The new Candyman reboot/sequel was supposed to arrive in theaters last weekend, but the coronavirus changed that. Now, Nia DaCosta‘s new take on the classic horror tale is due out in September, which still seems like a long time from now. In the meantime, DaCosta has uploaded a haunting Candyman teaser that re-tells the Candyman origin story while also recounting stories of Black people being persecuted – and prosecuted – a theme that’s all too familiar right now.
CANDYMAN, at the intersection of white violence and black pain, is about unwilling martyrs. The people they were, the symbols we turn them into, the monsters we are told they must have been. pic.twitter.com/MEwwr8umdI
— Nia DaCosta (@NiaDaCosta) June 17, 2020
If you weren’t already sold on the new Candyman, I imagine this will do the trick. I’m assuming this genuinely haunting bit of footage – made to resemble a series of paper dolls – is taken directly from the film. At the end of this clip, we see a recreation of the Candyman origin story – Daniel Robitaille was a Black artist in the late 1800s who fell in love with the white woman whose portrait he was hired to paint. This enraged the woman’s father – and others – who brutally murdered Robitallie, cutting his hand off in the process.
But before we get there, there are other incidents portrayed here of Black people suffering at the hands of a racist society. As DaCosta says in the tweet above, Candyman “at the intersection of white violence and black pain, is about unwilling martyrs. The people they were, the symbols we turn them into, the monsters we are told they must have been.”
Many of the incidents portrayed here seem to be drawn from real-life – there’s a section where what appears to be a young boy ends up in an electric chair, which I’m guessing is meant to represent George Stinney, a 14-year-old African-American boy who was rushed through the legal system to be the youngest person ever sentenced to death and executed by electric chair in America. That happened in 1944. In 2004, Stinney’s conviction was overturned as it was ruled he did not receive a fair trial.
All of this implies that the new Candyman has a lot more on its mind than just being another run-of-the-mill horror reboot. And through it all, we can hear the strains of Philip Glass’ original, chilling Candyman score. Candyman opens September 25, 2020.
For as long as residents can remember, the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini Green neighborhood were terrorized by a word-of-mouth ghost story about a supernatural killer with a hook for a hand, easily summoned by those daring to repeat his name five times into a mirror. In present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, visual artist Anthony McCoy and his girlfriend, gallery director Brianna Cartwright, move into a luxury loft condo in Cabrini, now gentrified beyond recognition and inhabited by upwardly mobile millennials. With Anthony’s painting career on the brink of stalling, a chance encounter with a Cabrini Green old-timer exposes Anthony to the tragically horrific nature of the true story behind Candyman. Anxious to maintain his status in the Chicago art world, Anthony begins to explore these macabre details in his studio as fresh grist for paintings, unknowingly opening a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifying wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.
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