“Come with me and be immortal.” Those words would normally sound very inviting, but when the Candyman said them to Helen Lyle (played by Virginia Madsen) in the 1992 movie “Candyman,” he was trying to convince her to give up her life. Tony Todd is best known for playing Daniel Robitaille, aka Candyman, in the film and its sequels. However, the charismatic 6ft 5in actor has over 242 acting credits across movies, TV, theater and video games. If you’re attending this weekend’s HorrorHound Weekend convention at the Sharonville Convention Center, you can meet him in person.
Todd was born in Washington, DC, and raised in Connecticut. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of Connecticut and the Eugene O’Neill National Theater Institute, and earned his master’s degree at Brown University/Trinity Square Repertory Theater Conservatory.
After grad school, Tony moved back to Hartford, Connecticut, and ran a teen theater group for a year and a half. Then he moved to New York and worked in the theater. There, Todd caught the eye of Oliver Stone and was hired to star in his first movie, “Platoon.”
“Candyman” is the movie that made Todd one of the most beloved horror actors of our time. In the film, the Candyman was the ghost of Daniel Robitaille, a well-educated artist who was brutally lynched in 1890. A wealthy man hired Daniel to paint his daughter. The two fell in love, and the girl became pregnant. Unfortunately, the rich father disapproved of their relationship and organized a group to assassinate Robitaille. During the brutal assault, Robitaille’s right hand was severed and replaced with a hook. After that, he was covered in honeycombs and stung to death by bees.
Years later, every time someone looked in the mirror and said “Candyman” five times, Robitaille’s ghost, accompanied by bees, would appear and kill the summoner.
Films were not easy to shoot. There were over 200,000 bees on the set of the first film. During the first three films, Todd was covered in bees and, despite wearing protective gear, he was stung a total of 27 times.
Todd knows Cincinnati well. He performed in “Dark Paradise: The Legend of the Five-Pointed Star” at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park in 2001. During his performances he stayed at the now defunct Vernon Manor Hotel. Two weeks of his stay were spent in the Beatles suite.
He is very fond of the Cincinnati Museum of Art and some restaurants in Cincinnati. Tony enjoys regional theater and Cincinnati’s Playhouse is one of his favorites.
What is Todd’s favorite movie role? “The one who is right in front of me is the one who is present. They are like children. They all have special needs,” Tony said.
However, Tony has a different take on his television experiences. “My favorite TV experience was with Star Trek. I worked hard to get it. I got the part of Kurn,” Todd said. Commander Kurn was Worf’s brother. Commander Kurn, it took four hours for the makeup process to transform the human actor into a Klingon warrior.
“I had a lot of voiceover work,” Todd said. “Since ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,’ I’ve been booking like crazy, including the upcoming ‘Spider-Man 2’ video game, where I’m playing Venom.”
Todd won’t be the only “Candyman” actor at HorrorHound Weekend. Ted Raimi (Billy), who appeared in the first film, is expected to appear.
“I can’t wait to attend HorrorHound. I think this is my third in 30 years. I always thought HorrorHound was arguably the number two horror scam in the country,” said said Todd. “I like people. I can’t wait to see all the rabid fans with their questions and attitudes, wanting a photo shoot. It’s just a beautiful thing because, without the fans, we would be totally insignificant.
Other celebrities coming to HorrorHound Cincinnati
- “Yell” fans of the franchise will be screaming for HorrorHound Weekend. Neve Campbell (Sidney Prescott), Matthew Lillard (Stu Macher), Skeet Ulrich (Billy Loomis), Jamie Kennedy (Randy Meeks) and Lee Waddell (stuntman) should be there.
- “Halloween” fans of the franchise will have the opportunity to meet Dick Warlock (Michael Myers), Tom Atkins (Dan Challis), Stacey Nelkin (Ellie Grimbridge), Airon Armstrong (Flashback Michael Myers), Tom Jones Jr. (Dr Loomis), Michael Smallwood (Marcus), Carmela McNeal (Vanessa Wilson), Tommy Lee Wallace (director of “Halloween III”) and Nancy Stephens (Marion).
- “Walking Dead” actors Tom Payne (Paul “Jesus” Rovia), Ross Marquand (Aaron), Ryan Hurst (Beta) and Steven Ogg (Simon) plan to walk the convention alive.
- “Horror Show” alumni Adrienne Barbeau (Wilma Northrup), John Amplass (Nathan as a zombie), Darryl Ferrucci (Fluffy), Michael Gornick (director) and Tom Savini (Garbage Man #2) are scheduled, spooky or not.
- “Remember the Titans” actors Ethan Suplee (Louie Lastik) and Wood Harris (Julius Campbell) are expected.
- David Howard Thornton (Art the Clown) and Damien Leone (film director) of “Creepy” are scheduled to appear.
- “Friday 13” actor Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees) plans to be there.
- Mark Dacascos (Eric Draven) “The Raven: Stairway to Heaven” is scheduled to be there. He is best known for being the president of “Iron Chef America”.
- Lloyd Kaufman (Toby) “Comic Book Addicts” plans to appear.
- Adam Green, Director of “Hatchet” movie series, should be there.
- Tony Cecere, stuntman, of “Freddy,” is scheduled to be there.
- Professional wrestlers Ruby Soho and Jon Moxley plan to appear.
- Artists Jason Edmiston, Matty Ryan Tobin, Sara Deck and Gary Pullin should be there.
- Grimm Life Collective is also planned for the convention.
Jon Moxley:AEW’s first Cincinnati shows a chance for Cincinnatian to show off their hometown
Each celebrity has separate fees for autographs, professional photos, and selfies. Check the website for prices.
Vendors will sell toys, movies, posters, clothing, artwork and other merchandise.
HorrorHound will host several events, including Q&A sessions. Q&As on Indie Filmmakers, “Halloween III,” “Halloween Kills,” “Scream,” “Creepshow,” “Terrifier,” and “The Walking Dead” are scheduled. A children’s costume contest will take place on Saturday at 5 p.m.
HorrorHound Weekend, what you need to know
Or: Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road.
When: March 25 to 27. Friday 5pm-10pm; Saturday 11am-7pm; Sunday 11am-5pm
Admission: Friday and Sunday passes are $35 each. Saturday and full weekend passes are sold out.