The early 1990s were not a great time in the horror genre as the big slasher franchises had mostly run their course and the new teenage wave starting with Scream were still a few years away. Arguably, the biggest film to come from this barren time is 1992's Candyman, a smart and socially relevant tale with more heft than your later Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th installments.
Candyman is probably the film that scared the shit out of me most during my formative years, having watched it as a 10- or 11-year-old during a sleepover. That night was filled with stupid boys standing in a dark bathroom daring each other to say “Candyman” five times, partially knowing that it was based on a movie that can’t possible be real but with no one really willing to risk being wrong about that.
After the original, Tony Todd and his iconic villain appeared in two more films, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh and Candyman: Day of the Dead, only the first of which I saw in theaters and couldn’t tell you anything about but both apparently never grasp the heights of the first, though both have their proponents on social media. But after 1999, Candyman turned into a swarm of bees and flew away, even if Tony Todd parlayed his iconic role into steady work for the next twenty years, mostly in stuff I haven’t heard of.
Until this year, that is. Todd and the Candyman legacy are back, shepherded and co-written by Jordan Peele and directed by Nia DaCosta of the acclaimed Little Woods, 2020's Candyman is said to be a spiritual successor to the original film, which hopefully means scary as shit without pulling punches about the still-relevant hardships of poverty stricken minorities and their place in the world, specifically Chicago. Even though it’s been a while since I’ve seen the original, it is a film that lingers in your brain long after. Here’s to hoping the new one will as well.
Candyman is expected in theaters June 12.