The Candymanathon – Pt. 2
It’s not hard to see why the original film cemented the title character immediately entered the zeitgeist and why sequels were put into production. How did the sequels do?
Title: Candyman: Farewell to Flesh
Released: March, 1995
Director: Bill Condon
Cast: Tony Todd, Kelly Rowan, Bill Nunn, William O’Leary, Veronica Cartwright
Plot: School teacher Annie Tarrant gets drawn into the Candyman legend when her brother Ethan is accused of killing Professor Purcell, the latest victim of Candyman. Before long Annie discovers a deeper connection with the murderous spirit.
Review: Um…there’s not a lot to say here. This movie is very much a weak copy of the original film. Let’s wrap this up nice and quick and get to the third one, which I have much more to say about that one.
Farewell to the Flesh is the same product with a new paint job. A sceptic is enticed into speaking Candyman’s name into a mirror five times to prove that he’s not real, Candyman turns up and murders people to isolate the girl so she’ll give herself over to him, except she succeeds in escaping from his clutches to give birth to a daughter. This is very different from the initial concept from Bernard Rose, which was to explore Candyman’s life as an educated, free man lynched due to the singular motive of racism. Instead he was retroactively made a slave and he was also attacked for reasons of classism and racism. Ironically the reason this pitch was rejected was because it would feature more Candyman and Helen as a couple, and the studio was racist about it.
Bill Condon replaces Bernard Rose in the director’s chair, and Condon is a man with a real roller coaster of a career. Oscar winner for the thoughtful Gods and Monsters the year following this film, nominated for writing Chicago, directed Dreamgirls…but also Twilight: Breaking Dawn part 1 and 2, Beauty and the Beast remake, wrote The Greatest Showman, directed The Fifth Estate. It’s a real mixed bag. Whilst Rose used unorthodox and morally questionable techniques, Condon is working by the numbers. It’s easy to assume that this is under instruction from the studio who want a straight-forward repeat of the original’s success.
The only positive notes we have is that sticking to the original with a competent director produces a dull but passable film, and the relocation to New Orleans works well for the series. The reveal that Annie (Rowan) is related to Candyman is a lazy knock-off from better sequels.
Rating: FOUR out of TEN