Looking back, the nineties gave us so many gems of the horror genre.
Scream, Braindead, The Blair Witch Project, The Sixth Sense, The Silence of the Lambs – it’s incredibly hard to pick a favourite from the decade.
However, there’s one title that’s reputation has grown rather immensely in recent years, just make sure you don’t say it five times while looking in a mirror. Of course, we’re talking about Bernard Rose’s Candyman.
Blending resonant social commentary with supernatural scares, the film is arguably just as impactful for modern audiences as it was back then. Indeed, there have long been champions of the film who have argued that it’s ripe for a remake.
It actually earned two sequels – Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh and Candyman: Day of the Dead – in 1995 and 1999 respectively. However, they are often regarded as far inferior follow-ups.
So, when it was announced that a new project was in the works with none other than modern social-horror maestro Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us) billed as a screenwriter and producer, a high bar was set immediately.
Now that it’s here, viewers are inevitably curious just as to the nature of the beast… is the 2021 Candyman a sequel or something else entirely?
Is Candyman (2021) a sequel?
- The 2021 film Candyman is billed as a direct sequel to the 1992 original and will ignore the events of the previous sequels.
This is highlighted by ScreenRant, which notes that Entertainment Weekly initially called it a “spiritual sequel” back in 2018. However, Jordan Peele himself has since clarified the chronology, declaring that the latest effort is “the next chapter in the Candyman canon.”
It’s likely that it was being regarded as a spiritual rather than direct sequel because it made the previous two entries separate from the canon of the first movie. Think of it like 2018’s acclaimed Halloween sequel, which directly followed up John Carpenter’s 1978 masterwork but kept the same name.
On the other hand, although we can expect to further explore the mythology of the first film, the trailers have confirmed that the backstory for the hook-handed antagonist has been altered somewhat.
If you haven’t seen the trailer and wish to avoid any potential spoilers present in it, you may wish to scroll to the next section.
In the second trailer, we’re taught new origins for the Candyman. He was apparently a man accused of targeting children by putting razor blades in candy and offering them to unsuspecting victims. The police were informed and proceeded to murder him without attempting to determine his guilt.
In a tragic turn of events, we’re told that he was innocent, and it’s believed these are the beginnings of the supernatural force targeting new prey.
Through the mirror
The first film was based on the short story The Forbidden by Clive Barker, who horror fans may be most familiar with as the director of Hellraiser.
This time around, we centre upon Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Anthony McCoy, a rising and exciting artist who is set on exploring the urban myth of Candyman for his latest project.
As he begins his deep research, he starts to discover far more than he bargained for, closing in on the true horrors of the neighbourhood boogeyman.
While audiences can expect thrills and chills, this sequel pays respect to the original in its exploration of imperative themes too. There is somewhat of a focus on violence against Black people in America throughout history and the present.
Fans are in good hands
Candyman is the sophomore directorial feature of Nia DaCosta (Little Woods) and she’s a massive fan of the original.
NME highlights that she revisited the classic before helming her project and still feels its power:
“As an adult I was like, ‘Oh this is still terrifying, still really scary.’ There are pressures that come from so many corners during a studio film, a film with Jordan Peele attached… but because I was a huge fan [of the original], I let that guide me.”
Looking back on her relationship with the film back in the day, she added: “In my community, everyone was daring each other to say ‘Candyman’ in the mirror five times. Which I never did of course, because that would be very silly.”
Many who grew up with the film will have fond memories of daring their friends to say Candyman five times into the mirror at school or at a sleepover. Now, it’s set to come back for a brand new generation.
Candyman is in cinemas from Friday, August 27th 2021.
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