When director Nia DaCosta was in middle school, a student dared her to say the name “Candyman” in a mirror five times. The same thing happened to me in grade school, and probably thousands of others, too. But the difference between me and DaCosta (besides her being a talented filmmaker and I’m… a blogger, a fate worse than anything Candyman could come up with) is that I wasn’t ask to direct a “spiritual sequel” to the defining 1990s horror movie, and co-write the script with Oscar winner Jordan Peele.
As part of the Candyman trailer launch, featuring a slow-downed version of Destiny Child’s “Say My Name,” Peele and DaCosta discussed how much the original film meant to them, and their differences in horror movie philosophy. “I really love gore,” she said. “What’s fun about working with Jordan is our horror aesthetics are different. Jordan is really brilliant at not showing everything. My instinct is to do the exact opposite.”
Peele called Bernard Rose’s original Candyman “one of the few movies that explored any aspect of the black experience in the horror genre in the ’90s, when I was growing up” and an “iconic example of representation in the genre, and a movie that inspired me.” As for the Candyman himself, actor Tony Todd, DaCosta declined to confirm if he’s in the film (Cabrini-Green is gone). “I really love Tony Todd,” she said. “He’s iconic. And I will say what we’ve done in this film is great… and I don’t want to give anything away.” For what it’s worth, Todd has previously said he has an “applause-worthy” moment in it.
We’ll find out when Candyman is released on June 12.