Sweets to the Sweet: A 'Candyman' Retrospective

"I am the writing on the wall, the whisper in the classroom! Without these things, I am nothing. So now, I must shed innocent blood."

The Candyman has claimed countless victims of sheer terror as he continues to leap out of the mirror and in to our nightmares. The first film is considered by many to be a classic of the genre, a Modern Gothic masterpiece as adapted from the works of the great Clive Barker. It would be followed by a strong sequel in Farewell to the Flesh, and then by the abysmal direct-to-video release of Day of the Dead. Take a look back at the Candyman series with us in our latest retrospective!

Candyman (1992)

Helen is completing work on her senior thesis, which looks to disprove the local legend of The Candyman, but as she soon finds out, some legends are born in blood, and they will stop at nothing to keep the fear in them alive! Thus begins one of the greatest Gothic Horror films of the Modern Age: CANDYMAN! Bernard Rose, the visionary director behind 1988's PAPERHOUSE, paints a masterful ghost story from the writings of Clive Barker. With CANDYMAN, a new legend is born in Tony Todd. Todd first came into the genre spotlight playing the classic character of Ben in Tom Savini's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD remake. A trained theatre actor, Todd commands the screen with his towering stature and resonating voice. He captivates us with his seductive charm, but he is also deeply terrifying. Sexy, sassy, and smart, Virginia Madsen plays a wonderful leading lady as well. She loses herself in the character of Helen, and truly falls under the Candyman's spell. The scene where Helen first encounters the Candyman in the parking garage seems out of place in the Horror genre, since it is so skillfully shot and filled with surreal beauty. Artful moments like this separate CANDYMAN from its Slasher brethren. Philip Glass lends an additional air of sophistication with his elegant score. CANDYMAN is undoubtedly one of the best Horror films to come out of the 1990's, and a classic within the genre.

Rating: 9/10.

Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh (1995)

After the death of her father and her brother's arrest, Annie is left to uncover her family's hidden past, which will bring her face to face with the supernatural killer Candyman! CANDYMAN 2 is, in every way, an admirable sequel. It not only expands upon the legend of Daniel Robitaille, the Candyman, but it does so with a continued style and sophistication that typically goes unseen in a film of its kind. The colorful Cajun setting gives Candyman a wonderful new world to haunt. New Orleans always has a mysterious aura about it, and a history that reaches out from the streets and buildings. Director Bill Condon taps in to this to produce a number of highly atmospheric moments, from the Candyman's pursuit of Annie through the chaotic streets of Mardi Gras to the retelling of his origin story and the significance of the mirror. Annie is played gracefully by Kelly Rowan, who creates a character that is quite unlike Helen from the original. Rowan is sweet and soft-spoken, afraid to find out the horrifying truth, but like Helen, she is driven by an undying need to know and a bloody fate that draws her to the Candyman. CANDYMAN 2 does inevitably give in to its Slasher roots, with more blood and a higher body count than before. The major distraction, however, is the glaring sound design that cheapens the mood with obnoxious jump scares. Despite a few underlying discrepancies, CANDYMAN 2 proves to be a worthwhile sequel that holds up well against the original.

Rating: 7/10.

Candyman 3: Day of the Dead (1999)

Caroline mistakenly resurrects the spirit of her murderous ancestor, the Candyman, during the opening of an art exhibit that is being held in his honor, unleashing another wave of terror throughout the streets of Los Angeles during the Day of the Dead celebration. CANDYMAN 3 is filled with ridiculous racial stereotypes, dreadful dialog, and pitiful performances. Playboy Playmate Donna D'Errico only has two things going for her, and they aren't her sharp wit or keen acting prowess. She is simply atrocious in the lead, and would have been better off sticking with Baywatch. Turi Meyer doesn't do much better as director, creating very little suspense or atmosphere as he turns away from the Gothic ghost story and embraces the Slasher genre. His attempt to recreate the stylish and moody Mardi Gras sequence from the second film falls flat. Worst off is poor Tony Todd, who desperately tries to carry the weight of the film himself, but whose performance ultimately suffers from the sophomoric script. This sequel is best left forgotten.

Rating: 4/10.

1 comment:

  1. am a fan of these... they all added to his story and i met tony todd a couple times, who he was embracing the true horror that was candyman.