Candyman: Collector's Edition DVD Review

by AVForums
Movies & TV Review

Candyman: Collector's Edition DVD Review
SRP: £15.99

Picture

Bearing in mind this is a reissued DVD of Candyman under the 'Collector's Edition' moniker, it comes as a major disappointment to discover that there appears to be no improvements made to the transfer that was present on the films original release. Whilst I would stop short of saying this was an outright bad transfer, it's still a far from encouraging sign that this new disc doesn't look any better than a one released over five years ago. Alas, Candyman is starting to show its age, and the film really is in need of some restorative work to improve the quality of the picture displayed here. Immediately noticeable is the fact that there really doesn't seem to have been much effort put into cleaning up the quality of the print used, as there is quite a bit of dirt and damage on display. Whilst there is nothing overly drastic present, it's still a noticeable flaw, and one that reappears consistently through the film's running time. Coupled with this the picture suffers from an overall softness to the image, there is ample grain in certain scenes, and digital artefacts are visible occasionally. These flaws are most strikingly apparent in many of the sweeping establishing shots Rose introduces (which have a tendency to look somewhat ropey here), and also rear their head in solid colour backdrops. Colours, although solid with impressive black levels, do look a touch muted and washed out for my liking, and the print is afflicted with brief but noticeable drop-offs in picture fidelity where colour and sharpness go south for a few seconds. All in all, a bearable transfer of a relatively modestly budgeted film that's over a decade old. I've seen worse, but I've also seen a deal better from films of this age. Alas, the problems with the print do not end there, as equally as interesting as what is here on screen is what is not present in the print. Unfortunately (and no doubt to the despair of horror aficionado's waiting for this release), Universal have inexplicably decided once again to release Candyman utilising the compromised edit of the film, which includes MPAA-sanctioned cuts to enable an R-rating in the States. This is somewhat of a thorny issue as the film was never actually cut by the BBFC, and has in fact been broadcast regularly in its uncensored entirety on C4, as well as appearing uncut on VHS format. Whether this is a cost-cutting exercise to recycle the same print the world over, ignorance of the edits, or just plain apathy to the situation who knows. Regardless of the innocuous nature of the cuts (a trimmed down version of the doctor's death at the hands of Candyman), it does show a worrying lack of concern to the correct treatment of the film, especially in a so-called special edition release.
Candyman: Collector

Sound

As with the transfer, a recycled Dolby Stereo 2.0 track isn't exactly the dream ticket. To its credit this is a fine example of a basic stereo track, with clear dialogue and quite a rich and detailed body of sound. It's hugely disappointing however to see this release slip through without at the very least a full 5.1 mix. Phillip Glass' absolutely wonderful and haunting score alone deserves to be heard through full surround, and this is the kind of film that would really benefit from such an upgrade. Again, you have to question the effort that has gone into this release on the AV front, there's nothing here that wasn't on the earlier disc.
Candyman: Collector

Extras

The extras presented here are fairly limited, with an audio commentary, two featurettes and a storyboard. It's just as well the supplements are all of decent quality and this goes some way to alleviate the issues regarding the quite stingy selection. The commentary here packs a great deal into its running time with contributions from a whole host of cast and crew, from director Bernard Rose and executive producer Clive Barker to producer Alan Poul and stars Virginia Madsen and Tony Todd. Recorded separately, and spliced into one commentary this is a great track full of informative and enlightening trivia. The range of experience and opinion provided by having such a varied number of contributors ensures that proceedings never get boring or bogged down. Following this comes 'Sweets for the Sweet' (23:48) an engrossing and well made little featurette which captures opinions and analysis from a number of cast and crew members. Although some of the material is recycled from the commentary, this is still an intriguing and entertaining watch. Next up we have a ten minute featurette 'Clive Barker: Raising Hell', which focuses entirely on the horror icon. Although this is a great watch for fans of Barker, ten minutes really doesn't do justice to a man who straddles the roles of major picture director, bestselling author, screenwriter, playwright and artist. Barker makes a great interviewee, and it really would have been nice to see Universal go that extra yard and produce an hour long supplement documenting Barker's life and achievements in far greater detail than they do here. As it stands the featurette has to cover a huge amount of ground in an altogether too brief running time, and barely scratches the surface. Finally we have five minutes of Bernard Rose's featurettes, which play accompanied by some of Philip Glass' memorable musical score.

This is a decent selection of extras, all of which are interesting and worthwhile, and it's nice to see so many integral players back to participate in the addition material. One is left with the impression however that the bare minimum has been done here supplement wise to justify a re-issue of the film. If you're re-releasing and bandying about the old 'Collector's Edition' advertising, I don't think it's too much to ask for a touch more than a commentary and a couple of featurettes. Nice but too brief.
Candyman: Collector
Although Universal should be commended for revisiting this genre classic, one feels more effort could and should have made this a far better release, especially on the AV front. Horror fans new to the film on DVD should pick this up without hesitation, but those already in possession of the initial release should think long and hard about how much they really need the sprinkling of extras here before parting with their cash.

Scores

Movie

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8

Picture Quality

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.
.
.
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5

Sound Quality

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.
.
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5

Extras

.
.
.
.
6

Overall

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.
.
7
7
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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