“Candyman” stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who also had roles in HBO’s “Watchmen” and Jordan Peele’s “Us.”

 

A NEW HORROR FILM from Jordan Peele weaves the contemporary art world and Chicago gentrification with an urban legend about a supernatural killer with a hook for a hand. According to the legend, if you say Candyman five times while looking in the mirror, he appears in the reflection and kills you.

Based on Clive Barker’s short story The Forbidden, “Candyman” is a “spiritual sequel” that reimagines the original film made in 1992. Peele co-wrote and co-produced the movie and Nia DaCosta (“Little Woods”) is directing. The trailer for “Candyman” was released yesterday. The film debuts in theaters June 12.

A painter named Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II: “Watchmen,” “Us”) is at the center of the narrative. He moves with his girlfriend, gallery director Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris: “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “The Photograph”) into a luxury loft in an old candy factory near the Cabrini-Green public housing projects.

Curious about decades-old cult rumors about Candyman, and seeking to energize his stalling career, Anthony dedicates a new body of work to the legend. “I’m hoping to spread the story all about Candyman,” he says. The project threatens his own sanity and awakens fear and a new wave of terror in the neighborhood.

The original film starred Tony Todd and Virginia Madsen and featured Kasi Lemmons (now a director) and Vanessa A. Williams. Todd reportedly returns for the new movie and Williams also makes an appearance. Two other sequels were made in 1995 and 1999, the latter going straight to video.

Peele is the mastermind behind two astounding social thrillers: “Get Out” and “Us.” Following those innovative films, expectations are high for his take on “Candyman.” In the 1990s, it was a rare but problematic film exploring the black experience in the horror genre. The fourth iteration is the first time black filmmakers are interpreting the story.

In the 1990s, “Candyman” was a rare film exploring the black experience in the horror genre. The fourth iteration is the first time black filmmakers are interpreting the story.


Trailer: Directed by Nia DaCosta, “Candyman,” the latest horror film from Jordan Peale, hits theaters June 12, 2020. | Video by Universal Pictures

 

CABRINI-GREEN is a prominent character in the film. Built in the 1940s, the public housing community became a symbol of crime, poverty, and government failure, but it was also home to 20,000 people.

Across the country, cities were addressing the concentration of poverty in public housing. In Chicago, a “civic remodeling” plan was designed to make way for mix-income housing and high-priced development. Cabrini-Green residents were dispersed throughout the city with vouchers to be used for rentals on the private market.

The community’s high rises were demolished in 2011. The row houses still remain. Families live in some. Others are boarded up, adding a haunting presence to the historic site that appealed to the filmmakers, Peele in particular.

The Chicago Housing Authority gave permission for filming on the grounds of Cabrini-Green. The arrangement was conditioned on residents being contractually hired as extras, according to WBEZ Chicago. Fencing surrounding the vacant houses was removed during production and put back in place when filming wrapped.

Describing “Candyman,” Location Manager Nick Rafferty, told the Chicago public radio station: “It’s about gentrification. It’s about the class and cultural divide. It’s also about the art community. It’s about what it means to be a millennial. It’s about the juxtaposition between rich and poor and how capitalism drives wedges through communities left and right.” CT

 

TOP IMAGE: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Anthony McCoy in “Candyman.” Film Still. | Photo: Monkeypaw Productions/Universal Pictures

 

FIND MORE about director Nia DaCosta

READ MORE about the fate of Cabrini-Green and its residents in a New York Times article by Ben Austen, author of a book on the subject

 

BOOKSHELF
“High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing,” a recently published book by Ben Austen, “braids personal narratives, city politics, and national history to tell the timely and epic story of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green, America’s most iconic public housing project.” Other volumes also reflect on the community, including David T. Whitaker’s “Cabrini-Green in Words and Pictures” and “There Are No Children Here” by Alex Kotlowitz. More recently, Kotlowitz published “An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago.”

 

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