I wasn’t allowed to watch scary movies growing up.
Any film having to do with ghosts, ghouls, witches, demons or the like was met with swift repercussions if I ever got caught watching.
So imagine my fear as a pre-teen, when my mother arrived to pick me up from a friend’s house one day and saw that me and said friend were watching the original Candyman. The terror I felt that day, both from Tony Todd’s performance and the thought of potentially facing my mother’s wrath once we got home was enough to steer me clear of all horror movies (that one specifically, though) from that day on.
Or at least, that was the case up until Wednesday.
Hot off the Universal presses (and after being delayed not once, not twice, but THREE times), a brand new teaser trailer was released for the Nia DaCosta-directed, Jordan Peele-produced Candyman, starring Watchmen’s Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.
The film’s official synopsis, per a press release sent to The Root:
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 (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II; HBO’s Watchmen, Us) and his partner, gallery director Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris; If Beale Street Could Talk, The Photograph), 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 (Colman Domingo; HBO’s Euphoria, Assassination Nation) 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
“Throughout the making of the film, the thing that I always came back to was the truth of the pain that was at the center of the story of Candyman.” Nia DaCosta shared in part in a video message on Juneteenth. “In the real world, we create monsters of men all the time. People are murdered [and] they become either saints or they’re vilified. Throughout the last year and a half, it was always coming back to that truth.”
She continued, “Horror is a really effective tool when it comes to telling stories about things that impact us on a social level. The very function of it is to make you uncomfortable and I think if that discomfort is attached to explorations of race or gender, you have to then reconcile your feelings about race and gender.”
OK, so maybe I can put my trauma aside for the sake of this film. Between Nia’s explanation and direction, Jordan’s producing prowess, and Yahya’s...well, everything, it may be worth a watch.
But don’t tell my Momma I said that; let’s just keep this between me and you. Cool? Cool.
Candyman hits theaters on August 27.