Although its roots lie in the legend of Bloody Mary, the “Candyman” franchise built a mythos all its own in the span of three movies. Actor Tony Todd would argue that the entire series revolves around a tragic story of unrequited love and the vengeance rained down upon those who dare disturb the tortured soul of the title character. I would absolutely agree with him, especially after “Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh” expands on the backstory of our antagonist.
Candyman (Tony Todd) moves on to New Orleans and starts his horrific murders once more. This time, his intended victim is a school teacher (Kelly Rowan). Her father was killed by Candyman, and brother (William O'Leary) wrongly accused of the murders.
Instead of the usual horror film retread we get when it comes to sequels, “Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh” actually expands on the history of the character by visually telling his tale onscreen. It pounds home the tragedy surrounding Candyman and brings more of a sense of humanity to the “villain” of the story.
Tony Todd brings Candyman to life and makes you both feel sorry for and fear his character. He brings an air of refinement to what could have been just another slasher icon. Veronica Cartwright plays a widowed southern belle who has a secret of her own to keep. Even in 1995, she was already a veteran of the horror genre because of roles in “Alien,” “The Birds,” “The Witches of Eastwick,” “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” and more.
I’m fascinated by writer and atheist Clive Barker’s attraction to Christian religion and Catholic imagery as showcased once again in “Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh.” This time it’s exemplified through the events of Mardis Gras in New Orleans and the religious meanings behind the celebration. I also found it interesting that one of the main focuses of the lynch mob was a middle-aged lady carrying her Bible and encouraging the torture of Candyman.
“Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh” is rated R for violence and gore, and for some sexuality and language. There’s the expected amount of blood and onscreen butchering you would expect from a horror movie. A couple are shown having sex in public on two occasions. They’re nude and shown from the side, but no actual privates are shown.
Special features for Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release of “Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh” includes audio commentary by Director Bill Condon, “The Candyman Legacy with Tony Todd” featurette, “Down Memory Lane with Veronica Cartwright” featurette, and a theatrical trailer.
“Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh” rises above what could have been just another pedestrian follow-up to a slasher flick. Instead of simply lining up new faceless victims for the killer to take out with his hook hand for no reason, our dreadful anti-hero is given substance and motivation for his actions. An air of mystery and a dark family secret add another level of elegance to the movie.
“Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh” is available now on Blu-ray.