Much to the delight of horror film fanatics, 2020 will see the release of Candyman. A “spiritual sequel” to the classic 1992 film of the same name, Candyman focuses on a vengeful spirit with a hook for a hand who can be summoned into existence by saying his name five times in front of a mirror. On June 17th, director Nia DaCosta dropped a new teaser clip, one that employs eerie shadow puppet animation to trace both the origins of Candyman and the legacy of racial violence and brutality in America.
DaCosta posted the two and a half minute teaser video to Twitter, accompanied by the caption: “CANDYMAN, at the intersection of white violence and black pain, is about unwilling martyrs. The people they were, the symbols we turn them into, the monsters we are told they must have been.” It’s a powerful statement that takes on new meaning as the teaser unfolds.
The clip is delivered in haunting shadow puppet styling, reminiscent of the work of Kara Walker. It opens on an artist sketching portraits of young black men and boys, then flashes to gut-wrenching depictions of racial brutality and murder committed by hostile neighbors, police officers, and judges. One of the sequences appears to recreate the arrest and execution of George Stinney, Jr., a fourteen-year-old African American child who in 1944 was convicted of murder in South Carolina and put to death by electric chair. A judge vacated Stinney's conviction in 2014. He remains the youngest American to be sentenced to death and executed by electric chair. Another sequence appears to show origins of Candyman, who was tortured and murdered by a lynch mob after having a love affair with a white woman. Watch below:
CANDYMAN, at the intersection of white violence and black pain, is about unwilling martyrs. The people they were, the symbols we turn them into, the monsters we are told they must have been. pic.twitter.com/MEwwr8umdI— Nia DaCosta (@NiaDaCosta) June 17, 2020
The clip could not be more timely; protests against police brutality in the wake of the killing of George Floyd continue across the country and the world. The clip also taps into what we know thus far about the upcoming movie: 2020’s Candyman will revolve around Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), a young black artist who has moved to a gentrified Chicago neighborhood. There, he reckons with his past, with questions of race and class, and with the intentions of Candyman himself. Yet the teaser still leaves us with more questions than answers. Will this sequence appear in the film? Do the events and murders captured in the animated clip play out in the movie with live-action actors? How does Anthony fit into Candyman’s legacy?
You’ll have to stay tuned for Candyman’s release on September 25, 2020 to find out.
Featured still from "Candyman" via Universal Pictures