over-rated. But then, maybe it’s just me…

      • Spud McSpud says :

        Although, maybe I expected too much. I mean, I went into INCEPTION with sky-high expectations. Difference is, although INCEPTION wasn’t the game changer it was touted to be, I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish (I’d have loved more Tom Hardy, though) and that’s as much as I ask for these days from a movie.

        I’d have liked an Alex Proyas BATMAN, or a Steve Norrington BATMAN. Either of those would have been fantastic…

      • xiphos0311 says :


        I can’t stand BB. I think it’s a terrible movie on every level with the added bonus of dragging like it’s got an anchor attached to it’s ass.

        TDNR I thought was better it made it into the decently OK range but like you said it was mostly boring unless Ledger was doing his thing. Also I thought if you are going to call something THE DARK KNIGHT shouldn’t you usesomething from the story line?

        I have not seen Inception so take what I’m saying with that in mind but I come down firmly on the side of Nolan being waaaay over fellated by the virgin comic strip fan bois and closeted movie nerdlings. Nolan’s movies, in my opinion, all sort of blah visually and seem unfinished or oddly incomplete in some way. I haven’t worked out exactly what the problem is for me with his movies.

      • Jarv says :

        I like both TDK and BB, however, the realism thing really fucks it in the ass.

        I think a better word for it is “plausible”- because although a guy dressing as a bat to fight crime isn’t remotely realistic, what they do in those films is plausible.

  11. xiphos0311 says :

    Well sure Jarv nobody could come out of a double bill like that unscathed. I’m surprised you aren’t doing a Syd Barrett imitation.

    • Jarv says :


      Funny. Mrs. Jarv was away, and I impulse bought when purchasing more beer. Put it on and got progressively more and more drunk. By the end, I wondered if it was worse than SEU. So put it on.

      It is worse than SEU

  12. Droid says :

    Shoot Em Up and Smokin Aces are both as shit, unpleasant and annoyingly delusional as each other.

    At this stage of his career, I can’t believe Carvaham made Narc. I can account for Shoot Em Up because Fat Cretin Don MurphyTM was involved.

  13. xiphos0311 says :

    I’m pulling for Carnahan to make a comeback with his version of James Ellroy’s White Jazz. That is if he’s still doing it.

    • Droid says :

      Wasn’t he trying to get that made before Smokin Aces? It was to star Clooney if I’m not mistaken.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Yes sir that is correct. It’s one of those on again off again things. Last thing I remember reading was it was on again.

        Clooney is pretty good choice for the character of Dave Kline.

      • Droid says :

        I haven’t read that one. Should do so. Funny thing about it on wiki…

        Originally, White Jazz was 900 pages, but his editor asked him to shorten it to 350 pages, which he did by removing all the verbs.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Whatever Ellroy did it worked. Depending on my mood White Jazz might be my favorite book of his. It usually bounces back and forth between White Jazz and American Tabloid.

      • Jarv says :

        I like White Jazz. Wasn’t bits of it used in LA Confidential the film?

      • xiphos0311 says :

        No they used some parts of The Big Nowhere the book before LA Confidential.

      • Droid says :

        I’ve read American Tabloid. Really like that one. Have to read the next two of those. Pete Bondurant FTW!

      • Droid says :

        What parts of Big Nowhere did they use?

  14. xiphos0311 says :

    They used the character of Buzz Meeks from the big Nowhere as minor player in LA Confidntial, he was the body under the house and he’s the guy Bud White messes with the first time he met the Veronica Lake look alike(I can’t remember the characters name)

    Also the Victory hotel shootout. In La Confidential it was the prologue and continuation of the events in at the end of The Big Nowhere and it was Buzz Meeks that was involved in it. Meeks was one of the three main characters from TBN.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      Also there was a couple of other minor bits but I don’t remember what they are becasue it’s after midnight and I’m tired.

    • Jarv says :

      There’s one major thing they took from White Jazz, but it’s a filthy spoiler so I can’t mention it.

      • Jarv says :

        Who the bad guy is.

        LA Confidential is an amalgam of several Ellroy novels, as I understand it.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Yes I moved this and I’m deleting the original.

        I disagree with that Jarv since the bad guy was in The Big Nowhere being nefarious and continued being bad through White Jazz. Now how the bad guy was resolved that was a new ending in the movie and different from the ending in LA Confidential and from White Jazz where he finally has a resolution.

        Yikes trying not to spoil makes me write even worse then usual.

      • Droid says :

        Cheers for not spoiling it. I intend to read white jazz in the near future.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        White Jazz a great read and it introduced my favorite character in Ellroy’s world.

      • Jarv says :

        I haven’t read The Big Nowhere.

        I’m trying to do this without spoiling, but it is proving difficult.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        yeah it is hard surprisingly so.

        The Big Nowhere introduces the bad guy and fills in his back story(plus a stomach turning crime that is the basis for half the shenanigans in the book) and sets up all the monkeyshines that happen in LAC and WJ.

  15. DocPazuzu says :

    Okay, a few things:

    First of all, great review, Jarv. I love Candyman. Such a dense atmosphere of dread throughout and a weird, dreamlike quality magnified by Glass’s amazing score (and I normally hate Glass).

    Yes, Hellraiser 2 is AWESOME. “And to think… I hesitated…”

    No. No, FUCK NO — Shoot ‘Em Up is a far worse crime against cinema than Smokin’ Aces was (which in itself was a complete loaf apart from Chris Pine).

