With a new Candyman film right around the corner, it’s time to dive into who the character really is.
Throughout this, we’re gonna be breaking down everything you need to know about Candyman including the character’s history, origins and what could be happening in the new film.
As the new movie is a direct sequel to the first entry we will mainly be covering that but there will be a couple of tidbits here and there on the series as a whole.
Obviously there will be heavy spoilers here so if you don’t want anything about the franchise ruined then I highly suggest that you go and say Jeremy Jahns five times in a mirror to get a spoiler-free review of the movie or something.
Anyway, with all that out the way let’s get into our breakdown of Candyman!
Candyman was actually created by Clive Barker in a short story called The Forbidden. This piece was part of a book series by the British author called ‘The Books Of Blood.’ There are over six volumes, all containing different stories and works. Several of them have been adapted into live-action films including Rawhead Rex, The Lord Of Illusions, Quicksilver Highway and many more.
However, The Forbidden or rather Candyman as it would later come to be known in its on-screen depiction is by far the most famous of the stories.
The short story follows Helen, a university student that is in the process of writing a thesis on Graffiti. After she discovers some that makes reference to an urban legend known as The Candyman. The locals in the area refuse to discuss what this means and she begins to investigate what’s really going on which leads to her becoming a victim of the character.
The film itself roughly follows this framework but it adds a lot to the work and changes up several elements of it, especially the ending.
In the book the character was described as smelling like candy floss and his race, origin story and the mentioning of his name in a mirror were also absent.
Instead in the original source material, just doubting that he existed after learning of him caused the character the come forth.
We know how things have changed since then and the villain was massively fleshed out in the film adaptation.
In the movie, we discover that Candyman was the son of a slave who after being set free developed a way to mass-produce shoes during the civil war. Because of this, his father became very rich and Candyman aka Daniel grew up in high society. He became a well-known artist which ties into the graffiti and murals and Daniel was very well known.
However in 1890 after he fathered a child with a white woman he was set upon by a mob hired by her father and brutally killed.
They cut off his right hand and smeared him with honey so that bees would sting him to death. Later in the series, we learned that the gang that carried this out chanted Candyman five times and this is where the summoning sprung from.
We join Helen discovering Caribini-Green which is where the characters ashes were scattered after he was burned in a pyre.
He has become a vengeful spirit that terrorizes the area and this drives the main plot of the movie.
Tony Todd who plays the character came up with the majority of this backstory during rehearsals and this really fleshed out the racial subtext that is now a mainstay within the franchise.
The Movie Plot
In the film, Helen makes a deal with Candyman in order to spare the life of a baby. This deal requires her to incite fear amongst the residents of the area and to allow his legend to grow.
During a bonfire, Candyman appears and Helen manages to save Anothony whilst the antagonist perishes in the fire. Helen too succumbs to her wounds and the movie ends with her taking up the mantle and becoming a vengeful spirit herself.
So there is this theme of Candyman passing on his legacy to others and I’ll get into this later when we talk about how the movie could be continuing this aesthetic.
The Candyman Themes
The Candyman is pretty much driven by a need to have his legend continue. I’ve always viewed the character as a sort of Anti-Hero and in some ways, to me, he’s keeping the memory of himself alive to remind others of the darker side of humanity.
The acts that happened to Candyman were horrible and not uncommon at the time and the character has always for me served as a reminder of the dangers of prejudice.
Initially, in the source material, he killed those that doubted his existence in order to keep his name alive and this is very much repeated and built upon in the film adaptations.
Candyman is summoned by saying his name five times in a mirror and obviously nobody would want to be killed in such a brutal way so, the fact that they feel comfortable doing this shows that they don’t really believe in the character and therefore he returns.
The killings are often pinned on an innocent person who just so happened to be at the scene and thus the police never look too closely at the murders.
Candyman’s victims, on the whole, have an arrogance to them, like they are more real than the legends that circulate and the villain shows that we must not be arrogant in shutting things down and dismissing the past.
Tony Todd has likened the character to several of those in pop culture including the DC Comics Villain, Scarecrow. As both rely on fear and the allure of it he has stated there are similarities.
However, other comparisons have been drawn up and many consider Candyman to be similar to a vampire, most notably Dracula.
Dracula can appear to be a handsome man and there are facets of his personality that paint him out as a tortured artist and hopeless romantic.
Both use seduction in order to gather their victims and there are a wealth of similarities between Candyman and the myths and legend of our world.
The first film is great and I was expecting it to have aged poorly but after rewatching it recently I must say that I did enjoy it. Whilst the other entries differ in quality I definitely recommend that you go and check it out if you’re at all interested in the film.
It will get you fully up to speed with the new release and it also hints at what could be happening in that.
Candyman 2020 Trailer Breakdown
The trailer for Candyman showcases that the movie follows photographer Anthony McCoy as he begins to unearth the legend of the titular character.
Now Anthony is actually the baby Anthony from the first film all grown up and similar to how Helen became part of the legend, he may have too. The movie also features his mother played by the same actress who really hasn’t aged. Maybe she’s her own legend.
We see that the legend is alive and well and several girls in a bathroom do the hashtag Candyman challenge which ultimately leads to their death. Another girl also enters the bathroom and this continues the aesthetic that someone innocent tends to take the blame for the killings.
The movie is also set to the backdrop of the gentrification of Chicago.
Gentrification is basically a process in which a run-down neighborhood is rebuilt and repurposed through the influx of more middle-class businesses and residents.
So whilst the film is set in the same area as the first movie it does look like things in the area have changed. Anthony trying to exploit the legend of Candyman without understanding the true history of the myth could be a comment on how Gentrification exploits an area for gain without truly understanding the turmoil that went on there.
There is a lot of subtext to it that I’m sure will be fleshed out in the film and it looks like this will be laced with a lot of social commentaries.
Anthony dares several characters in the film to say his name and Anthony also holds an art exhibit that is full of mirrors and reflective surfaces.
Slowly Candyman rises but it is possible that there is a reason why he seems to become Anthony later in the trailer.
Anthony’s mother says that Candyman had a purpose for Anthony to become another one of his terrible stories.
Now as we know from Helen it is possible for people to become their own Candyman in a way and this is likely what’s happening here.
Candyman Trailer Fan Theory
However, I actually have another theory that I think lines up with the trailer.
Now it is possible that due to the gentrification of Chicago that the character has become a lot weaker.
Candyman is very much tied to the location in several ways and he is a figure that is specific to the area, thus when it is changed and remodeled his powers go with it.
Because of this, he has to strike through others and in the trailer with the girl’s scene we do see a reflection of Candyman in which he wears a similar coat to one of the girls.
The fact that he also seems to be possessing Anthony and this is shown through a mirror could show that he is instead living within him and using him as a vessel to strike others.
Anthony catches himself in a reflection and sees that the hook is indeed what his hand appears to be. We also see that his hand itself is damaged and this could be from earlier in the trailer in which he was stung by a bee.
Either way, Anthony is clearly carrying on the legend of the character through his artwork and he is spreading the news of the character, thus allowing his legend to once more re-emerge and take over the area.
Overall it’s no surprise that Candyman has lasted for decades and he’s one of the most unique Horror figures of all time. I’m very excited to see the film and I’ll be doing a full update video on the character after it releases to let you know all of the additional information that we learn on the character through the new entry.
Now obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on Candyman and if you’re excited for the new film.