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Jordan Peele Confirms Candyman Reboot In The Works

With his hook for hand, he's back to terrify a new generation of audiences.

MGM Pictures is teaming up with Jordan Peele's Monkeypaw Productions for an updated take on the 1992 horror classic Candyman, based on a short story by master of terror Clive Barker. Universal will distribute the film, which is slated for a 2020 release.

According to Deadline, the new incarnation of the tale is being marketed as a spiritual sequel to the original, which took place in the crime-ridden and worn-down Cabrini-Green housing projects of Chicago. The projects are gone now, and the area thoroughly gentrified — but that doesn't mean the vengeful ghost known as Candyman has forgotten the horrors which befell him there, and it's safe to say he probably hasn't gotten any less vengeful due to the presence of upscale housing and coffee shops.

In fact, this seems like an absolutely perfect setting for a new frightfest from the mind of Peele, who explored racial tensions and the plight of black people in America to masterful effect in his breakout 2017 horror hit Get Out. Peele will co-write the script with Monkeypaw president Win Rosenfeld (a first-time scribe who is also serving as an executive producer on Peele's forthcoming Twilight Zone revival). In the director's chair will be Nia DeCosta, whose Tessa Thompson-starring drama Little Woods blew critics away at this year's Tribeca Film Festival.

While there has been no news as far as casting (including whether Tony Todd has been approached to bring his wonderfully spooky vibe back in the title role), the presence of Peele and DeCosta behind the camera seems sure to be a magnet for A-list talent. As for Peele, his obvious love for the 1992 film should be more than enough to get any horror fans' blood pumping. "The original was a landmark film for black representation in the horror genre," he said in a statement. "Alongside Night of the Living DeadCandyman was a major inspiration for me as filmmaker — and to have a bold new talent like Nia at the helm of this project is truly exciting."

MGM president Jonathan Glickman concurred, saying, "We cannot wait for the world to see what the mind-blowing combination of Jordan, Win and Nia bring to the legend of Candyman. They have created a story that will not only pay reverence to Clive Barker's haunting and brilliant source material but is also thoroughly modern and will bring in a whole new generation of fans."

While the original wasn't a box office smash to rival '80s franchises such as Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, it holds a special place in the hearts of horror aficionados. The film's ominous, off-kilter vibe was as direct a representation of Barker's twisted imagination as has ever been put to film, anchored by brilliant performances from Todd and Virginia Madsen, who portrayed a graduate student intent on unraveling the urban legend at the movie's center. The legend, of course, turned out to be all too real — the son of a former slave, Candyman (AKA Daniel Robitaille) was mutilated and murdered by a mob in the late 19th century over his love affair with a white woman. In the modern day, he would appear to anyone brave and stupid enough to utter his name in front of a mirror five times — and when he did, it wasn't for a game of Scrabble.

Peele and DeCosta's update promises to scare the pants off of fans and newcomers alike, but not for quite some time. The reboot/sequel is slated to shoot this coming spring, and Universal has pegged the film for a June 12, 2020 release date. Until then, situate yourself in front of a mirror in a nice dark room, and say it with us: Candyman... Candyman... Candyman... okay, maybe just stop there.