Everything We Know

Everything We Know About Candyman (2021)

Here's what we know about the Jordan Peele-produced, Nia DaCosta-directed film, based on interviews, production reports, and a fresh new trailer.

by | February 28, 2020 | Comments

Universal Pictures

(Photo by )

The cult classic horror franchise Candyman returns in 2020, with the Jordan Peele-produced, Nia DaCosta (Little Woods)-directed movie having just dropped its first teaser trailer this week. Starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (AquamanWatchmen), Teyonah Parris (If Beale Street Could Talk), and original franchise star Tony Todd, Candyman is slated for release on June 12. Originally rumored to be a remake, it’s now being called a “spiritual sequel” to the 1992 original. Here’s what we know so far.

It’s Definitely a Sequel, Not a Reboot

When the idea of revisiting Candyman was first floated, it was assumed that the new version would be a straight remake – even by original star Tony Todd. The actor went so far as to give his blessing to the new crew and say his goodbyes to Candyman on Twitter. It turns out rumors of a new actor wielding the honey-coated hook were premature (at one point, Peele’s Get Out star Lakeith Stanfield was rumored to be taking over the role). Peele and DaCosta are positioning the new movie as a direct sequel to the 1992 film.

Star Abdul-Mateen II is playing grown-up Anthony McCoy, the baby kidnapped and used as bait by Candyman in the original film (Stanfield was rumored to be up for this role as well). Original star Vanessa Williams also reprises her role of Anthony’s mother, Anne-Marie McCoy.

Virginia Madsen Is Not Back, But Helen Is

TriStar Pictures

(Photo by TriStar Pictures)

At the end of the 1992 Candyman (spoiler alert), Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) – the graduate student studying urban legends who revives the ghostly killer – dies from burns she receives when Candyman attempts to immolate the residents of the Cabrini-Green public housing project where the film is set. The final scene shows her distraught husband Trevor (Xander Berkeley) saying her name 5 times in front of a mirror, inviting a scarred Helen to appear and murder him with a hook.

Although Madsen is not returning for the sequel, the character of Helen Lyle is, this time played by Cassie Kramer. Is she an apparition? Were the events at the end of the original some kind of strange dream sequence? Or will the new film incorporate flashbacks to the past? We’ll have to wait and see.

Candyman Has New Abilities

Universal Pictures

(Photo by Universal Pictures)

The ending of the original played on a key theme in the work of author Clive Barker – that of the protagonist becoming the thing they are running from or tracking down (see also: Nightbreed and The Midnight Meat Train) – as the film ends with Helen literally becoming a new “Candywoman.” The new trailer seems to hint that Candyman has upped his game a bit. Rather than appear as a physical being, he seems to exist only in reflections and shadows, and judging from the shot where Abdul-Mateen II sees himself as Candyman in a mirror, Anthony McCoy doesn’t appear to become a Candyman surrogate like Helen, but actually the man himself.

Gentrification Is a Key Theme

Universal Pictures

(Photo by )

The final building of what once comprised the Cabrini-Green housing project on Chicago’s North Side was demolished in 2011. Sandwiched between two wealthy Chicago neighborhoods, Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast, Cabrini-Green had always butted up against encroaching gentrification. The attempt to pave over a dark past with trendy cafes and art galleries seems to be a main theme for the new film, which takes place in a now-gentrified neighborhood where Cabrini-Green once stood.

Peele has been very upfront about maintaining the tensions of race and class in the new film. “The original was a landmark film for black representation in the horror genre,” he said in a statement released after the film was announced. “Alongside Night of the Living DeadCandyman was a major inspiration for me as filmmaker — and to have a bold new talent like Nia at the helm of this project is truly exciting. We are honored to bring the next chapter in the Candyman canon to life and eager to provide new audiences with an entry point to Clive Barker’s legend.”

So Is Toxic Fandom

TriStar Pictures courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by TriStar Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)

Ian Cooper, creative director at Jordan Peele’s production company Monkeypaw, has hinted that entitled fandom will be another subtle thread in the new story. Speaking to Deadline, Cooper said, “We talk a lot about fans and the idea of appeasing fans and when you do that and how do you do that and when do you not do that. I think my issue with fandom is that it’s really problematic. It’s probably the most problematic thing facing the genre.” He went on to indicate how this may come into play in Candyman.

“I think what we’re trying to do with Candyman is both be mischievous in how we address the relationship to the first film but also be very satisfying.”

