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Subj: Halloween Roundup #2: Candyman / Children of the Corn / Child’s Play 2 / Child’s Play 3
Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 at 05:02:49 pm EDT (Viewed 641 times)
Candyman (1992) Trailer
I haven’t seen this movie in a long time, and even then I had seen the sequel much more often. Virginia Madsen plays a college student doing a thesis on urban legends and decides to investigate the legend of the ghostly Candyman who haunts the Cabrini-Green housing projects in Chicago. The movie does a good job with pacing. We get a slow build but the slow beginning is peppered with anecdotal stories of the Candyman killing people so we get some action and scares up front. The investigation leads to a human killer who may be using Candyman’s m.o. to beef up his own street cred. Finally we meet the ghost himself. Scarier than the thought that he’s real is the fact that he is not only killing people but he is framing our heroine for the murders to turn everyone against her. He wants to sever all her connections to the human world so she will join him in the ghostly world as his bride.
I have to say this movie is still pretty good. We were talking about strong female leads and Madsen does a very good job of that, at least for the first half of this movie. Unfortunately for the second half the plot forces her to question if what’s happening is real or if she has snapped and started killing her friends. She comes back for a stong finish though. Tony Todd is excellent as the Candyman, he definitely could have had a career solely as a voice actor if he’d wanted to.
Clive Barker wrote the short story this was based on, although I haven’t read it. He was burned out on directing after Hellraiser and Nightbreed so he didn’t direct this, but was present on set and was happy with how it turned out so it must have been close to the original concept. He’s definitely good at tapping into the dark side of humanity.
Children of the Corn (1984) Trailer
I grew up reading Stephen King books and especially liked the short stories, so I got around to seeing this movie by the ‘80s or 90s. A few years ago, for some odd reason, I collected all 8 movies in the series, most of which I’d never seen, and watched the whole marathon (there are now 10 movies in the franchise). For this viewing I just went back to the original.
Burt and Vicky are a couple driving through Nebraska when they accidentally hit a boy with their car and seek help in the nearest town. Unfortunately that town is Gatlin where the children have murdered the adults and now run a cult that worship a monster in the cornfield. Anyone over 19 is put to death along with anyone else who trifles with the leadership of the cult. Instead of starting with the couple and following them into the mystery of the deserted town, the movie starts out with narration from one of the corn kids explaining exactly how and when they took over the town. When Burt and Vicky arrive, we all know what’s waiting for them.
Knowing the general layout of King's short stories, you can tell where this is padded out for a feature length run time. I think the filmmakers wanted to make a parallel out of the children who worship He Who Walks Behind the Rows and religious cults led by those who seek power. The leaders in this case are Isaac and Malachai who end up disagreeing on the message of their savior and vie for control of the congregation. This makes it seem like it’s all a con for the power seekers, there must not be a real monster in the cornfield or else they could talk to him directly and the message would be clear, right? It all seems like a scam until the final act when the monster actually shows up. The effects are weak, to be sure, but they get the job done. Young Linda Hamilton shows promise. Peter Horton is not the strongest lead, but he has his moments. Overall I would say this film has not held up that well, but then it was always a mediocre adaptation.
Child’s Play 2 (1990) Trailer
I wasn’t planning to watch more than the first installment of each of these series since the original is always superior to the sequels. But for some reason I decided to watch the Child’s Play sequels. Part 2 starts off with quite a pill for the audience to swallow: The Good Guys toy company has gotten their hands on the Chucky doll from the crime scene in the first movie and rebuilt it as a PR stunt to prove that there was nothing wrong with the doll (like a mischievous employee tampering with its pre-recorded voice clips or something). No sooner does that happen than does Chucky spring back to life and start offing the employees. Then he’s off to track down Andy again, now living in foster care, with his mother in a psychiatric ward following the events of the last film. I used to think Andy’s foster family was kind of a drag but I see now that they are fairly well-meaning. A better question is why is Chucking killing everyone around Andy in a manner that will get Andy blamed for the crimes? If his goal is to eventually place his soul in Andy’s body, does he want Andy to end up in a psych ward too?
I always liked Christine Elise as Andy’s foster sister Kyle, she seems pretty sharp and resourceful. Maybe it’s just that they started her as a bad-girl cliché and I was just glad they went the other way with the character. Jenny Agutter and Gerrit Graham, two genre veterans, fill in the thankless foster parent roles. But this movie is really Chucky’s, and he delivers. I like when he takes the place of the Simpson’s family Good Guy doll and when they pull his string, he hesitates to introduce himself “Hi, my name’s … Tommy!” The final showdown at the Good Guy factory was always cool, but you have to wonder why the whole factory is working, churning out dolls late at night with only one worker on duty. In the first movie, Andy’s mom does most of the fighting against Chucky, but here, Andy is able to stand up for himself which is a nice change. Chucky remains nigh-unkillable, surviving several near misses until finally succumbing to a shower of molten plastic. We knew that wouldn’t be the end of him, didn’t we?
Child’s Play 3 (1991) Trailer
This movie comes out a year after the last one but takes place 8 years later. Andy is now a teen who’s been sent to a military school. That suggests he’s had a troubled home life, what with being stalked by a killer doll, his mom being locked up in a psych ward and being raised in who knows how many foster care situations. Yet Justin Whalin doesn’t play Andy as being all that surly. He’s a pretty happy-go-lucky guy who’s just on the lookout for danger. Of course the Play Pals factory is up and running again, and the first Good Guy doll off the line gets possessed by Chucky’s soul once again, after some of his blood dripped in the plastic vat. Chucky wastes no time tracking Andy down and mailing himself to the military academy.
Andy is hassled by Shelton, a cadet in charge of the other youths, doing his best R. Lee Ermey impression which is not a patch on the original. Perrey Reeves as De Silva is there to be Andy’s love interest and helper, but doesn’t seem much like a military cadet. There’s a new kid named Tyler that Chucky is trying to put his soul into this time, and they don’t really explain why an 8 year old gets the run of the base to do pretty much whatever he wants. Andrew Robinson (DS9’s Garak) chews the scenery as a demented barber who enjoys giving haircuts a little too much. Probably a big fan of Sweeney Todd.
The best gambit is probably when Chucky switches the paintballs for live ammo during the students’ war games. I thought I remembered a higher body count, it only results in one death. I think the tag line for this movie should have been “Chucky Goes Commando.”
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