Looking Back at the Legend of ‘Candyman’: ‘You Don’t Have to Believe, Just Beware’
If you’ve stood in front of a mirror at night and recited “Bloody Mary” three times, you are most likely to be familiar with how this nature of urban legend works.
Essentially, you call out the entity’s name however many times, and it materializes in front of you, only to kill in a signature fashion.
This is the same for the infamous Candyman, a cult classic film from 1992. Apart from being a stellar slasher flick that was widely adored, it was also seen as a clever and poetic commentary on the United States’ history and the presence of racial struggle.
Now, as the revival of the film is anticipated later this month, it is pretty exciting to see which direction the current touch bearer, Jordan Peele, will take the lore.
Jordan Peele’s ‘Candyman’
After almost three decades, Candyman is getting the sequel it deserves. And it is by none other than Peele — the director and writer known for intelligent humor and commentary infused social horror.
Peele is the brilliant mind behind critically acclaimed thriller movies like Get Out and Us, which blew the minds of critics and fans. So, looking at his history with the genre, it makes perfect sense he is writing and producing the 2021 iteration.
However, Peele has his list of reasons for pursuing the sequel. 1992’s Candyman was one of his favorite movies growing up. He was 13 at the time and a big fan of the film.
Before the 1992 Candyman, all the killers in slasher movies were White. So, when a young Peele saw a Black killer, he felt represented in some manner. He was highly influenced by it from the first watch.
Additionally, he felt that casting a Black man for the role of the Candyman was “daring and cathartic.” Similarly, the movie told him that black people could be cast in horror movies as well.
Therefore, taking 1992 Candyman as his inspiration, Peele rose to prominence as a horror movie-creating aficionado.
Alongside him, the movie is directed by Nia DaCosta, the director of Little Woods and The Marvels. 2021 Candyman was scheduled for release in June 2020 but was delayed three times because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
DaCosta strongly objected to the release of the movie on streaming services and premium video-on-demand. She argued the movie is about a sense of community and how it shapes people.
Moreover, it derives a collective experience of suffering, trauma, joy, and triumph from the stories. Hence, she felt that these could be achieved in a communal setting only, like a theater.
As a result, Candyman will be released in cinemas across the United States on August 27, 2021.
The movie stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Teyonah Parris, Colman Domingo, Vanessa Estelle Williams, and Tony Todd. Todd will reprise his role as the Candyman.
The Original ‘Candyman’
Before the movie, there was a book series of short stories called Books of Blood by British author Clive Barker. One of the short stories called ‘The Forbidden’ was about a blood-soaked urban legend set in Liverpool, England.
The story caught the attention of British director Bernard Rose, and he soon met up with the author through a mutual agent. Both seemed to have been fans of each other’s work and began putting their heads together.
For Rose, this was exciting, as he was convinced that this film would be rife with social commentary.
As the film’s setting took place in a rotting Black housing estate, the movie acted as a representation of the marginalized community, with Candyman being an entity that maintained a balance through fear.
Two more movies were made — Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995) and Candyman: Day of the Dead (1999). The 2021 Candyman is a direct sequel to the 1992 movie.