90s

Tony Todd Had Real Bees In His Mouth, And Other Facts About 'Candyman'

25 years ago, the horror genre was blessed with Candyman. What started out as a short story called "The Forbidden" instantly became a classic and mandatory Halloween viewing.

But there are some things you may not have known about the cult classic!

1. Eddie Murphy Was Almost Candyman

Tony Todd became a horror icon as Candyman, but it was almost Eddie Murphy terrorizing us. There are a few rumors as to why he didn't get the part, but nothing has been confirmed. Some say it was his high salary demands. Others suggest his height (5ft9) wasn't nearly as intimidating as Todd (6ft5.)

2. Virginia Madsen Got The Role Because Of A Pregnancy

“I was actually very good friends with Bernard [Rose] and his wife Alexandra,” Madsen said. “She is a wonderful actress, who actually brought Clive Barker’s short story ‘The Forbidden’ to her husband. She was supposed to be Helen. Right before shooting, Alexandra found out she was pregnant. It was great for me, but it was so sad for her because this was her role; she found this story and really wanted it. So when I was asked to step in I felt like ‘I can’t take my friend’s role.’ She actually came over one day and said ‘It would just kill me to see someone else play this role, you have to be the one who plays it.’ So with her blessing I took on the role. I really tried to work my butt off just to honor her.”

3. Sandra Bullock Was Next In Line

If Virginia Madsen had been unable to take the role of Helen, producer Alan Poul said Sandra Bullock was next in line. She was pretty unknown at the time, but it could have been what launched her into stardom.

4. The Opening Scene Was Groundbreaking

The film opens with an aerial view of Chicago, which hadn't really been done before.

“We did that with an incredible new machine called the Skycam, which can shoot up to a 500mm lens with no vibration,” Rose told The Independent. “You've never seen that shot before, at least not done that smoothly.”

5. The Medicine Cabinet Was A Real Thing

Candyman reaching through the medicine cabinet was not made up. While doing research for the movie, it was discovered that a real series of murders was committed this way in Chicago. Better make sure you buy a lock for yours...

6. The Director Thinks Candyman Is Romantic

"The idea always was that he was kind of a romantic figure," Bernard Rose said. "And again, romantic in sort of the Edgar Allan Poe sense—it's the romance of death. He's a ghost, and he's also the resurrection of something that is kind of unspoken or unspeakable in American history, which is slavery, as well. So he's kind of come back and he's haunting what is the new version of the racial segregation in Chicago. And I think there's also something very seductive and very sweet and very romantic about him, and that's what makes him interesting. In the same way there is about Dracula. In the end, the Bogeyman is someone you want to surrender to. You're not just afraid of. There's a certain kind of joy in his seduction. And Tony was always so romantic. Tony ties him in so elegantly and is such a gentleman. He was wonderful.”

7. It's Not CGI

PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

Tony Todd had a real bee beard. Production wanted to make sure it looked realistically terrifying, but they also wanted everyone to be relatively safe, so they brought in newborn bees to play the part. That meant they had less powerful stingers, but still looked fully grown.

8. Tony Todd Got A Bonus Each Time He Was Stung

That scene where he Tony Todd has bees in his mouth? Ya, that's real. Todd told TMZ that he had a dental dam to avoid any bees flying down his throat. He also got a bonus for each time he was stung...which was 23 times.

“I had a great lawyer,” he told TMZ. “A thousand dollars a pop.”

9. It's Still Madsen's Most Recognizable Role

PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

"More people recognize me from that movie than anything I’ve done,” she told HorrorNewsNetwork. “It means a lot to me. It was after years of struggling. As an actor, you always want a film that’s annual, like It’s a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story. I just love that I have a Halloween movie. Now it’s kind of legend this story. People have watched it since they were kids, and every Halloween it’s on, and they watch it now with their kids. That means a lot to me. The place I get recognized the most is the airport security for some reason. Every person in airport security has seen Candyman. Maybe it makes them a little afraid of me.”

10. The Movie Is Widely Considered Racist

“There’s no question that this film plays on white middle-class fears of black people,” director Carl Franklin said. “It unabashedly uses racial stereotypes and destructive myths to create shock. I found it hokey and unsettling. It didn't work for me because I don’t share those fears, buy into those myths.”

“[T]he tradition of oral storytelling is very much alive, especially when it's a scary story,” Rose responded. “And the biggest urban legend of all for me was the idea that there are places in cities where you do not go, because if you go in them something dreadful will happen—not to say that there isn't danger in ghettos and inner city areas, but the exaggerated fear of them is an urban myth.”

Did you know any of these facts about Candyman?