Somewhere between the 90s classic Candyman and the recent, equally good remake of the same name, two Candyman sequels made their way to the direct-to-video market. Neither of these sequels generated much in the way of positive buzz. However, the first of those sequels, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh at least had some positives, earning a small following amongst horror fans. In contrast, the 1999 sequel Candyman Day of the Dead saw the quality of the hopeful franchise dive straight off a cliff. If there were plans for a fourth movie, Day of the Dead killed them off pretty fast. Neither critics nor horror fans were impressed with a second attempt at recycling the Candyman myth.
Twenty-five years have passed since people whispered about the legend of Candyman. However, a Los Angeles gallery owner inadvertently provokes the legend when he exploits Daniel Robitaille’s art and suffering in a Candyman-themed exhibition. Now the Candyman is back and he wants his great-granddaughter to give him life.
Candyman Day of the Dead a Listless Recycling of the Original
Where to start with Candyman Day of the Dead? If Farewell to the Flesh was a disappointing maybe even lackluster, follow-up to a horror classic, Day of the Dead borders on inept. For writer and director Turi Meyer (Sleepstalker) this poorly conceived sequel is the second stinker he helmed in the 90s. Just in terms of basic filmmaking quality, Candyman Day of the Dead is a flat-looking that misses the intensity and haunting atmosphere of the original. Also missing is Philip Class’ classic score, which was practically a character itself in the original. In the place of these elements, Meyer includes a handful of decent gore scenes that also lack any scares. Moreover, the sequel follows an odd pace where things just sort of happen.
Just in terms of basic filmmaking quality, Candyman Day of the Dead is a flat-looking that misses the intensity and haunting atmosphere of the original.
And this brings us to a big problem with the sequel – the story itself. Let’s face it, horror sequels don’t really need much of a reason to exist. Meyer, and co-writer Al Septien, also take the most obvious narrative direction by following the daughter of Farewell to the Flesh’s Annie Tarrant. Too bad not much more though was put into the sequel. By and large, the sequel seems content to recycle ideas and dialogue from the original movie with no sense of purpose. In addition, Meyer and Septien’s screenplay lacks much in the way of logical. Ultimately, the writers take a ‘kitchen sink’ approach throwing in a Candyman-worshipping gang and a pair of racist police officers. None of these elements make the sequel remotely interesting.
Candyman Day of the Dead Surrounds Poor Tony Todd With Some Terrible Performances
Poor Tony Todd (Hell Fest). Ever the epitome of professionalism, Todd is arguably the only bright spot of this dreadful sequel. That’s hardly surprising as Todd has a presence that even a bad movie can’t dull. Sadly, Todd isn’t in Candyman Day of the Dead enough to make it remotely watchable. Instead, former Playboy model and Baywatch star Donna D’Errico takes center stage. Neither a Virginia Madsen nor a Kelly Rowan (The Gate, The O.C.), D’Errico lacks the emotional range to be taken seriously as the great granddaughter of Daniel Robitaille. In fact, D’Errico’s performance is almost painful in some scenes.
…D’Errico lacks the emotional range to be taken seriously as the great granddaughter of Daniel Robitaille.
But D’Errico’s not even the worst actor in Candyman Day of the Dead. Though he’s not around long, Mark Adair-Rios, who plays an exploitative art gallery owner, is pretty terrible for his handful of onscreen moments. The worst of those moments comes early when Adair-Rios and his lover attempt some wooden screams of terror as the Candyman guts them. Slightly less wood is Jsu Garcia (A Nightmare on Elm Street) who still feels out of place. Like everything else about this sequel, the cast is almost universally a downgrade from even the poorly received Candyman Farewell to the Flesh.
Dreadful Late 90s Sequel Made Horror Fans Its Victim
Though Candyman Farewell to the Flesh wasn’t a ‘good’ movie by any objective standards, it had some moments – it was also watchable. Comparatively, Candyman Day of the Dead is a cheap-looking and dull retread of ideas. Little about the sequel ever gels together to from a coherent story with a sense of purpose or urgency. And Donna D’Errico makes for a poor protagonist regardless of the actresses who came before her in the franchise. Not even Tony Todd can save this one. Ironically, the sequel accomplishes what D’Errico’s ‘Caroline’ struggles to do in the movie – kill the myth of Candyman.