There Will Be Familiar Music

Like the use of a modified version of The Luniz’s “I Got Five on It” in Us, one of the best parts of the new teaser – as indicated by the #SayMyName hashtag trending on Twitter minutes after it dropped – was the way Destiny’s Child’s 1999 hit “Say My Name” was remixed with composer Philip Glass’ original score for the first Candyman.

Glass released a new recording of the Candyman score in 2016, but it’s unlikely the 83-year-old will have an active role in the new film. Producer Michael Werner Maas is credited as providing the trailer music, and will likely be involved in remixing at least parts of Glass’ score for inclusion in the new film.

There Will Be Nods to the Original Story

Universal Pictures

(Photo by Universal Pictures)

As a child in Liverpool, England, the four-year-old soon-to-be-horror author Barker was given some kindly words of advice by his dear, sweet old Nana that would stay with him for the rest of his life.

“My grandmother warned me, I remember, about going into public toilets because there were men who went around in public toilets and cut the genitals off little boys. This was difficult for a four-year-old to take in,” Barker recalls in the making-of documentary Sweets to the Sweet. “It terrified the wits out of me. That was the origin of Candyman.”

Candyman would take the lead in Barker’s 1984 short story “The Forbidden,” which would in turn inspire screenwriter Bernard Rose to take the story of a hook-handed urban legend haunting a rundown housing estate in downtrodden, industrial 1970s Liverpool and re-set it within the walls of the equally troubled Cabrini-Green housing project outside Chicago in the 1990s.

The original publication (in a collection called Books of Blood) featured haunting illustrations from artist John Stewart, which appear to get a visual shout-out via some of the graffiti glimpsed in the new trailer.

It Doesn’t Have a High Bar to Cross, Financially Speaking

Universal Pictures

(Photo by Universal Pictures)

Candyman wasn’t a monster box office success in 1992 (it made about $25.8 million in its domestic release), but it did well enough to earn a theatrically released sequel in 1995’s Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (29%), which only grossed $13.9 million. The final entry was a forgettable 1999 straight-to-video installment called Candyman: Day of the Dead (10%). Despite that, the original film, which stands at 75% on the Tomatometer, and the character himself have become iconic in their own right, so while the new film could easily best the box office performance of its predecessors, it will still have to pass muster with adoring horror buffs who may be prone to eye the new project with, at best, cautious optimism.

Candyman opens on August 27, 2021.

