The new Candyman movie has released a unique new teaser video, which seems to take the origin of the horror movie killer and marry it to the larger commentary on racial injustice and violence inflicted upon black men throughout history. The video does so in unique format, with director Nia DaCosta presenting this "origin story" of sorts as an animated sequence using paper cutouts (in CGI animated form) to convey a haunting sequence. The origin of the Candyman the mythic killer is given a painful and timely new context, as a supernatural metaphor for the current Black Lives Matter movement.
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
We see the new Candyman movie protagonist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) in his art studio doing some painting. However, instead of great waves of artistic inspiration, Anthony's artwork is plagued by horrific visions of black men that have been murdered over the years. The video shows these scenes without a specific context, but those who know history will probably pick out some very real atrocities being referenced. One clear one is a sequence that seems to recreate the arrest and execution of George Stinney, the fourteen-year-old black boy who remains the youngest American sentenced to death, in 1944. Stinney had been identified as the culprit in the murder of two young white girls - only to have that conviction overturned 70 years later in 2014 when judicial review of the case deemed Stinney's conviction had been unfair.
The message that DaCosta makes with this sequence is pretty clear: in her hands, Candyman will not shy away from the themes of racism and injustice established by the original film. In fact, in the hands of a black director like DaCosta, Candyman (2020) will seemingly be an outcry about the breaking point in African-Americans' battle against racism and racially-motivated killings. This prologue sequence certainly teases that theme, by conflating real-life black slayings with the horrific death and resurrection of the Candyman entity.
Ironically enough, Nia DaCosta and co. couldn't have ever predicted the massive social revolution that would erupt after the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police - but those sorts of horrific events certainly seem to be the commentary Candyman is focused on. It could be a key factor in actually selling the movie to audiences, come September; despite any coronavirus concerns, a movie with a timely social message on racial injustice and violence may be the sort of rallying cry that pulls people back into theaters.
Candyman (2020) arrives in theaters on September 25th.
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