Jordan Peele’s Reimagined ‘Candyman’ is a Spiritual Sequel to the Original

Candyman

The legend of Candyman lives on in a scarier, smarter and more sinister way than ever before.

On Thursday, Jordan Peele’s reimagined version of the 90’s horror classic Candyman released the first trailer ahead of its June release. And from the looks of things, the scare factor is still a top priority.

The clip opens with Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, The Watchmen), a photographer, making his way through the abandoned Cabrini Green projects in Chicago. Inexplicably drawn to the area, McCoy begins to make plans for an exhibit. From there, all hell breaks loose. As McCoy begins his personal pursuit of the mythical Candyman, he begins to experience strange occurrences. Despite repeated warnings from those around him about his search for the time immortal killer, McCoy continues on and looks to have a rough road ahead of him.

Peele dubs his 2020 reimagined version of the 90’s classic “a spiritual sequel” to the original which premiered in theaters in 1992. But from the looks of things, version 2020 will up the ante on horror and elicit screams thanks to director Nia DaCosta.

During a private event to present the film’s first trailer, DaCosta (Little Woods) discussed how the film will present the movie’s true horror elements. A result of many discussions among her and Peele due to the different ways they view horror.


“I really love Gore,” says DaCosta. “I talked a lot about it  because what’s fun about working with Jordan was like art horror, aesthetics is different. Jordan’s really brilliant not showing everything. My instinct is to do the exact opposite.”

“There’s a good amount of things you don’t want to see.” 

Despite some obvious hat tips to the original, like Candyman’s hook for a hand, additional details regarding the film are top secret. Most notably, there is still a question looming over whether or not Tony Todd will return to resume his iconic role. Throughout the course of the trailer, Candyman’s shadow and silhouette are visible but stop short of revealing the hooked hand killing machine’s human identity. Both DaCosta and Peele admit taking liberties with aspects of the story but assure it’s fitting with that Candyman is known for.


“We were able to do it because 30 years have passed,” says DaCosta. “And because there’s been so much change, that neighborhood in particular through gentrification, we could really dig into the themes that were already there.”

“We want to do what the original film did which is be audacious, be fun. Um, but also be meaningful. 

The original film opens with Helen Lyle, a grad student researching local urban legends. Upon hearing the story of the Candyman, a mythical killer who can be summoned by saying his name five times. Over the course of discovery, Lyle learns of numerous killings in the Cabrini Green neighborhood of Chicago attributed to the mythical killer. 

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As the legend goes, Daniel Robitaille, is the son of a slave who became wealthy by developing a system for mass-producing shoes in the late 1800s. Also, a gifted artist, 

Robitaille is commissioned to paint the portrait of a local white woman. Over the course of painting the portrait, the pair fall in love with Robitaille fathering a child. Upon learning of the affair between his white daughter and her Black lover, the young woman’s father leads an angry mob to Robitaille to cut off his hand before dousing him with honey and attracting angry bees that ultimately sting him to death. Now a restless and vengeful spirit, Candyman returns in enact revenge on anyone that chants his name five times. The last thing he heard upon dying.

Thursday’s film trailer for Candyman, which is not set to open until June 2020, raises a number of questions on how the updated film will honor the core of the story. For starters, the biggest question at the moment is Who is Candyman? When news of the Peele-led remake surfaced last year, Todd reportedly confirmed his participation in the project. However, lips are sealed tight with regards to Todd. Not to mention the return of a now adult Anthony McCoy and how he got there. On the production side, Peele continues to evolve into a master storyteller when the principle topics are horror and social commentary. Cabrini Green, Candyman’s central location for hunting, is on the verge of being torn down in the film to make way for new high rise condos shining the bright light on the horrors of gentrification. 

Rounding out the cast are Colman Domingo (Lincoln, Selma), Teyonah Parris (Dear White People), and Nathan Stwart-Jarrett. 

Candyman opens in theaters on June 12th.

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