A new Candyman: Farewell to reality

Directed by Nia Dacosta; co-written by Dacosta, Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfield

candy man (2021), directed by Nia Dacosta and co-written by Dacosta, Jordan Peele, and Win Rosenfield, was released in theaters on August 27 after several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the title and marketing present it as a reboot of the 1992 horror film of the same title directed by Bernard Rose, the 2021 film is in fact a sequel.

A short story, “The Forbidden” (1985), by Clive Barker (author of the horror novel The Hellbound Heart and director of its film adaptation, Hellraiser) inspired the original film. The story provided Rose’s candy man with both its titular villain and whatever artistic strengths it had. The opening scenes of Barker’s story present a harsh picture of life for the residents of British public housing estates:

Doubtless fortunes and reputations had been built upon Spector Street, and at its opening fine words had been spoken of its being a yardstick by which all future developments would be measured. But the planners—tears wept, words spoken—had left the estate to its own devices; the architects occupied restored Georgian houses at the other end of the city, and probably never set foot here.

The hallways of the housing estate were now piled high with refuse bags, several maisonettes stood gutted by past fires and graffiti covered every surface: the colorful scars of poverty and capitalist reality.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in candy man

While the 1992 film trades the UK setting for the impoverished Cabrini-Green public housing project in Chicago, the conditions faced by residents appear similar. The Barker short story and the film follow Helen (Virginia Madsen), a university student, through an industrial wasteland as she stumbles upon a horrific legend haunting the projects. In her naïveté, Helen initially doubts the truth of the stories of murder and mutilation.


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A new Candyman: Farewell to reality