Connect with us



Behind the Monsters – “Candyman” is the second installment of Shudder’s horror documentary series, Behind the Monsters, that promises a guide to legendary horror icons. The second episode of the series tackles one of the biggest icons in horror for people of color, the Candyman himself, of the titular franchise.

The genre’s first black slasher showed up in 1992, rich with subtext about racial tensions in American history. In 2021, he’s coming back – and is perhaps the most relevant horror icon imaginable.Shudder synopsis for Behind the Monsters – “Candyman”

So, where does this installment of Behind the Monsters land? Does it do the Candyman justice, or could it be a little sweeter on the icon?

A still from Behind the Monsters - "Candyman" from shudder featuring an illustration
The iconography of the franchise is on point.

What Worked with Behind the Monsters – “Candyman”

My chief issue with the first episode was the fact that for me, Halloween has been done to death. The film has been so extensively studied that there is little else to reveal and for some horror fans, there isn’t all that much to sink our teeth into. There is also the problem that the people behind the movie that you hope to hear from are also pretty much done with talking about it to a large degree, such as John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis. That is not the case with Candyman, however, a franchise that deserves far more scholarship. This special is a good step in that direction and doesn’t have the issue of not getting the talent fans want to hear from.

Tony Todd, Virginia Madsen, and director Bernard Rose are game to talk about the 1992 supernatural slasher and the iconic monster that is Candyman. The conversations are insightful and there is a lot of Tony Todd to be had, which makes for such an entertaining 36-minute runtime that I found myself upset that it was over. The episode does a wonderful job exploring the cultural impact of the film at release, and how it has an impact even today, getting into the recent 2021 incarnation of the film.

As a whole, this is a stronger episode than “Michael Myers,” at least for me, because there is still so much more to say about the character, franchise, and the contribution to horror film Candyman has left in its wake. Plus, Tony Todd’s comic-con story is very entertaining and insightful. It’s worth a watch for that alone.

Still of Tony Todd from Behind the Monsters - "Candyman" on Shudder
Tony Todd, one of the sweetest men in horror, pun-intended.

What Didn’t Work

As a whole, this was a stronger episode compared to the premiere, but there are a couple of things that concern me. First is the runtime. “Michael Myers” had a 45-minute runtime, but “Candyman” only clocked in at 36 minutes. Surely there would have been more to include. In a series that is marketing itself as a deep dive into these characters, no character should come up short.

My other concern with the episode came with the shift in discussion of the newest Candyman film. While I have yet to see it, some of the comments about the new film versus the original struck me as somewhat harsh and dismissive of the original. While I do appreciate the critical approach many of the commentators take to these franchises, something about the tone toward the original, as compared to the latest incarnation, felt a little too harsh and dismissive.

I feel like I learned a lot more with this special and it also helped that the key figures necessary for insight into the character were present. Not all franchises in this series will be that fortunate, surely, but it is beneficial to understand the appeal of Candyman. Now, if only the run-time was longer. 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Did you watch Behind the Monsters – “Candyman,” yet? Let us know what you think. Until then, catch new episodes on Wednesdays exclusively on Shudder and come to Haunted MTL for further coverage.


David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

Movies n TV

The Boys, The Insider



We’ve reached the second to last episode of The Boys, season four. And, as is appropriate for the penultimate episode of any show, things have to get a lot worse before they can get better.

Let’s discuss.

The story

Christmas is coming, and the whole world is getting ready. Ryan, despite being very clear that he didn’t want to appear on any TV shows or movies, has been strong-armed into participating in a Vought puppet Christmas special. He draws the line, though, when asked to sing about turning one’s parents in if they start talking about woke things.

Cameron Crovetti in The Boys.

Meanwhile, The Boys are trying to keep each other together. Butcher decides to take Sameer to the rest of the team. He also gets Frenchie out of prison, hoping they can make the Sup virus necessary to finally take down Homelander. Instead, this decision means disaster for one member of the team.


What worked

I first want to talk about Ryan’s speech near the end of the episode. Because it was exactly the moral of this whole story.

Ryan’s dad is a monster. His stepdad is also kind of a monster. But Ryan is a good kid. He cares about people, about family. And while he loves Homelander and Butcher, he doesn’t want to be like them.

Even better, this speech sounded like something a kid would say. Ryan didn’t open his mouth and start sounding like a college student all of a sudden. He sounds like a kid who misses his mom and wants to live up to the good standards she set for him. And I think that’s terrific.

Speaking of Homelander, he shot himself in the foot in this episode. I said earlier in the season that his hubris was going to be his downfall, and I was right. Without Sage, he just has the same weaknesses he’s always had. He’s going to fail because he just isn’t clever enough or patient enough to succeed.

Without Sage, I think a win is in the bag for The Boys. This isn’t to say that Homelander by himself isn’t dangerous. It’s just that he’s more like a wildfire than a controlled burn. He’s going to cause a lot of damage, but not get anything he wants out of it.


