5 Movies That Use Urban Legends Well For A Change
These movies use the concept of urban legends to some truly chilling results.
Urban legends are a great example of modern folklore and have spawned a large number of movies, mostly horror. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to find something decent among the overwhelming majority of movies, which are cheap and mediocre at best.
So here are five good movies based on urban legends to varying degrees.
The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
Starring Richard Gere, this movie revolves around the fictional creature of modern folklore known as the Mothman. After columnist John Klein is involved in a car accident caused by his wife, who claims to have seen an unknown flying creature, the poor woman's condition rapidly deteriorates as she becomes obsessed with the Mothman. This leads to a series of mysterious and eerie events that make Klein think she might not be crazy after all.
Candyman (1992) and Candyman (2021)
It is hard to talk about one without the other, so we will describe both. While the original movie is based on the short story "The Forbidden" by Clive Barker, it bears a suspicious resemblance to the Bloody Mary urban legend, especially the part about saying the name several times in front of a mirror. In the movie, however, saying "Candyman" five times summons the vengeful spirit of Daniel Robitaille, who was killed by a racist mob in the 19th century for having an affair with a white woman.
The 2021 sequel, which wisely ignores the terrible 1995 Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh and 1999's Candyman 3: Day of the Dead, is a worthy successor to the original, delving even deeper into the character's urban legend roots and offering a new take on him that works surprisingly well with the original.
When a Stranger Calls (1979)
Describing the urban legend might ruin the main twist of the movie if you are unfamiliar with it after so many years, so let's just say that it begins with a sinister stranger terrorizing a babysitter by constantly calling her and asking if she has checked on the children.
Directed by Guillermo del Toro, this movie may not be based on a specific urban legend, but it does have a common theme of horrible creatures lurking in the underground of a big city. When New York City is overrun with cockroaches, scientists make the "brilliant" decision to eradicate them with the help of genetically engineered insects. This, of course, backfires, as years later the so-called "Judas breed" evolves in ways no one could have predicted.