Say Candyman’s name five times in a mirror and prepare to be on the receiving end of a deadly hook meant to do nothing but harm. Leatherface has his chainsaw, Michael has his knife, Freddy has his glove, Jason has his machete and Candyman…well, Candyman has his dreaded hook.
What is it about a slashers weapon of choice that sends a chill down your spine? Perhaps it’s the fear of being on the receiving end of that weapon or maybe its knowing that no matter what you do the slasher is always prepared? Today, we look at one of the deadliest weapons in horror history, Candyman’s hook.
To get a better understanding of hooked killers, let’s start at the beginning…most have heard the urban legend of “The Hookman”, a killer that uses a hook as his weapon and in some cases, has a hook for a hand. The story, which is thought to have started circulating in the mid-1950s, gained national attention when it was reprinted in the advice column of Dear Abby. A writer sent in a letter saying, “Dear Abby: If you are interested in teenagers you should print this story.” The letter goes on to tell an ominous tale of “The Hookman”. The writer of the letter ends by saying that they would never park and make out with their significant other after hearing this.
On October 14, 1981, a new generation was introduced to this tale thanks to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Written by Alvin Schwartz, with art by Stephen Gammel, the book contained 29 blood-curdling stories, with one of them focusing on ‘The Hook’. The tale follows Donald and Sarah as they parked their car on a hill overlooking the valley. Suddenly an announcement came over the radio saying that a murderer had escaped the local prison. The bulletin went on to detail that the murderer’s left hand was missing and in its place was a hook.
Released in 1992, Candyman upped the ante when it came to the hook. Not only was it wielded by the mysterious, brooding Candyman, played by Tony Todd, but it also added a supernatural element to the hooked killer. When someone would say his name five times in a mirror, the hooked killer would appear and do his worst.
What is it about Candyman’s hook that makes it a more threatening weapon than those used by the slashers mentioned earlier? Well, to start, this weapon is wielded by a person who wishes to do extreme harm and even the smallest hooks can cause an immense amount of pain. Fishhook injuries are common, and if you have ever had that happen, you know how truly painful it can be. Now, imagine that happening with a hook that is about ten times that size.
Candyman actor, Tony Todd, stands 6’ 5” and if we had to guess Candyman’s weight we would guesstimate between 190-250lbs. If you have that type of force controlling a hook inside of your body, you stand very little chance of leaving the encounter alive. Once Candyman sinks the hook in your body, it would be almost impossible to get out, unless Candyman was feeling generous, and we highly doubt Candyman is too generous.
The Candyman film series has never shied away from the gruesome injuries the hook can inflict. While there is no shortage of deaths in the films, Dr. Burke’s death in the original Candyman is perhaps one of the most brutal in horror history.
So, in summation, I think it’s fair to say that out of all the horror movie killers with all of their weapons of choice, it’s Candyman and his hook for a hand that would do the best job of rearranging your internal organs. You don’t believe me? Fine…go to the mirror…now repeat five times: