Top 10 Scariest Candyman Moments

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Top 10 Scariest Candyman Moments

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
You'll never look at a meathook (or honey) the same way again. For this list, we'll be looking at the original trilogy of Candyman films in honor of the 2020 spiritual sequel. Our countdown includes Candyman's First Appearance, Candyman Origin Story Flashback, Bloody Water & a Visit from Mom, and more!
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Top 10 Scariest Candyman Moments


You’ll never look at a meathook (or honey) the same way again. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Scariest Candyman Moments.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the original trilogy of Candyman films in honor of the 2020 spiritual sequel. Come along as we highlight some of the most memorably terrifying scenes and chilling moments from this highly influential but often overlooked supernatural horror franchise.

Also, it goes without saying, but there are major spoilers ahead.


#10: Candyman’s First Appearance

“Candyman” (1992)

In classic slasher movie fashion, 1992’s “Candyman” kicks off by shedding some blood. Rather than a cold open with a nameless victim, however, the film leans into the titular killer’s status as an urban legend by having someone tell a story about his bloody legacy. Helen, our protagonist, listens as an interviewee retells the story of Clara, a young woman who made the mistake of tempting fate by testing the Candyman urban legend. She looks in the mirror and says his name 5 times and, sure enough, he pops up behind her just as promised. The kill itself makes for a solid scare, but the blood soaking through the floor to drip on her lover below is an especially nice touch!

#9: A Deadly Hook Up

“Candyman: Day of the Dead” (1999)

See what we did there? Hook up! Because of Candyman’s hook hand? Anyways… in the third film in the trilogy, our heroine, Caroline McKeever, quickly finds herself dripping in the blood of friends and associates when the Candyman returns to Chicago and begins killing anew. Following a Candyman-centric art show, Caroline’s friend Miguel and his lover, Lena, become victims numbers 1 and 2. In what seems like some rather sticky foreplay, Lena teases Miguel by dripping honey over her body, only to get fatally swarmed by bees. As viewers, like Miguel, all we can do is look on in horror. Then, just when you think the scene can’t get any more disturbing, Miguel suddenly gets a hook through the back. Scary and gross.

#8: Fake Candyman Shows Up

“Candyman” (1992)

Because Candyman is an urban legend, his story tends to get co-opted and recreated by people within the world of the films. As a result, we’re treated to a number of jump scares throughout the trilogy when various people pretend to be the Candyman. But this concept is never more effectively executed than in the first film when Helen is investigating the Candyman at the Cabrini-Green housing project. Helen is checking out a bathroom where a body was allegedly found, when sure enough… the Candyman shows up. He’s just a thug who has adopted the Candyman identity for the sake of intimidation, but the threat he poses is all too real. Sometimes, real-world violence is every bit as scary as the supernatural alternative.

#7: Candyman Kills Psychologist

“Candyman” (1992)

It’s the curse of any protagonist unlucky enough to find themselves in a horror film involving supernatural forces - no one believes you until it’s too late. After being tied to a number of murders, Helen is committed to a mental hospital where the doctors naturally refuse to believe her Candyman defense. Desperate, she proves it to Dr. Burke the only way she knows how, by summoning him. Unfortunately, Burke never gets the chance to validate her claims because… well, he’s too busy dying. This death is particularly effective because we don’t see the Candyman until he’s already got his hook in the doctor. The special effects department got really liberal with the blood spatter here; it’s not what you’d call a “clean kill.”

#6: Candyman Gives a Cop a Mouthful

“Candyman: Day of the Dead” (1999)

Horror movie sequels have the unenviable challenge of trying to go bigger and bloodier than past installments. They usually succeed in the bloodier department, but rarely are the kills themselves an actual improvement. This is one of the rare exceptions! We present to you… the death of Dr. Burke 2.0. As Caroline sits in the backseat of a cop car being mocked by the officer, Candyman switches up his “hook through the back” routine and instead stabs the cop right in the mouth so that his hook comes through the back of the driver seat. Candyman’s clearly pulling out all the stops to make an impression on Caroline - and he manages to traumatize the audience in the process!

