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The New Trailer For Candyman Will Give You Nightmares

The original 1992 film "Candyman," adapted from Clive Barker's story "The Forbidden," was an exploration of historical racism in the United States from the era of slavery up to the present day through the lens of the North Chicago housing project Cabrini-Green.

That first movie's protagonist was Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen), and much of the fear and misunderstanding of Cabrini-Green and of Candyman (Tony Todd) himself, derives from Lyle's outsider status — both as a non-Cabrini-Green resident and as a white woman inspecting the oppression of the Black population of North Chicago. Yes, there's also a lot of death, gore, and the temptation to give into Candyman's blood vengeance, but much of the fear we experience as viewers is due to Helen Lyle's otherness with respect to the people she's exploring.

For a while, the scariest things about the new Nia DaCosta-directed "Candyman" were all the delays it endured. Originally slated for a June 12, 2020 release, "Candyman" is finally hitting theaters over a year later on August 27, 2021, and now that we've finally got a full trailer to watch, we can see just how scary this new incarnation of the classic character is going to be.

How small changes make for big scares

In the story behind the original film, Candyman is a slave who sleeps with a white woman. After, he is beaten and tortured to death by the other white members of the community. Candyman has his hand chopped off, he is covered in honey, and then the bees descend upon him. Based on the new trailer, the 2021 Candyman isn't a slave; he's just a Black man handing out candy to kids in his neighborhood. But because razorblades are found in some local candy, the police hunt Candyman down, torture him, and kill him — only for the razor blades to keep showing up in the candy.

Police killing innocent Black men isn't a new story, but the immediacy of this crime makes 2021's "Candyman" very scary. The fear is also altered because, instead of a white woman investigating the story of Candyman, it's a Black man named Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). While McCoy is still an outsider in the neighborhood, he is intrinsically more tied to the story of Candyman because he is a Black man who could easily be the victim of police violence at any time.

Gone is the Cabrini-Green of old and, in its place, is a gentrified neighborhood that seems to treat Candyman like a folk tale and not as a person who was actually killed. Given the gore we see in the trailer, there are going to be consequences for the new residents at issue in the film. Yes, the violence and the body horror we see in this "Candyman" trailer are unsettling, but it's the new context for the titular character's story — and how our protagonists relate to him — that make this trailer truly frightening.

"Candyman" hits theaters August 27.