“Candyman, at the intersection of white violence and black pain, is about unwilling martyrs,” writes director Nia DaCosta about her upcoming “spiritual sequel” to the classic horror film. She released a short prequel online yesterday. (The film is currently scheduled to be released September 25, 2020.)
Produced by Manual Cinema with music by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, it’s haunting. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been inundated with video and images of that white violence — present and oft-overlooked past. This shadow puppet presentation weaves allusions to historical events in with the fictional narrative of the monstrous and tragic spirit of Candyman. And if they’re not specific historical cases (I think they all are), they are certainly accurate composites. Don’t look away from this.
The original 1992 Candyman was based on a Clive Barker short story, “The Forbidden,” where the malevolent spirit of the Candyman was much closer to a villain in the Doctor Who arc, “The Happiness Patrol.” Much as I loved that original short story, even in 1992 the remix made more sense, especially grounded in Tony Todd’s performance. In 2020 it makes even more sense, has more context, and demands we judge ourselves as our society keeps creating unwilling martyrs. I cannot wait for this film.