If you look at Candyman as a horror movie it's only so-so. To start off with, Candyman's main murder weapons are a meat hook and a chest full of bees, and it's really disappointing that he almost always uses the meat hook (which is generic) instead of the bees (which are cool). Also, the score that Phillip Glass wrote for the movie is intense, but unfortunately it seems out of place - all of the ominous organ noises would make more sense in a religious themed horror movie like the Exorcist but they don't really fit in a movie about a completely secular villain set in a Chicago slum. Basically, for every gory scene that's one step forward there's one campy scene which is a step back.

However, if you look at Candyman as a romantic comedy, well... then it's super successful, because all the romance in this movie is hilarious. Take for example Helen (the movie's heroine) and her relationship with her boyfriend, a college professor who looks like a puny-ass version of Vladimir Putin. At one point Candyman uses some of his magic to make Helen wake up in a bedroom with a bloody crib and no memory of how she got there. The baby's mother comes into the room, takes stock of the scene and completely freaks out. She tries to kill Helen with a meat cleaver, but Helen wrestles the knife away from her before pinning her down onto the kitchen floor. When the police arrive on the scene the first thing they see is a blood covered Helen holding a giant blade to the throat of a grieving mother, so logically she is immediately arrested. Helen uses her one phone call to try to get in touch with Puny Putin, but he doesn't answer the phone at their apartment. When he bails her out the next day she doesn't even wait until they are out of the police precinct to tell him that she thinks the reason why he didn't pick up the phone was because he was off sleeping with one of his students. He actually looks embarrassed by this accusation! At no point does he point out to her that meat cleavering a baby is slightly worse than committing adultery with another adult, so maybe she doesn't have much of a leg to stand on in a "who was being bad yesterday" competition.

As funny as Helen's relationship with Puny Putin is it has nothing on her relationship with Candyman. After Candyman has framed Helen for baby murder he realizes that she has a strong resemblance to the woman he loved before he got turned into an evil ghost and therefore he decides to woo her. There's a scene where he's standing over her prone body delivering a heartfelt speech about why she should live by his side, and he starts to rub his meat hook on her inner thigh while moving his bee filled mouth closer to her face. He seems to legitimately think that this will make a persuasive case for why he's such a loveable guy. If he was just moving his stabby hand slowly towards her hoo-haa I probably wouldn't have found it funny, but the idea of him trying to play tonsil hockey while he has a whole hive crawling around in his mouth cracked me up. Talk about seven minutes in heaven! Someone get this guy a reality dating show STAT cause he is just nailing it right now.

Of course, the ultimate goal of a romance isn't simply marriage, it's starting a family. The Candyman isn't just hunting for a wife, he's also trying to adopt a child. It turns out that he only framed Helen for that baby's murder - he actually kidnapped the baby back to his secret lair and that was dog blood in the crib. (By the way, his secret lair is two doors down from where the baby lived normally. That's pretty convenient as far as kidnappings go, but it will be awkward if he ever decides to take the baby into the building's elevator.) During the entire month that Helen was locked up in a psych ward under heavy sedation Candyman was back at his crib, hanging out with that baby. Which means that he had to have changed diapers multiple times. How do you change diapers with a meat hook hand? That can't be fun for you or the baby. And it's strongly implied that he's covered in honey at all times. A honey-dipped diaper - talk about a sticky mess! I can't believe he was trying to take care of that baby all by himself - the 3 Men and a Baby had two extra men and no hook hands and they still barely managed to take care of business/

Okay, so maybe all that implied baby murdering is not actually that perfect for a romantic comedy. (Julia Roberts might have gotten into some legal trouble in some of her rom-coms, but I don't think she was ever accused of infanticide.) But with these sorts of movies you have to take the entertainment where you can get it, and if Candyman can't quite deliver on it's slasher-film qualities at least it can deliver some sarcastic chuckles. Of course, you have to have a dark sense of humor to laugh at this movie - not everyone is going to look at a hook-handed maniac skulking around with a baby in swaddling clothes and imagine a bizarro-world 3 Men and a Baby - but if you can laugh at dark things then there are enough absurd scenes in Candyman to keep you tided over till a movie that's closer to a full meal comes along.

Winner: Me

Candyman on IMDB