Friday, October 21, 2005
Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh
In this surprisingly effective sequel we learn more about the Candyman’s history. Flashbacks to the 1800s detail the story of Daniel Robitaille, the artist son of a slave who was hired by a wealthy plantation owner to paint a portrait of his beloved daughter, Caroline. The two fall in love and begin a secret affair. Upon learning of Caroline’s pregnancy, the plantation owner gathered an angry mob to end this illicit union. Daniel’s hand is sawed off, he’s covered in honey, and a swarm of bees ends his life. According to lore, at the moment of his death, his soul escaped into Caroline’s mirror. Consequently, anytime his name is said 5 times in front of a mirror, he appears and kills whomever summoned him.
Fast forward to 1995. The film takes place in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. A young inner-city schoolteacher, Annie, becomes the object of Candyman’s desire. Skeptical at first, Annie begins to believe the Candyman myth after her parents and husband die horribly and mysteriously. As Annie begins to conduct her own investigation, she learns that Caroline is her great-great grandmother and that Candyman has some very specific plans for her.
Horror sequels are a tricky thing indeed. While money obviously motivates the choice to make a sequel, it comes at an artistic cost. More often than not the horror sequel saps the strength and punch from the original film. For example, Halloween was never meant to have a sequel and as a stand-alone film it’s one of the scariest movies ever made. The idea that the “evil is still out there” is a much more powerful prospect than endless sequels illustrating this idea. Michael Myers is no longer scary because of the numerous Halloween outings. There are countless examples of this phenomenon; The Ring, Evil Dead, The Exorcist, JU-ON, to name just a few. The only exception I can think of is Omen II. Evil Dead II is great fun, but it’s a comedy. I think the original Friday the 13th stinks but I do enjoy the silly sequels (except the pillowcase one). So what’s this all mean, what’s the significance? Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh is a pretty good sequel. There’s still no humor nor is there a heavy metal soundtrack, which is good. The killings are as gory as ever, and the story is original enough that it doesn’t become too redundant.