When I was a kid I watched a lot of movies, I still do, but as a kid television and movies were a major part of my life. Movies and television allowed me to escape that. It allowed me to go places outside of my reality. (Books, music and Video Games would later end up in that mix but that’s not what this is about.)
There were key movies in my life that helped to make me who I am today. Movies that I have loved from the moment the opening credit rolled and still love now. This blog series is about those, My guilty pleasures, my favorites, my escapes. Some were very popular, others not so much. Some of these will have some real life take-aways, others are just for fun.
Today we discuss the 1995 film Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (aka Candyman 2) starring Tony Todd, Kelly Rowan, Timothy Carhart and Veronica Cartwright.
Today’s Key Movie:
Candyman (Tony Todd) returns in a story that moves to New Orleans as he finds himself attracted to a woman who shares in his past. Picking up soon after the events of the original, we get yet another tale that attempts to explore the origins of the hooked killer.
Why this movie?
As I discuss in my review of the original film, I love the legend of Candyman and the mythology started by Clive Barker and his short story The Forbidden. Barker was one of my all-time favorites growing up and I had to absorb everything he touched from Books to films to art. So when a sequel to the 1992 film came out I knew I had to see it.
This is one that we didn’t see in theaters for some reason. It probably never made it to our small theater to be honest but I kept an eye out at our local video store for this one. Soon i found the cassette with someone who appeared to be Virginia Madsen on the cover surrounded by bees. Remembering the ending of the original I was intrigued with how this story would connect with that of the original. Unfortunately it didn’t as much as I expected it to but it was still a solid continuation taking the story in a very interesting direction.
You like it, but is it really a ‘good’ movie?
Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh is a dark and ominous tale that expands upon the origins of the title character himself. Diving deep into the creation of the myth it seems that, once again, Candyman (or Daniel Robitalle) is attracted to a young woman but for much different reasons. You see, Annie Tarrant (Kelly Rowan) has a direct connection to the hooked horror that has been hidden by her family for generations.
Once again Tony Todd owns the screen as the title character. His presence is felt throughout even when he does not appear on screen. Todd is a horror master and one that embodies this role in every way, from his movements to his incredible voice. There is not a moment that goes by that you are not anticipating his ominous presence and the slash of a hook making this film an anxiety nightmare.
Supporting Todd is Kelly Rowan as the primary interest Annie Tarrant. Kelly is completely believable in her characters self induced fear throughout the film. Completely flippant at the authenticity of the legend, Annie Tarrant breaks the covenant and says Candyman’s name five times creating her own living nightmare. As she discovers the truth about her past she becomes more and more engrossed in the history of the man that became Candyman. That history is soon revealed in a startling origin that is only hinted at in the first film. Rounding out the cast is the incomparable Veronica Cartwright in the roll of Annie’s mother, Octavia Tarrant. Cartwright does an impeccable job portraying ‘southern royalty’ hiding a secret that she feels could destroy their family. Cartwright is best known to me from her role in Alien as Lambert but it is always awesome to see her in other roles as meaty as this one.
Filmmaker Bill Condon manages to perfectly capture Barker’s character while making his own mark on the bloody hook. The story he tells is one of an investigation as more and more murder’s occur during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Condon not only expands the story of Candyman but does so in a gorgeous way. Throughout the film he treats us with incredible imagery and moments that not only depict that of the horror story but of the difficult lives of the citizens in New Orleans in the 90’s. Condon holds nothing back showing each drop of blood and each dark moment in full detail while allowing Todd to use his incredible talent to drive the film forward. Coupled with the return of composer Philip Glass, this is a solid sequel that does not disappoint in the least.
Bottom line, while the film did not go in the direction I expected I was not dissapointed in the path it chose. I am normally not one to want a back story for my favorite characters. Some origins are best left untold, Candyman’s however manages evoke a certain amount of sympathy toward the murderous spirit. To be able to make you sympathize with an evil being is not an easy thing to do and, to be honest, is pretty rare in horror films overall. This is one aspect that makes this film such a quality sequel and remains so to this day.
OK, where do I get this movie?
This one is available on bluray and in digital format as well. You can get it here at a reasonable price and, if you loved the original, you really should give this one a go. Trust me, it’s pretty solid throughout.
Late To The Game 8/13/2020
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
For more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here. and, If you dig Music, I have a semi regular series called Stand Out Albums that covers some of my favorite records I have come across in life.
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