It's a long time since I saw Candyman. In fact, I remember “acquiring” some seats at the local cinema to watch it (I was only 15) because the word on the street was that this was to re-ignite the horror/slasher field.
A totally unnecessary, albeit well read, monologue starts the movie off and should really be skipped. The real movie begins with a teenager telling an urban legend to Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen). This legend is of the Candyman, a being who, if his name is called five times in a mirror, will come forth and visit the conjurer. Apparently, the last time this happened, the woman who called Candyman was eviscerated along with her baby. Helen doesn't believe this and is tolerating the sincere tale only because she is writing a thesis on urban legends with a partner, Anne-Marie McCoy (Vanessa Williams). Of course, this Candyman turns out to be real enough, queue gallons of blood and unflinching imagery.
Candyman doesn't pull any punches, that's for sure. Neither age nor sex is any safeguard to the Candyman's vicious hook. Candyman plays the Jaws trick in having the first victim be a young child thereby insinuating that no one is safe. Unlike Jaws, Candyman is a brazen movie that hides nothing from the viewer and it works almost all the time. This is mainly to do with Tony Todd, who plays the eponymous Candyman to perfection as the tortured sole looking for love in his afterlife existence. Todd has an onscreen presence that dominates precisely like a horror antagonist of this ilk should. Virginia Madsen, too, is very effective as Helen Lyle, not least because her character doesn't conform to the weak screaming template found in other movies.
It is this disregard for given slasher movie dictum that makes Candyman a bit special. Add in some racism themes and you have a slasher movie that has a little more class than most.