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The racial history of Candyman comes to life in a haunting shadow puppet prelude

The series is about ‘unwilling martyrs’

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candyman shadow puppet prequel video Image: Universal Pictures
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

Candyman has a hook for a hand and bees swarm around him wherever he goes. But while his hook-handed visage has joined the ranks of horror movie icons, his backstory is more complicated than most of Hollywood’s iconic slasher villains.

In the latest look at the Candyman remake, due out later in 2020, his unsettling past is explained in a haunting puppet show.

In the original Candyman movie from 1992, adapted from a Clive Barker short story, the Candyman was once the son of a slave who became wealthy by making shoes. Before he was the Candyman, he was an artist that was accepted by white society and frequently painted portraits of wealthy families. However, when he began a relationship with a white woman, her father hired a mob to chase him from his house, cut off his hand, and smeared honey on him so bees would sting him as he was burned.

In a new prelude/trailer, shared on Twitter by the remake’s director, Nia DaCosta, this is just one of the horrifying stories that seems to be told. Except, rather than showing the stories or explaining them like the original movie, the trailer imagines each tale with paper puppets. Each of the stories plays out without any dialog, with only a haunting slow version of Philip Glass’ ”Helen’s Theme” from the original movie playing quietly in the background as each of the puppets is killed.

The trailer begins with a black man who seems to be walking back from his job at a candy factory. When police see him offer candy to children, they chase him down and beat him. Another story shows a small black boy accused of some crime by a white girl, whatever the crime, a faceless and indifferent jury sentences the child to die by the electric chair. Finally, the trailer comes to the Candyman story from the original movie.

This all adds up to a trailer that’s quiet and deeply unsettling. It’s also probably one of the most effective horror movie previews since the first trailer for Jordan Peele’s Us, which is no surprise since Peele is also an executive producer on the Candyman remake.

The new Candyman was originally set for release in Sept. 2020, however with many movies being pushed back amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the release date isn’t necessarily set in stone.

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