#5: Death by Fire

“Candyman” (1992)
Shocking, bloody hook-related deaths are all well and good, but one of the biggest strengths of the first film is its ability to inspire fear in different ways. In the movie’s climactic scene, Helen sacrifices everything to save the life of an infant. The garbage heap in which the Candyman has hidden the child is set ablaze, and she’s engulfed in flames as she attempts to carry the baby to safety. There are no jump scares or sudden twists, we’re simply made to watch in abject horror as this character who we’ve come to care about is burned alive. It’s emotionally-charged and extremely effective. In death, however, Helen is perfectly set up to deliver the film’s final scare - and with a new look to match!

#4: Candyman Origin Story Flashback

“Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh” (1995)

The second Candyman film is arguably superior to the third. But overall, it prioritizes drama and a more atmospheric sense of fear over big, in-your-face frights. As such, there aren’t as many “scary moments” that stand out. Easily the film’s most effective scene, however, is the flashback to Candyman’s origin. It’s tough to watch and is not for the squeamish; it’s like the filmmakers decided to compress 90% of the film’s horror into this one segment. Between the bees and the dismemberment, it’s all extremely brutal. The scare factor is further elevated by the emotional energy of the scene. Tony Todd really gives it his all! The backstory scene in the first film was scary, but the sequel really took it to the next level.

#3: Candyman Bee Kiss

“Candyman” (1992)

Towards the end of the film, Helen goes to the Candyman’s hideaway with a hook of her own. But their connection is a complicated one, and his supernatural powers of persuasion soon put Helen back under his spell. This scene has a certain gothic horror quality to it. Tony Todd’s impossibly deep voice turns his every flowery sentence into dark poetry, while the contrast between the music and the crumbling urban environment makes for an atmosphere that is both foreboding and beautiful. But then... Candyman starts to slide his hook up Helen’s gown and your entire body tenses. He further ups the gross-out factor by revealing his exposed ribcage, and then brings this horrifying scene home with a kiss. That’s really gotta sting.

#2: Bloody Water & a Visit from Mom

“Candyman: Day of the Dead” (1999)

Following the death of Miguel, Caroline is rattled, but remains committed to finding out the truth about Candyman. Suffice it to say, he doesn’t make it easy on her. In this scene, Candyman turns tap water to blood just as it hits Caroline’s face. As if that’s not enough, he then reveals that he’s brought along a friend - Caroline’s dead mother. Though she’s not played by the same actress, Caroline’s mom is actually the protagonist from the second film, Annie Tarrant. This adds an extra sense of horror to the scene by reminding us that Caroline’s family legacy is hopelessly intertwined with Candyman. Hammering home the point, Candyman pulls a repeat performance later in the film, this time actually killing Annie in front of Caroline.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Candyman Comes to the Parking Lot in “Candyman” (1992)
Atmospheric, Intense & Oh So Effective

Is It a Train? No, It’s Candyman! in “Candyman: Day of the Dead” (1999)
The CGI Is Iffy, But Tony Todd Sells It!

A Toilet Full of Bees in “Candyman” (1992)
Great… Another Reason to be Terrified of Public Bathrooms

Candyman Arrives in “Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh” (1995)
A Perfectly-Timed Jump Scare

The Kid’s Warning & Story in “Candyman” (1992)
Little Kids in Horror Movies Are Always Creepy, But the Story Really Ups the Ante

#1: Waking Up to Carnage

“Candyman” (1992)

It’s scary enough to wake up and not know where you are. But to wake up and find yourself covered in blood in a stranger’s home? That’s truly the stuff of nightmares. The Candyman doesn’t appear in this scene, but his influence/handiwork is everywhere you look. Helen comes to on the bathroom floor in the apartment of a woman she met earlier in the film, Anne-Marie, who is screaming bloody murder. Upon leaving the bathroom, Helen finds the decapitated head of a dog and an apartment absolutely drenched in blood, including the empty cradle of Anne-Marie’s baby. Everything about this scene is chaotic and utterly disorienting, making the viewer feel every bit as confused and horrified as our unlucky protagonist.
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