I wanted to review them both together.
We decided to revisit these movies as my son hadn’t see them yet due to being scared stupid by the story when he was in primary school. He’s recovered so on we go.
Candyman begins with the story of two researchers looking at urban legends for a project. Helen, the main character delves too deep into the candyman lore and undermines the belief system that gives the candyman life. She engages in increasingly dangerous behaviour due a rocky marriage (most unbelievable thing is the film is her husbands ability to pull such attractive girls when he’s such a douche). So now he comes to create fear and bring her into the legend. The idea of a ghost waiting to be called behind a mirror strikes fear into the heart of many teenagers. Candyman adds an excellent backstory of a black man falling in love with a white woman and is punished in terrible ways. Ways in which he now brings death to those who summon him. Helen is being framed for his murders. This is a scary concept, because unlike many horror movies where the villain kills and there is no explanation in candyman, there is an explanation in the real world. It can be explained by blaming the victim, in this case Helen. It makes us question what is real and what is supernatural. The movie itself is dreamlike, gritty and slow with the deaths which isn’t a bad thing. The location is atmospheric conveying a loss of hope.
Tony Todd is handsome, tragic but also intimating and horrifying. It’s easy in this case to have sympathy for the devil.
While Farewell to the Flesh the second installment isn’t as strong as the first, the storytelling element that makes the films worth watching is still there. It tells the story in more detail and adds a family tree for the candyman and brings his birthplace to New Orleans. The main character, Annie’s brother has been falsely accused of a candyman murder and she has also summoned him to disprove his existence. The setting and the atmosphere works for me but it is drawn out and I did get bored in places. The second installment I think highlights the liminal nature of the movies. Boundaries exist everywhere, the rich and the poor, race, reality and dreams. The mirror itself is the boundary between two worlds. I love the location of the movies, the gritty altars of desperation trying to hold back the violence and the graffiti telling the story of horror.
8/10 for the original and 6/10 for the sequel.