‘Candyman’ Director Nia DaCosta and Jordan Peele Get Cryptic About the Terrifying Trailer

If you grew up in the ’90s then you know how terrifying 1992’s Candyman was. One of the main things we can remember about the film is that you never ever say Candyman’s name five times in a row. Now, our modern-day master of horror Jordan Peele has teamed up with director Nia DaCosta to bring Candyman into the 21st century.

In the original film, graduate students Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) and Anne-Marie McCoy (Vanessa Williams) begin doing research about the Cabrini Green Housing project in Chicago. They discover the tale of the Candyman (Tony Todd), a hook-wielding madman who might be responsible for some recent murders. Soon, Helen begins to believe Candyman is stalking her.

Of course, Peele and DaCosta had to put a new spin on the film for the 2020 version. “My connection with Candyman is pretty simple,” Peele, who produces the film, explained. “It’s 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. It was an iconic example of representation in the genre and a movie that inspired me. We have a reimagining of that story.”

Inside 2020’s ‘Candyman’

Set in the now-gentrified section of Chicago where the Cabrini-Green housing projects once stood — the 21st century Candyman stars, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Colman Domingo, Nathan Stewart-Jarret and Aunjanue Ellis.

“What we were able to do, because of the years that have past…was dig into the themes that are already there,” DaCosta explained. “In the original film, they are talking about the new buildings that are being able to be built and the way products are built…and how crime was able to happen because of how poorly those buildings were made verus. the high rises that they made for the middle class. Also just the fun of the original film, that’s was a huge part of what we wanted to bring back. It’s great to talk about these things, but it’s a horror film after all. We also want to do what the original film did which was [to] be audacious and fun, but also meaningful.”

The official description reads

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 (Mateen) and his girlfriend, gallery director Brianna Cartwright (Parris), 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 (Domingo) 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 terrifyingly viral wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.

On gentrification and gore in ‘Candyman’

“Gentrification in our film is what helped us to reimagine the story, because Cabrini Green is gone,” DaCosta said. “The movie in the ’90s has a vision of Cabrini-Green where its on its way to being knocked down. So going back there and seeing what’s happened around there…there is an ArcLight close to where Cabrini-Green used to be. There is a lot of development in that area [because] Cabrini-Green has been torn down, but Cabrini-Green itself has kind of been left untouched. What we do in our film is talk about the ghosts that are left behind…and that’s how we find our way into our reimagining of Candyman.”

Tony Todd might appear in 2020’s ‘Candyman’

Though she did not give a definitive answer, DaCosta did hint at a possible return for Tony Todd. “I really love Tony Todd and he’s iconic. I will say what we’ve done with this film is….great,” she said slyly. “Tony’s great. Jordan’s great. And I don’t want to give anything away.”