Wednesday, October 12, 2011

This Candyman Can't: "Candyman: Day of the Dead" (1999)

The first "Candyman" was a visual feast, a creepy exercise in horror made great by the direction of Bernard Rose. The second "Candyman" was surprisingly watchable, a convoluted story with some interesting shots. The third, and so far final, "Candyman" has plenty of eye candy in the form of nudity, and nothing else.

Donna D'Errico is Caroline, the great-great-granddaughter of the original Candyman (Tony Todd), a black artist tortured to death generations ago after his affair with a white woman was uncovered. Candyman's story is one of urban legend, but Caroline wants to change all of that by showing his artwork at Miguel's (Mark Rorir-Rios) gallery. Miguel hires an actor, David (Nick Corri) to be an obsessed weirdo about Candyman, and the showing goes well until he shows up for his schtick, then Miguel forces Caroline to summon Candyman by saying his name five times in a mirror.

Later, Miguel and his one night stand are brutally murdered, and the paintings are all stolen by a punk/goth gang. David is suspected of the killings, and he and Caroline team up to find the paintings, and destroy Candyman- who is carving a bloody swath through east Los Angeles with his meat hook.

That is a basic outline, but the film gets overly politically correct by throwing in a racist cop (Wade Andrew Williams), and having all of the gore and grue coincidentally occur around Cinco de Mayo, the day of the dead. I know southern California is a melting pot, but the film makers play with race like they are trying to elevate this junk to some sort of allegory about prejudice in today's world. It is obvious from the start.

When I think of good acting, Donna D'Errico's name does not come to mind. When I think of breast implants, Donna D'Errico's name comes to mind. D'Errico tries, but most of her scenes have her either screaming her augmented lungs out, or sitting quietly and twitching while smoking a cigarette, trying to recover from the latest crime she has witnessed. Tony Todd's dialogue seems to have been copied from a book entitled "Film's Stupidest Lines of All-Time." Come on, "why have you forsaken me?" is a line always used when a straight-to-video horror film tries to be more than it is.

The special effects are average, the fake blood is everywhere, even obscuring the copious number of topless blondes. The swarming bee effects are pretty bad, the budget just was not there. Meyer has all the ingredients for a "Candyman" film- graffiti, flashbacks, Caroline even has a black friend like Virginia Madsen did in the original, but there is no style or scares here. The Candyman's motives are nonexistent. First, he wants Caroline to believe in him. Then he wants her as a victim (saying "be my victim" more times than I could count) in order to save David's life. The climax is especially drawn out, featuring such a convenient plot twist, that I did not see it coming merely because I overestimated the limited capabilities of the screenwriters.

"Candyman: Day of the Dead" is another of my 99 cent video purchases that will find itself in the donation bag to the local public library's video checkout shelves. It died at the rental counter when it was released, it should die at the library, too. (*) out of five stars.