    • Jarv says :

      Cheers Doc-

      Have you seen Time Barbarians?

    • just pillow talk says :

      All this talk of syfy crappiness they call movies has stirred the b-movie watcher in me again.

      Doc, got any recent viewing recommendations that you can pass along to us?

      • DocPazuzu says :

        Hey jpt,

        I watched an enormous amount of stuff over the summer — some old faves, a few new good ones and tons of mind-searing crap.

        The old faves: Blue Thunder, Cracker (the original ITV series), A Chinese Ghost Story, Uncommon Valor, Time And Time Again, Dracula (1979), Watcher In The Woods, The Believers, My Favorite Year, etc.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Boy, you usin’ that oriental martial bullshit on me’s gonna get real expensive.

        Damn I need to watch Uncommon Valor again it’s been a good decade at least.

      • just pillow talk says :

        Ah yes, Uncommon Valor, that’s a good one to add.

      • DocPazuzu says :

        “You just bought yerself a WHOLE CAN O’WHOOP ASS!”

        Great, great movie. And so very moving too (“It’s… really good… to see you…”)

        Gene Hackman, Robert Stack, Fred Ward, and Tim Thomerson — now that’s a pretty professional lineup, even if Reb Brown’s girly screams do their best to shatter the sheer, unscalable wall of manliness that is Uncommon Valor.

  16. xiphos0311 says :

    I agree Uncommon Valor is surprisingly moving on a lot ways. Fred Ward turned in a genuinely nuanced performance especially for that type of movie.

    • DocPazuzu says :

      That scene in the beginning when Hackman is dreaming that his MIA son is a kid again and wanting to sleep in dad’s bed because of the thunderstorm is a real heartbreaker. Damn, I tear up every time. Great big, manly, heterosexual tears, that is.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        The way the platoon members acted when they first met up after all that time apart was pretty affecting.

  17. DocPazuzu says :

    Oh and I rewatched Witness, too. Hadn’t seen that one in ages (had aged a bit, but still a solid flick). Harrison Ford used to be so good.

  18. Jarv says :

    Blue Thunder!

    Fuck, I haven’t seen that since I was a kid. I remember it being mint.

    Did you ever watch that ninja one?

    • DocPazuzu says :

      You mean Psycho Kickboxer? Sadly, no. For some reason dreadful shit like Land Of the Lost, Night At The Museum and Species 4 kept getting in the way.

      • Jarv says :

        Species 4! I remember Frank slaughtering that.

      • Droid says :

        I remember him talking about how the main actress had one of those “too tight” boob jobs.


      • Jarv says :

        It’s funny, because Species 1 is a legitimately good film with an astronomical boob count, Species 2 is enjoyable and nutty, Species 3 is solid, but a bit uninteresting and then it finishes on that turd.

        Like Phantasm: OblIVion.

      • DocPazuzu says :

        Yeah, she did. I mean there must be tons of hot women with natural, Laura San Giacomo type-A titties that are dying to be in movies like Species 4 and gettin’ ’em out for cash. WTF?

      • Droid says :

        Species 1 is a legitimately good film BECAUSE of the boob count. It’s actually dumb as a sack of rocks. Madsen makes 2. Haven’t seen the others.

      • Jarv says :

        One of the funniest cinema experiences of my life was Species 1.

        The Cinema was completely empty aside from me and a few mates and this old couple sitting right at the front. Once the film ended we were walking out and one of my mates said something like “funny seeing people like them in a film like this” and the old woman shouted “We’re old, we’re not dead” at him.

        Also, the monster in Species one is excellent, and Forrest Whittaker’s man who exists to state the obvious is HILARIOUS!

      • Jarv says :

        I haven’t seen Laura San Giacomo in anything for ages. Does she ever unleash the sweater puppies for the camera?

      • DocPazuzu says :

        Forrest Whitaker walking around in a shambles of a room with blood all over the walls:

        “Oooh, something bad happened here…”

      • DocPazuzu says :

        Laura SG never got ’em out, which is a crime on par with Denise fucking Milani never topdropping. Oddly, the most she’s ever shown of them was a minimal bra in The Stand, a TV movie.

        Alas, I fear now that I wouldn’t even want to see Laura SG’s tits.

        Aw, who am I kidding — I’d love to see them.

      • Droid says :

        I just saw LSG in Veronica Mars. First time I’d seen her in anything since that sitcom she was in.

      • koutchboom says :

        Laura San Giacomo has a Sally Draper scene in Sex,Lies and Videotape. Though surprisingly there is no nudity in that film.

      • Droid says :

        Whitakers character is funny. There’s absolutely no reason for him to be there other than to explain shit state the obvious or “empath” the story along.

      • Jarv says :

        Well, she can’t be older than Marisa Tomei and she got them out not so long ago, and Monica Belucci is in her fifties and still gets them out, so we don’t have to abandon hope yet.

      • Droid says :

        Well Tomei’s sweater puppies aren’t exactly huge and therefore less aggrieved by gravity. And Belucci is something else entirely.

      • Jarv says :

        Still, though.

        Even if she takes her top off and both tits simultaneously hit the floor it will be worth it for curiousity value

  19. DocPazuzu says :

    Well, I’ve been meaning to have a serious talk with you about your Phantasm reviews but we’ll save that for another time…

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