More’s the pity for him and everyone else who has to share his world.

Finally, I am thrilled with A-Train’s redemption story. I love that he wants to be a good person not to save himself, but to be a good person. His honest, pure and warm reaction to that little kid smiling at him in the last episode was heartwarming. It changed him in a moment, bringing to light a goodness that he’s been keeping under wraps for a long time.

Jessie T. Usher in The Boys.

This, along with Ryan’s courageous speech, proves once again what The Boys does so well. Yes, it’s gruesome. Yes, there’s blood and balls and batshit events. Yes, someone occasionally gets ripped in half. But there is a true human goodness in the story. One that we catch glimpses of. There are good people among the monsters. There is hope for redemption.

What didn’t work

Of course, so few things in this life are perfect, and this episode was no exception. For instance, I was irritated by the insinuation that Butcher cheated on his wife.


That just doesn’t make any sense. We’ve seen flashbacks of Billy and Becca. They were happy. He was happy. He was head over heels for her. And I don’t think it’s realistic or necessary for the character to throw in that he cheated. It does nothing to add to the story, it’s just a weird and offputting moment.

Doesn’t Butcher have enough to hate about himself? Can’t we just give him that at least he was a good husband?

Finally, I kind of hate that we ended up with Annie being caught. It’s just cliche, which is something I don’t normally say about this show. It feels lazy unless they do something very clever with it in the last episode. Which, I suppose, they might.

Next up is the season finale. And with this season being as insane as it has been, I’m expecting nothing short of bloody fireworks. And I mean literal fireworks of blood. At this point, would it surprise anyone?

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Continue Reading

Movies n TV

The Boys, Dirty Business



Episode six of The Boys was one of the most surprising episodes of the series so far. And that is certainly saying something. Because this season has so far been bonkers.

The story

Our episode today revolves around a party at Tek Knight’s lovely mansion. Yes, it does look just like Wayne Manor.

The Boys know that Tek Knight is working with Homelander on something, but they don’t know the details. So they decide to send Hughie in to bug the mansion.

Because that’s worked so well the other two times he’s tried to hide a bug!


It should surprise no one that this time goes no better. Hughie finds himself in Tek Knight’s basement. And by that I mean his BDSM dungeon.

Meanwhile, the party upstairs is no less disturbing. Homelander and Sage are trying to convince some well-off political donors to support a cue after the election. When pressed for details on his plan, Homelander freezes. He looks to Sage for help, but she wasn’t recently shot in the head and still in the junk food stage of her healing.

Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your point of view, Neuman jumps in and saves the day.

Claudia Doumit in The Boys.

What works

If I’m going to say one thing about this episode, it didn’t hold back at all. I didn’t expect them to show a character masturbating, sitting their bare behind on a cake, or spraying breastmilk into someone’s face. But every time I thought they’d cut the scene and let something be left to our imagination, they did not do that.

Derek Wilson in The Boys.

This is a dangerous move. Whenever you show the monster, you run the risk of them not being scary enough, or gross enough. As Stephen King says in Danse Macabre, to leave this sort of thing to the imagination if the reader makes things so much worse. So when they finally experience the monster, they might say that this isn’t so bad. It could have been so much worse.

But in this case, they managed to avoid that by making the scenes, especially the ones in Tek Knight’s dungeon, so much worse than I imagined it would be.


What doesn’t work

While this was a deeply disturbing episode in many ways, there was one really innocent and sweet moment.

And yes, I did have a problem with it.

Confronted by Firecracker, Annie decides to apologize for spreading rumors about her when they were kids. She tells her that she is genuinely sorry.

And I believe her. I don’t think Firecracker did, but I did.

So why is this an issue? Because I’m starting to think that Annie is maybe too nice. She is too good.


I know that Annie is our good guy. But every one of the other good guys has flaws. Hughie let his pride get in the way and took Temp V. MM hid himself from his daughter instead of teaching her to work through her emotions. Kimiko is far too closed off and has a hard time trusting others. Frenchie numbs himself with drugs. And well, what hasn’t Butcher done?

It is unrealistic that Annie is just so kind and so flawless. We all have shadows in our personalities. We all have weaknesses, we all mess up. We all do things we wish we could take back. The fact that Annie doesn’t seem to have anything like that is not just unrealistic. It’s infantilizing.

Give her some deep dark secrets. Give her something real to regret.

This was a shocking episode, even for someone fairly jaded like me. I wasn’t expecting the sort of weird sexual depravity, though I guess maybe I should have seen it coming. It was dark, upsetting, tense, and funny as hell. And with just two episodes left in the season, I can imagine the stakes are only going to get higher.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

By the way, if you like my writing you can get my short story, Man In The Woods, on Smashwords and Amazon.

Continue Reading

Movies n TV

House of he Dragon: S2E4 – The Return of Trogdor!



Instead of recapping this episode, I will link you to Strongbad, so you can see something with a dragon that doesn’t suck.

See you for Episode 5!

Continue Reading