This Week In Horror Movie History – Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995)

This week in Horror movie history, back on March 17th of 1995, the Candyman returned in Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh. Coming 3 years after the 1992 film Candyman, one of the most iconic Horror flicks of the 1990s, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh is arguably one of the more underrated genre sequels of the decade.  

Candyman: Farewell to Flesh still. © Gramercy Pictures

Thankfully bringing back Tony Todd (Night of the Living Dead 1990, Final Destination 2000) to reprise his role as The Candyman, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh found a new way to torment fans. Moving away from the distinctive Chicago in the Cabrini Green Housing Projects backdrop, the second film in the series brings back the memorable horror villain as he commits grisly murders in New Orleans.

The new story, written by Rand Ravich (The Astronaut’s Wife 1999, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind 2002) and Mark Kruger (The 4400 series, Teen Wolf series), of course based on Clive Barker’s original short The Forbidden, focused on a School Teacher named Anne Tarrant (Kelly Rowan: The O.C. series, Perception series) whose father was allegedly murdered by The Candyman according to her brother Ethan (William O’Leary: Bill Durham 1988, Home Improvement series). Finding it hard to believe her brother, accused of the murder because of previous confrontations, Anne believes the story of The Candyman is nothing more than urban legend. Tempting fate, it is only when she recites The Candyman’s name 3 times on the eve of Mardi Gras to show her students that he does not exist that her once comfortable life becomes a non-stop episode of terror.

Compared to other Horror sequels put out during the late 1990s, such as 1995’s Leprechaun 3 and 1996’s Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh is by far one of the more complete sequels. This time directed by Bill Condon, who would later go on to work on big films such as 2011’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, 2012’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, and most recently, 2017’s Beauty and the Beast, the talented filmmaker kept the tension and unease of Farewell to the Flesh on par with its predecessor. Working with a solid production team including Gregg Fienberg (Gods and Monsters 1998, True Blood series), Sigurjón Sighvatsson (Arlington Road 1999, Brothers 2009), and the one and only Clive Barker acting as executive producer, it had all the ingredients to be a hit sequel. 

Candyman: Farewell to Flesh still. © Gramercy Pictures

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh did not do as well as expected with critics. One could debate that it merely did not live up to the magic of the original. That in mind, while the story of Farewell to the Flesh is coherent, it does not seem to conquer the quality of the original antagonist’s origins. Kevin Thomas of The Los Angeles Times, at the time, stated in his review, the film “overflows with blood and guts, drowning a potent metaphor for African American rage and oppression.” A valid argument because this was established so beautifully and effortlessly in the original film. Which raises curiosity, what would have Farewell to the Flesh been like had original Candyman Writer/Director Bernard Rose’s script not been rejected. Would the story turned out differently? Regardless of what critics thought, the film still did rather well at the box office, bringing in an estimated 13.9 million dollars. 

Helping Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh keep afloat all these years is the fact that Mr. Tony Todd returned as the infamous character. In fact, Todd would graciously return to the role yet again for the final Candyman film, 1999’s Candyman: Day of the Dead. A superb actor, with a great deal of knowledge about the art of theater, Todd was and still is the flawless pick for Candyman. Additionally, Farewell to the Flesh was given weight thanks to the bone-chilling score by famous Soundtrack Composer Philip Glass. Afterall, what is a good Horror film without a memorable score? 

Candyman: Farewell to Flesh still. © Gramercy Pictures

All the positives and negatives in mind, despite the diminished artistic quality, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh is definitely a favorite among Horror movies, and especially those of the series. It is one of the few sequels that does not seem to walk away from the storyline of the original film. Still worth talking about, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh still continues to make viewers come back to the series time and time again.

Gramercy Pictures

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