Tag Cloud

Year in Review WarnerMedia universal monsters Country Crackle doctor who Universal Amazon Prime renewed TV shows discovery DC streaming service adenture black SDCC BET Awards women critics Writers Guild of America Ovation Disney Plus Musicals Avengers Cartoon Network foreign festival TCA Awards obituary crime drama OWN USA Disney streaming service new york Peacock 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Tarantino Pop TV video on demand Instagram Live archives Brie Larson Holidays crossover cats all-time Fall TV 2016 video 93rd Oscars Podcast hollywood MSNBC A24 new star wars movies Kids & Family Alien criterion Logo Captain marvel Image Comics screen actors guild trailers Hallmark Christmas movies rt archives Spectrum Originals godzilla The Purge casting Legendary game of thrones leaderboard Best and Worst FX ITV Tubi travel Spike TruTV FXX Pirates Esquire thriller remakes sequel Black History Month spanish posters APB australia sequels Pacific Islander medical drama period drama YA Tumblr teaser streaming Crunchyroll live event New York Comic Con Superheroe 73rd Emmy Awards Election Tomatazos Mystery Bravo Film south america A&E Film Festival what to watch rt labs docuseries hidden camera The CW Character Guide political drama Netflix Christmas movies Baby Yoda scorecard deadpool Anna Paquin Black Mirror Spring TV NBA mcc news child's play Travel Channel heist movie Reality indie Countdown canceled TV shows VOD Summer Apple TV Plus biopic laika versus high school aapi TBS Rocky diversity ESPN Comedy Central Reality Competition cancelled dreamworks razzies Sundance films Grammys genre Sneak Peek Awards Martial Arts OneApp nature 007 binge PlayStation TCM cults Quiz Hear Us Out CBS spider-verse psycho reboot ABC Signature Extras Lucasfilm Mary Poppins Returns facebook singing competition RT21 zero dark thirty stand-up comedy nfl feel good MCU adventure 2017 witnail See It Skip It gangster E! 71st Emmy Awards 20th Century Fox animated independent Epix TV renewals The Walt Disney Company anthology kong dc concert TV Land Showtime Red Carpet Trophy Talk disaster Valentine's Day DC Comics IMDb TV PaleyFest The Arrangement Dark Horse Comics Animation Paramount king arthur TCA 2017 french quibi theme song psychological thriller dark vampires spider-man 45 crime children's TV spy thriller royal family HBO streaming movies Classic Film art house mutant 2015 Fox Searchlight HBO Go asian-american VICE dramedy American Society of Cinematographers critic resources Nominations book Academy Awards hist Mary Tyler Moore Pride Month movie Amazon Studios IFC Films TIFF Women's History Month Masterpiece black comedy miniseries Thanksgiving IFC Walt Disney Pictures Apple TV+ BAFTA true crime LGBT NBC Disney+ Disney Plus comic book movies Star Trek Western transformers Interview Exclusive Video Christmas SundanceTV SXSW king kong Emmys Opinion football joker adaptation 99% CBS All Access toy story Syfy VH1 marvel cinematic universe indiana jones docudrama slasher GoT rotten international kaiju golden globes movies unscripted First Reviews YouTube hispanic natural history AMC Plus PBS Paramount Plus Paramount Network Sci-Fi Toys Rom-Com strong female leads Lionsgate franchise twilight 1990s slashers Super Bowl comiccon Fantasy Fargo Polls and Games Arrowverse Mary poppins sopranos Shudder batman Freeform free movies Endgame ViacomCBS spanish language mockumentary documentaries cars serial killer ABC Family game show Family parents 72 Emmy Awards 4/20 Marvel Studios sag awards BBC One Britbox Starz Comics on TV Rocketman USA Network italian fresh GLAAD X-Men Schedule boxing Sundance TV mob hispanic heritage month debate police drama golden globe awards television Creative Arts Emmys talk show Fox News book adaptation Adult Swim Television Critics Association Hulu Shondaland historical drama Turner rotten movies we love scary movies 2021 Amazon Prime Video Premiere Dates documentary Heroines Hallmark Certified Fresh christmas movies Awards Tour Horror 2020 composers Oscars Cosplay BBC America trophy japanese MTV Discovery Channel classics TV movies sports worst FOX Disney Teen scary Trailer rt labs critics edition action-comedy emmy awards Mudbound Disney Channel Television Academy GIFs Music Tokyo Olympics Acorn TV spain YouTube Red Emmy Nominations Neflix Pop ratings blaxploitation blockbusters cancelled television 2018 AMC comic DirecTV nbcuniversal National Geographic History Lifetime Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt chucky TV TNT robots Turner Classic Movies dceu zombie sitcom target politics Nat Geo Warner Bros. mission: impossible saw crime thriller cooking stop motion Drama know your critic a nightmare on elm street Universal Pictures telelvision TCA halloween tv justice league Musical WGN cartoon rom-coms Stephen King San Diego Comic-Con Comedy Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Action 21st Century Fox cancelled TV shows TCA Winter 2020 Pet Sematary new zealand young adult TLC YouTube Premium jamie lee curtis festivals dogs comedies Video Games series Pixar olympics supernatural latino venice E3 First Look HBO Max Amazon ABC Funimation romance tv talk LGBTQ Rock biography satire CW Seed boxoffice DC Universe worst movies zombies toronto spinoff werewolf dexter DGA 90s finale green book comics Wes Anderson Sundance Now NYCC canceled President RT History Winners prank richard e. Grant Ellie Kemper marvel comics Star Wars Superheroes Chernobyl scene in color harry potter Winter TV science fiction cinemax vs. comic book movie breaking bad wonder woman Marvel Box Office kids revenge Columbia Pictures cops superman live action Cannes dragons elevated horror Apple fast and furious Biopics 24 frames CMT Netflix Photos Food Network Nickelodeon BBC directors The Academy ghosts The Walking Dead name the review japan pirates of the caribbean cancelled TV series social media Binge Guide best Lifetime Christmas movies Marvel Television space Marathons TV One romantic comedy Mindy Kaling The Witch reviews Song of Ice and Fire Set visit popular comic books die hard Infographic technology FX on Hulu screenings CNN stoner monster movies suspense Ghostbusters basketball Vudu Trivia BET lord of the rings blockbuster Calendar El Rey Comic Book legend anime 2019 Comic-Con@Home 2021 Watching Series jurassic park superhero award winner ID james bond Broadway war halloween Elton John aliens Sony Pictures Holiday based on movie