‘Candyman’ Horror Film Due on Digital Nov. 2, Disc Nov. 16

The horror sequel Candyman will be released for home audiences in November by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment with a never-before-seen alternate ending and over an hour of bonus content, including a roundtable discussion on the impact of black horror.

The film will be released through digital retailers on Nov. 2 and become available on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray two weeks later, on Nov. 16.

Candyman was released in U.S. theaters in August, more than a year after its originally scheduled release in June 2020. The date was postponed three times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film wound up grossing more than $61 million in U.S. theaters.

Directed by Nia DaCosta, the film is a direct sequel to the 1992 film of the same name. The cast includes Vanessa Williams, Virginia Madsen and Tony Todd, reprising their roles from the original film. New cast members include Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo and Kyle Kaminsky.

The film is set in the same Chicago housing project as the original film and takes place 27 years later.  A visual artist (Abdul-Mateen II) begins to explore the macabre history of Candyman, not knowing it would unravel his sanity and unleash a terrifying wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.

Bonus features include:

    • Alternate ending;
    • Deleted and extended scenes;
    • “Say My Name,” a featurette in which filmmakers and cast discuss how the horror at the center of Candyman is both timely and timeless;
    • “Body Horror,” an exploration of director DaCosta’s influences in the subgenre of body horror, and what Anthony’s physical transformation means to the story;
    • “The Filmmaker’s Eye: Nia DaCosta,” which takes a closer look at the director;
    • “Painting Chaos,” in which filmmakers reveal how  Anthony’s artwork evolves throughout the film and how they strived for authenticity in recreating Chicago’s vibrant art scene;
    • “The Art of Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe,” in which the composer reveals some of the unconventional methodology he used to create the unique and haunting soundscapes sounds of the film;
    • “Terror in the Shadows,” a  behind-the-scenes look at how the analogue shadow puppetry scenes were created and an unpacking of why this ancient artistic medium was the most conceptually relevant for depicting the legends’ cycle of violence; and
    • “Candyman: The Impact of Black Horror,” a roundtable discussion moderated by Colman Domingo about the relationship black Americans have with Candyman, the horror genre and the overall idea of monsters and victims.

Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street 4/10/18;
Warner;
Animated Action;
$19.98 DVD, $24.98 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong bloody violence throughout, sexual content, brief graphic nudity, and some drug material.
Voices of Christian Slater, Billy Brown, Liam McIntyre, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Gideon Emery, Tara Strong, Vanessa Williams, C. Thomas Howell, Dania Ramirez, James Urbaniak, Julie Nathanson, Jim Pirri, Greg Grunberg.

This ain’t the “Super Friends.”

There have been ‘R’-rated movies from the DC Universe brand before, but Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay pushes the limits of its rating more than those previous installments, and not just by increasing the level of violence. The film also has a lot of fun turning the dial up on sexual material and nudity in a way viewers might not have expected from a comic book movie.

Then again, this is a “Suicide Squad” movie, and that’s probably going to bring a harder edge by default. As comic book fans would have known even before the live-action movie version came out in 2016, the Suicide Squad is a team of supervillains assembled by a shady government operative named Amanda Waller to undertake dangerous missions for which they can take the blame if anything goes wrong. And they follow orders because Waller installs explosives in their head that she can detonate if they betray her.

For this mission, Waller wants the team to retrieve a mystical artifact that can guarantee the soul of whomever is holding it will go straight to heaven. But it will only work once, which makes for some great plot dynamics since anyone who wants it can’t get it from someone who has it by killing them.

Waller’s not the only one seeking the “Get Out of Hell Free” card, providing plenty of opportunities for action as several teams of bad guys confront each other to take control of it. The plot also allows for a nice connection to the previous DC movie Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, which paved the way for this string of 10 movies that share a continuity.

The lineup includes a few characters familiar to those who have seen the live-action version, including the assassin Deadshot (excellently voiced by Christian Slater), the snarky Captain Boomerang (Liam McIntyre) and, of course, Harley Quinn (Tara Strong), whose primary contribution to the team seems to be her immense popularity.

This is a much more satisfying treatment of the material than the live-action attempt. The ‘R’ rating has lifted the constraints from the creative team, and everyone seems to be having a lot of fun pushing the material as far as they can. And with bad guys versus bad guys, there’s a lot of ways to push, and no reason to expect that any of them can’t be killed off at any time (except for Harley, maybe).

And that brings us to the commentary track by producer James Tucker and writer Alan Burnett, who wrote the script as one of his last projects before retiring. They can’t help but talk about Burnett’s long career in superhero animation, dating all the way back to the squeaky clean “Super Friends” cartoons of the 1970s and ’80s. So it’s only natural that they would joke about how any 10 seconds of this movie would make the network standards-and-practices suits responsible for “Super Friends” blush.

Comic book fans will enjoy seeing appearances from some of the more obscure characters in the canon, including Tobias Whale, who can also currently be seen in live-action as one of the main villains on the new “Black Lightning” TV series. And another member of the team is Killer Frost (Kristin Bauer van Straten), a version of whom is part one of the heroes on the current “The Flash” TV show. Frost was also part of the team in another great Suicide Squad adventure, the 2014 standalone animated movie Batman: Assault on Arkham, the success of which supposedly helped get approval to make the live-action movie.

The Blu-ray also includes short featurettes about the histories of the Deadshot and Boomerang characters, as well as a 10-minute pontification about the power of the “MacGuffin” — a good plot device to set the story in motion.

Finally, the Blu-ray offers a sneak preview of the next DC Universe movie, The Death of Superman, which will be the first of two films to adapt the legendary comic book storyline that was the basis (in a much abridged form) for the first DC Universe animated movie, Superman: Doomseday, back in 2007.