In 2018, it was announced that Jordan Peele would direct a new installment of the Candyman film series.

Set to be a sequel and reboot of the original 1992 cult horror film, it promises to follow up not just on the fear factor but also on the grim reality of injustice the titular character was based on.

Many urban legends have grown from real events.

The Bloody Mary, the La Llorona, and the quintessential Hook Handed Killer were all based in some form of reality in the past. That goes for the modern horror leaders as well. But Candyman is special.

Though initially based on a Clive Barker short story’s un-detailed character, the Candyman has become an iconic horror spirit for the Black, urban demographic.

He represents horror not just to an unsuspecting protagonist but to a race of people through his historical creation.

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10 Two Faces Of Inspiration

The Candyman monster first appeared in a Clive Barker short story. The renowned horror author, a creator of many monsters that have come to screen over the years, and director of some classic cult horror adaptations, published a short story titled “The Forbidden.”

The monster’s nature was that merely denying its existence would summon it, and it appeared as a waxen-skinned man of indeterminate race or character who smelled like candy and had a nasty hook for a hand.

9 From Book To Screen

The roots which gave the Candyman his racially significant tones came from the actor, Tony Todd. He was cast in the titular role as the eponymous monstrous figure, despite the mismatched racial traits, and created a good reason.

He combined the history of oppression and indiscriminate horrors committed against black men in the post Civil War segregationist period with the killer’s urban mythos who is summoned from a mirror.



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8 Cabrini-Green Horror House

The Cabrini-Green housing project, which was torn down in 2001, was the place the film took place in and was filmed in.

At the time of filming, an all-black housing complex that was in a part of Chicago so full of crime that the filmmakers had to sign deals with the gangs, not the police, for protection.

The poverty of the area led to corruption, endemic of the racially segregated past that persisted in culture.

7 The Medicine-Cabinet Killer

Years prior, the housing project was the site of numerous murders. In 1981 alone, there were 37 shooting deaths by March.

One famous incident helped inspire the gruesome scenes of the film. Ruthie Mae McCoy, a poor older woman, committed previously, was found dead in her apartment after gunshots were reported.

A killer had come through her wall, from behind the mirror of her bathroom medicine cabinet, and killed her before leaving.

6 Reflections From The Past

Tony Todd, the actor who portrayed Candyman in the primary and subsequent films, gave his insight to the character, which gave it life beyond the Clive Barker origin.

He formulated a backstory that added tragedy to his story and weight to his actions. He was once Daniel Robitaille, the son of a former slave, who had an affair with a married white woman in segregation days.

He was lynched for his crime, his right hand cut off and his body slathered in honey so that bees, which he was allergic to, would sting him to death.

5 Civil War Enactments

The torment that turned him into the ruthless Candyman killer, while not reflective of a single real-life event, was reflective of the times’ unfortunate reality. Lynchings, mob-led murders of Black men under racial motivations, were real.

They were killed for how they looked or who their parents were. The stings of those horrors are still felt today in many Black communities and cultures.

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4 Monster In The Mirror

Everyone has heard of the legend of Bloody Mary. The ritual for summoning Candyman is very similar to say the name in front of a mirror until he appears.

In the movie, the legend is real, and those who doubt it are killed fastest. There is no ghost of a dead French queen in the real world that comes through the mirror, but there is an explanation as to how the legends began.

3 How Mirrors Can Scare

Firstly, there is the real-life incident of a man coming through the wall to kill a woman in the Cabrini-Green, but that’s too literal.

The real root is in psychology. Staring into a mirror in the dark produces hallucinations and other psychedelic effects.

This can be enhanced with low lighting or unnatural colored lighting. These legends have been around for as long as we’ve had mirrors.

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2 The Real Monster Within

There is something to be said about Candyman’s premise of horror. He will visit those who speak about him, and those who don’t believe in him will surely die.

As Tony Todd and Bernard Rose encapsulated the dread of living in such dangerous places, calling from the real-life murder in her home, they also invoke much more persistent anxiety. Fear of a monster we all know.

1 The Takeaway

Racism is still active today, in and out of such communities. It is something that comes whenever it’s spoken of, and those who don’t believe in it will be face to face with it sooner than they expect.

The Candyman monster may be a newer creation, its most famous iteration starting from the 1992 film, but it represents a much more significant threat.

Clive Barker may have never intended it to blossom that way, but the horror of racism is everywhere and can reach anyone, even through mirrors.

The new film is set to come out in 2021 and will revive the monster in a very pressing time. Remembering the past and acknowledging why it happened is what the film and character try to teach. Don’t pretend it isn’t real, or the Candyman will make you believe…

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