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The ‘Candyman’ franchise has been a landmark in the horror genre for the better part of three decades. As Black History Month comes to a close, it’s important to shine an extra bright light on the series. ‘Candyman’ came from the mind of author Clive Barker in the form of the short story ‘The Forbidden.’ Originally set in the slums of London, the story was adapted to the Cabrini-Green housing projects of Chicago for the film.
The element of race was added in by director Benard Rose to reflect the climate of the day. The casting of Tony Todd to play the titular character followed shortly after. Four films have been released, including the 2021 entry that acts as a legacy sequel.
‘Candyman’: Franchise Ranking
4) Candyman 3: Day of the Dead (1999)– Directed by Turi Meyer
Rotten Tomatoes– Critics Score, 7 percent, Audience Score, 22 percent
By 1999, the horror genre was losing steam, especially with slasher films. For the ‘Candyman’ franchise, better days were behind. ‘Candyman 3: Day of the Dead’ picks up 20 years after the events of the previous film with director Turi Meyer behind the camera. Donna D’Errico stars as Caroline McKeever, a direct descendant of the Candyman. The setting moves to Los Angeles as Carolina tries to put an end to the urban legend once and for all. The third entry isn’t quite as bad as its reputation, so fans of the series should check it out on a rainy day.
Rating: 2 out of 5
‘Candyman’: The first follow-up
3) Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995)– Directed Bill Condon
Rotten Tomatoes – Critics Score, 24 percent, Audience Score, 30 percent.
Three years after the release of the original, ‘Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh” was hit theaters in 1995. Bill Condon was brought on board to direct. After that, Condon later broke out with ‘Gods and Monsters,’ in addition to two ‘Twilight’ films.
Tony Todd returned as the Candyman, this time targeting a member of his family. Caroline McKeever played the role of Annie Tarrant. The great-granddaughter of Caroline Sullivan and Daniel Robitaille. The sequel moves out of Chicago and takes place in New Orleans. With the backdrop of Martigra, therefore, ‘Farewell to the Flesh’ brings a different feel to the series.
The film was met with mixed to negative reviews, bringing in just under $14 million at the box office. With a budget of $6 million, the film did just enough to break even and gain a small profit. ‘Farewell to the Flesh’ didn’t come close to its predecessor, but it still does enough to warrant a watch.
Rating: 2.75 out of 5
2) Candyman (2021)– Directed by Nia DaCosta
Rotten Tomatoes: Critics Score, 84 percent, Audience Score, 72 percent
With Jordan Peele writing and producing, Nia DaCosta brought the series back to life with her directing and style. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II plays Anthony McCoy, a visual artist who becomes obsessed with the Candyman legend. That legend overtakes Anthony as we move into the final act.
The newest ‘Candyman’ puts a heavier emphasis on the social and racial themes introduced in the original. Due to the current political climate, DaCosta’s film feels right for the times. The score and cinematography deliver a perfect backdrop to the gentrified Cabrini-Green of Chicago, for instance.
The third act might be rushed, however, it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the film. In conclusion, the 2021 ‘Candyman’ is an enlightening horror film that should be given a chance
Rating: 4 out of 5
‘Candyman’: Standing the test of time
1) Candyman (1992)– Directed by Benard Rose
Rotten Tomatoes – Critics Score, 78 percent, Audience Score, 62 percent.
Adapting Clive Barker’s short story, writer/director Benard Rose brought the urban legend to the Cabrini-Green housing projects in Chicago. Tony Todd signed on as the Candyman, just two years after a stellar performance as Ben in the ‘Night of the Living Dead’ remake. Virginia Madsen played the role of Helen Lyle, a white grad student doing a thesis on urban legends.
Some critics pushed back against the racial themes. In the years passed, the consensus is that ‘Candyman’ is one of the best horror films of the 1990s and highly recommended.
Rating: 4.75 out of 5