Monday, 4 September 2017

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1992: Tony Todd in Candyman

Tony Todd did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying the titular role in Candyman.

Candyman begins as a rather atmospheric horror film following the investigation of an urban legend, but it loses its way to a more overt slasher film once the titular character fully appears.

This is not a knock against Tony Todd in the role as the ghostly monster who you summon by repeating his name in the mirror so many times. Now I should clarify there can be some entertainment to be had from the second half of this film, it is just the first half suggests the sort of horror film that really gets under your skin rather than the more routine one that follows after. Tony Todd's initial appearance though actually suggests the better path as he appears from a distance in what is a rather chilling scene. Although Todd at 6'5'' is a rather menacing figure to begin with, and that bloody hook does not exactly hurt things in this regard, Todd's performance does take this even further. In this scene he carries an eerie presence that is far more off-putting than if he was just playing it as some overt psychotic. Todd instead plays it as though he this higher being of some sort, though this higher being that desires a death sacrifice. His gaze has a murderous glint in his eyes, yet it seems to look even beyond that as a force beyond the earth. Todd's voice, which needs to be said is an amazing voice to begin with, though takes it even further. Again he does not just go for an overt evil routine instead there is almost a certain allure he brings within his delivery that makes the Candyman a tempter, even while he does not hide the terrible result that would be at the end of that temptation.

After that initial scene though the film becomes far less creative in its use of the titular character. He mostly shows up, says something cryptic, kills someone, then leaves. Now to be fair though Todd's approach in itself is never the problem. His performance remains compelling to at the very least a certain extent as he does so effectively realizes the enigmatic nature of the being. The film though overuses and misuses his performance. It slowly peels away what made him so effective in the first scene till the end where he just has basically lost all his mystery. Unfortunately the trick Todd pulls itself loses its luster and he cannot adjust to something that maintains the sort of horror wonder of the character when he starts flailing around like just any other horror villain. In the end it is the film that is frustrating one not Todd however a part of that frustration comes in how it ends up wasting this performance. From that opening scene one can see the potential for a truly remarkable creation of a different type of terror by Todd, unfortunately the film settles just for a tall guy with a pointy weapon.

13 comments:

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Thoughts on the rest of the performances.

Nobody wins.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your top ten Twin Peaks episodes (counting the original series and the third season)and and your top 10 actors of the season 3?

Michael McCarthy said...

Here's an idea:

Candyman - Present day, directed by Jordan Peele (I can think of a lot of ways he could make this really good.)

Helen: Alison Williams
Trevor: Armie Hammer
Bernadette: Tessa Thompson
Candyman: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (obviously)

Robert MacFarlane said...

I'm curious to what it could have been like if Barker himself directed it (though I'm not big on Hellraiser).

Charles Heiston said...

I'd go higher for him.

Mitchell Murray said...

(Luke, regarding Breathe) -

You hit it right on the head when you compared it to "The Theory Of Everything". As someone who wasn't a fan of that movie and who finds Eddie Redemayne bland even at his best, I hope they find themselves on better ground.

Calvin Law said...

Michael: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje would be great, but I think Keegan Michael Key could be great too.

I actually quite liked this film. Not great but certainly very atmospheric and intriguing, and enjoyed the second half.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Madsen - 3.5(I have to say they really put her through a wringer her throughout in terms of just how much they throw at her. Madsen I found acquit herself rather well in portraying firs the initial curiosity combined with fear in the initial investigation scenes, then later provided just the intensity of the distress of dealing with the horrors of the monster. I'd probably go higher if it were not or the final scene which just came off as rather ridiculous to be perfectly honest.)

Berkeley - 2(He made little to no impact I found much of the film giving just a really dull performance that was neither charming nor really even sleazy. He's just sort of there really reducing any real impact from either the "betrayal" scene or the final scene.)

Lemmons - 3(I found she brought something to a rather underwritten role making her sidekick rather likable though also making the swiftness and really lack of attention paid to her exit a bit annoying.)

Michael:

I'd love to see that as I do feel the concept has a great deal of potential.

Anonymous:

1. Part 16
2. Part 8
3. Arbitrary Law
4. Part 17
5. Part 11
6. Lonely Souls
7. Beyond Life and Death
8. Part 9
9. Part 4
10. Part 6

1. Kyle MacLachlan
2. Naomi Watts
3. Laura Dern
4. David Lynch
5. Miguel Ferrer
6. Jim Belushi/Robert Knepper (I'll cheat slightly)
7. Harry Dean Stanton
8. Grace Zabriskie
9. Don Murray
10. Catherine E. Coulson

Really hate to leave off... well almost everyone, again keep in mind I loved everybody whether it was a minute or an hour of screentime, except Michael Cera, can't stress that enough.

Anonymous said...

Louis: your top 20 ray liotta James caan and kathy bates acting moments

Michael McCarthy said...

Louis: Speaking of Peele, is there a chance for Get Out to get bumped up on your film ranking this year on a rewatch?

Calvin Law said...

Good ol' Don Murray from Bus Stop, another actor Louis sees in a new light now :)

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Let me get you those next post.

Michael:

Maybe, but I doubt my, slight, reservations will go away.

Calvin:

Hard not to, his Battlin' Bud Mullins was the best.

Anonymous said...

Louis: If you were a complete newcomer, and wanted the best possible experience watching all of Twin Peaks for the first time, what order would you go in season/film wise and where would you stop watching?