This linked article accuses Bernard Rose’s 1992 classic CANDYMAN (expect lots of Candyman-related reporting this week, folks, since the new movie opens today [as I’m writing this] and I’m all kinda jazzed about it) of “making a monster out of a Chicago housing project”. But is that fair? Does the movie really do that? I say no. To be sure, the film’s setting, Cabrini-Green, is something of a character in its own right. And no other backdrop, no other cultural and socio-anthropological stew could have produced Candyman. But it is he who is the monster, not the environment that shaped him. Or, to put it another way, is it fair to blame Cabrini Green for the horrors, both fictional and real-world, that took place there?
Says the author: “Decades before writer-director Bernard Rose’s horror flick arrived in theaters, public housing for many Americans had come to represent the unruliness and otherness of U.S. cities. And Cabrini-Green stood as the symbol of every troubled housing project—a bogeyman that conjured fears of violence, poverty, and racial antagonism.” I suppose that’s fair. But ought we to blame Rose’s movie, or the sitcom GOOD TIMES, also set in Cabrini-Green, for depicting the reality, the sometimes ugly truth, of life there? Or were they just being honest?