There's a new trailer out for the Candyman reboot/sequel
so now seems like a good time to review the old ones.
I already did a brief review of the first Candyman for my 2018 Halloween Roundup
so now I think I'll focus on part 2 and 3.
Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh
(1995) Watch Trailer
The action moves from Chicago to New Orleans and the connective tissue is offered by a somewhat pompous writer at a signing for his new book which explains the Candyman myth was used by Virginia Madsen's character in the last movie to cover all of her own crimes. The real Candyman was a man named Daniel Robitaille, a slave who fell in love with a white woman a hundred plus years ago. For this crime, a mob sawed off his hand and covered him in honey to be stung to death by bees. The urban legend says he returned as an evil spirit to punish his killers. The writer tells us it's all bunk and says Candyman's name in front of a mirror 5 times to prove there is no truth to the legend. But after he has delivered the exposition of this new origin, he is of no more story purpose so he becomes Candyman's first victim.
Seeing this unfold is Ethan (William O'Leary), a disturbed man who believes his father was killed by Candyman but can't prove it. He is arrested for the murder of the writer and some other victims as well. His sister Annie (Kelly Rowan) wants to prove his innocence so she starts poking around. Her childhood home is now overgrown with weeds and populated by homeless folks. It's a big plantation house that is within view of an old slave quarters next door that is in ruins. Annie's mother Octavia (Veronica Cartwright) claims to know nothing.
Annie is a teacher whose students like to joke about the Candyman so she also says the name in front of the mirror to prove them wrong. Soon she's seeing the spectre everywhere and he's killing people all around her. He wants her to be his bride, which is the same tack he took with Virginia Madsen in the first movie.
I thought in the first movie he could only kill people who summoned him but now he's killing whomever he feels like. Annie meets another exposition guy who tells her that Robitaille was looking at a mirror when he died and that's how his soul got stuck there. If she can find that original mirror it might be his weakness. Once he passes on that nugget of info, he's dead.
Carnival or Madri Gras is happening in the streets and Candyman briefly chases Annie through it. A DJ who provides narration throughout the movie tells us that "carnival" literally translates to "farewell to the flesh" but I'm not sure what it really means for this story.
Candyman racks up a higher body count this time, I think. Annie learns that Robitaille had sired a kid before he died and she is part of his bloodline. I'm not sure how that matters exactly. It all ends with a flash flood in the old slave quaters with Annie's students, the killer and the magic mirror.
In my review of the first film I said I had seen the sequels more than the original but that must not be true, I didn't remember any of this stuff. This movie is nicely photographed, I think it came out theatrically. I do remember seeing the full-page ad in a lot of comic books. Tony Todd is good as the villain, the other actors are hit and miss. I don't know, it falls a bit flat for me. The first half is peppered with annoying jump scares and the second half has Candyman popping into frame and killing people instantly with no real tension or suspense.
Clive Barker has a story credit on this but the screenplay was by two other writers. Director Bill Condon had only done TV movies before this; after this he directed some higher profile stuff such as Gods & Monsters, Dreamgirls, and Disney's recent live-action Beauty and the Beast. Composer Phillip Glass revisits his score from the first film.
Candyman 3: Day of the Dead
(1999) Watch Trailer
I guess you have to be bored during a movie to notice certain things. When the title comes up on screen it’s simply Candyman: Day of the Dead
without the “3”. But the DVD cover has it as Candyman 3
. That makes me think they changed it for the home release, but as far as I know it never had a theatrical release, it only came out on DVD. Hmm.
The story moves to L.A. and a new heroine, Caroline (Donna D’Errico). There is no mystery this time, she comes out and says she is Daniel Robitaille’s great-great-granddaughter. He was a gifted painter in life, that was shown in the last movie as well, and Caroline wants him to be remembered for his paintings, not for the legend of the Candyman. Her friend runs an art gallery and is letting her put on a show there, but he insists on putting the “Candyman” name on the ads to draw people in, which she objects to. Pretty soon the friend is gutted by the Candyman’s fishhook and the cops are sniffing around the crime scene.
The main cop Kraft (Wade Williams) is a racist pig and will hang around for the whole movie not helping, but not even causing much trouble for the characters, just being a nuisance. Until the end, that is.
Caroline’s roommate makes her say “Candyman” in front of the mirror 5 times just to prove that the ghost is not real. Big mistake! Soon he’s back again and killing more randoms. At one point Caroline gets abducted by a street gang who worship the Candyman, but he shows up and guts them all. Stupid kids.
The most annoying thing is that movie is peppered with dream sequences. Caroline sees someone get killed, then wakes up and realizes it was a nightmare, then sees them get killed for real. I think it was part of the budget stretching for this direct-to-video installment. Get more kills with less actors by killing them all twice, or thrice. We also have limited sets here, no Mardi Gras or Chicago landscapes. A studio apartment, an art studio, a couple of warehouses, hallways and back alleys.
The connective tissue comes late in the movie when Caroline’s mother, whom we’ve seen killed in several flashback/dream sequences, is revealed to be Annie from the second movie, played by a different actress. If Robitaille is mad that his wife and child were taken from him, shouldn’t he just be trying to protect them? Why is he trying to marry his own granddaughters and making their lives miserable by killing all of their friends until they say yes? Shouldn’t he be haunting the families of the men who killed him instead of his own?
We aren’t told how Candyman came back after his magic mirror was broken at the end of part 2, and we aren’t told why Caroline cutting up his self-portrait in the art gallery kills him in this one either, but it does. In the movie’s only real clever thought, the crooked cop Kraft decides to go crazy and kill a bunch of people at the end for unclear reasons, and Caroline blames all the Candyman murders on him. She reasons that the only way to truly kill him is to kill the urban legend by blaming all of his murders on a real person. That’s a neat thought.
I don’t usually comment on the acting if it’s bad. I’m torn on Donna D’Errico here though. She’s mostly remembered for being a Baywatch babe, and I’m sure she was hired for her looks, not her acting ability. It looks like she’s actually trying to act, unlike a lot of other low-budget pretty girl actors. She is just very green, so she’s not great, but I get the feeling that if she kept at it she might get better. I have no idea where her career went after this.
But I must comment on the tank top she wears throughout the movie. I have a feeling it were shown on free TV it would be blurred or something. It almost feels PG-13 without being nude. There is plenty of other nudity in the movie, I’m sure some producer was really hoping that she would strip as well but she remains the tasteful, virginal heroine. But she does let them put a ball-gag on her.
I can’t tell if Tony Todd was doing the studio a favor by appearing in this or if they were doing him a favor by letting him make another one of these. He did become more or less the franchise villain of the Final Destination series after this, and that probably paid better. It’s too bad this is what the Candyman franchise became, because the first one was a pretty decent movie.