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Monday September 23rd 2019

Candyman | 1992

Clive Barker’s horror story is transposed from its UK setting of Liverpool to Chicago, where the vengeful spirit of a murdered man is traced to the troubled housing projects of Cabrini Green, on Division Street in the southwest area of Old Town. Once regarded as notoriously dangerous, most has been demolished and gentrification is well underway.

As Tony Todd recalled “I'll never forget that I filmed that movie in a building on the South Side of Chicago. Building 116. Unit C. That's the Candyman pad!"

Throughout the film, the projects are overlooked by the tower of the John Hancock Center, representing the wealth of the city and, with its twin aerials, appearing strangely demonic.

Although being made on location in Chicago, studio sets were built at Occidental Studios, 201 North Occidental Boulevard in the Rampart District, south of Silverlake, Los Angeles.

In fact, there’s a glimpse of LA during the film’s prologue when the urban legend of the Candyman is recounted.

The cosy, white-fenced house, where Clara (Marianna Elliott) and Billy (Ted Raimi – brother of Spider-Man director Sam Raimi), unwisely tempt fate by saying the name of Candyman five times into the mirror, is 4222 Agnes Avenue, Studio City in the San Fernando Valley.

The legend is being investigated by Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) who’s based, with her husband Trevor (Xander Berkeley) at the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago, 1200 West Harrison Street.

The impressive-looking outdoor amphitheatre where Helen meets up with her friend Bernie (Kasi Lemmons) was the University’s Circle Forum.

As you can see in the film, it was already becoming a bit neglected.

Once the centre of campus life, it consisted of nine rows of stone benches in semicircles around a raised platform in the centre, used for concerts, performances and the occasional student protest.

Lack of climate control, particularly in the city’s chilly winter months, meant that Circle Forum, the Great Court and surrounding walkways were demolished in the mid 1990s.

Helen’s ‘Lincoln Village’ high-rise apartment block, supposedly also built as part of a housing project, is 1360 North Sandburg Terrace on North LaSalle Drive, in the posher Gold Coast District, although not all that far from Cabrini Green.