'Candyman's' Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Reveals Childhood Connection to Horror Film

The Candyman legend which grew out of the 1992 movie saw a whole generation of people invoking the ghost in their bathroom mirrors. In the new Candyman, the continuation of that story manages to capture a new generation, moving the story into the 21st century.

While the first film managed to create this strange Halloween tradition, of saying his name five times into the mirror to see if he would come, the new version also speaks to particular problems which have existed for a long time, coming to the fore in recent years through the Black Lives Matter movement.

As the latest film continues in that tradition of calling on the name of Candyman, the movie's star, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, told Newsweek how this was a legend he remembered from his own childhood, though he was too young to see the movie when it actually hit cinemas.

Speaking to Newsweek, Abdul-Mateen said: "Was I a fan of Candyman? I was familiar with Candyman in the way that a lot of people are, you know. When Candyman came out in 1992 I was six or seven years old, so I don't remember seeing it in the movies.

"But I do remember being in the bathroom playing Candyman and seeing how far we could get. So Candyman meant the same thing to me that I know it means to a lot of people - it was a childhood memory that stuck with you, that sort of lasted forever.

"I remember the hook and being afraid of the coat and the bees, so it was definitely a film that had a great impression on me, for sure."

Given the legacy left by the 1992 Candyman film, Abdul-Mateen was aware of how easy it may be to remake the movie in a similar way to before.

This idea did not interest him in the slightest, and instead there had to be a real reason to revisit this world of urban legends.

Ultimately, given the previous work of Jordan Peele, the movie's co-writer and producer, as well as director and co-writer Nia DaCosta, this movie was never going to be just a straight remake of the previous classic.

Instead, a greater sense of social conscience was brought into the film, meaning it took on a new form.

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For Abdul-Mateen, the new take was important in his decision to join the cast.

He said: "It was important to me that we had a reason to be doing this film, because I think when you're repeating an IP, especially an IP that left the type of impression that Candyman did, you know, then you really have to say, 'Okay, why are we doing this? What do we want? And is it worth it?'

"And once I got into the script, but more so once I'd gotten into conversation with Jordan, conversation with Nia, and we talked about why it's important to do this film now and the opportunities and storytelling, you know, the parallels with the Candyman legend and some of the things that are going on in the world today, it really made sense in terms of a really good creative opportunity.

"But a meaningful creative opportunity really arose out of this project, and it made it easy to make the choice to say, 'Yes.'"

The parallels drawn specifically link to the racist and prejudiced treatment of the Black community, with the real-life housing project Cabrini-Green at the center of the story, as in the 1992 movie.

This time, Candyman is no longer the worst fear in the area, but the true horrors come in the form of gentrification, as well as obvious police brutality and threats.

Candyman is in movie theaters now