Well, the Candyman’s father was a former slave who had become relatively wealthy. His son, born free, studied abroad and became a somewhat respected artist. He fell in love with, and impregnated, a white woman whose portrait he had been hired to paint which is what ultimately got him made an example of. His legend is a reminder of how the power of hate can transcend anything else. He may have been educated, he may have been talented, he may have been wealthy and he may have been in love but he was not white and his attempt to cross over into white culture, intended or not, ended in tragedy. The parallels to (then) modern day Cabrini Green are pretty strong which is why his legend endured.
In the case of Helen I think it’s pretty obvious that her husband and Pucell are misogynists (they could not possibly be any more paternalistic during that restaurant scene) but the film never really draws parallels between her experience and those of her would-be lover nor do we see her experience reflected in anybody else’s. Unless women who were familiar with her story kept her legend alive as a reflection of their own experiences (which might have been an interesting direction for the film to take) I’m not sure she would have any reason to come back unlesss the power of Trevor’s guilt is equal to that of an entire housing project in which case we are getting into some uncomfortable territory.
The most fascinating aspect of the movie, to me, was always Cabrini Green itself. An entire housing project that reached a tacit agreement with a mythical figure which, despite some necessary sacrifices, allowed both to profit. It is a fully functional ecosystem.
By the way, I haven’t seen Candyman…
Shame on you.
@hellshocked: Shame on me? Shame on me?!? Yeah, I want to see it.
All right, Dude. You have to see it right now.
I will. What other horror movies you recommend?
Shhhh, Dude, don’t say Candyman’s name more than five times.
I have a small but mighty horror list on my profile.
Some of this reminds me of Robin Wood’s discussion of the politics of horror films. He famously divided them between politically progressive ones (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hills Have Eyes) and reactionary ones (wrongly IMO identifying Cronenberg as being a reactionary and a misogynist). It’s not class issues per se but I think ties into it in terms of looking at horror films more broadly.
Calling Cronenberg a misogynist is strange. He seems to have issues with the sexual act itself, not with women in particular.
@hellshocked: I don’t think he has issues with sex. He just likes to explore the complexities of it.
Sex in a Cronenberg film is clinical. He views it as an engineer might: extremely interested in its components but not in the final product itself unless it serves as the manifestation of something else. Even “A Dangerous Method” was all about the clinical study of sexual theory.