Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995)
Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995)

Genre: Slasher Running Time: 1 hr. 33 min.

Release Date: March 17th, 1995 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Bill Condon Actors: Tony Todd, Kelly Rowan, William O’Leary, Bill Nunn, Matt Clark, David Gianopoulos, Fay Hauser, Timothy Carhart, Caroline Barclay, Veronica Cartwright

 


 

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rtist Daniel Robitaille (Tony Todd), the son of slaves, was attacked by angry townsfolk; he was mutilated, tortured, covered with bees, and left to die. It’s a brutal myth – and one that has inspired people, such as Helen Lyle from Cabrini Green, to murder in the name of “Candyman.” Helen was assumed to have gone on a killing spree in the early ’90s, using the legend as a formula for her mayhem. Years later, Dr. Phillip Purcell (Michael Culkin) hosts an event for fans of his latest book, “Candyman: A Century of Fear,” which has onlookers in New Orleans a bit on edge, especially when he fearlessly summons the “hook man” by reciting his name five times in a mirror.

One such aggravated patron is Ethan Tarrant (William O’Leary), who starts a fight with Purcell in a bar, claiming that the author failed to help Ethan’s father, who believed he was being stalked by the monster shortly before he was murdered. As the prophecy demands, the real Candyman appears that evening, slaughtering Purcell with a stab and twist of the metal hook that replaced his severed hand. And, once again, no one believes that the phantasm of Robitaille is behind the growing number of bodies, which means that Ethan is now blamed for the string of grisly homicides. With Mardi Gras just around the corner, Tarrant’s sister, schoolteacher Annie (Kelly Rowan), is determined to get to the bottom of the deaths, certain that her brother is innocent.

Philip Glass’ music returns, once again elevating this repetitive slasher with a striking, contrasting theme that sounds eerily more fitting for a romantic drama than a horror film. It’s not enough, however, to offset the redundancy of Annie retracing the steps of the previous picture’s protagonist to unearth the mystery of Candyman. Even the deaths look overly familiar, along with the imagery of graffiti, dilapidated properties, claustrophobic sets, flashbacks, mirrors, bees, and the haunting carnage of the towering slayer. Racism, poverty, desperation, religion, and law enforcement’s differing treatment of minorities play into the story, though these reappearing notions are unable to provide anything new.

A steady stream of jump scares also crops up, augmented by overdone sound effects, including screeching noises that make these sequences feel silly rather than terrifying. In an attempt to expand upon the original, the makeup effects and gore have become more elaborate and gruesome, which is a nice update for fans of excessive violence. But Candyman’s modus operandi awkwardly alternates between terrorizing his summoners, butchering random acquaintances, and pursuing a twisted relationship with Annie – based upon her heritage, which is merely a slight deviation from elements seen in the 1992 film.

More of a remake than a continuation, this follow-up provides moderate amusement (mostly in its sincerity, aided by a serious turn from Veronica Cartwright but hindered by over-the-top performances by Timothy Carhart as Annie’s husband and David Gianopoulos as the lead detective), but ultimately only for audiences itching for continued massacres from the vengeful, cursed specter. It’s a visually impressive work, but with a plot that fails to present anything viewers haven’t already witnessed, superiorly, from before. Sadly, during the finale, brief composites with inferior computer graphics additionally hurt even the sharp, practical effects throughout, which hold up better over time.

– Mike Massie

  • 4/10