Taking place almost thirty years after the original candy man was released, Candy Man (2021) finds young artist Anthony McCoy prowling the old grounds of Cabrini-Green, once the urban kingdom of Candyman, the legendary bogeyman that could be summoned by reciting his name five times into a mirror. Forgotten and silenced, Candyman’s name no longer holds power, until Anthony’s investigations renew interest in his tale.
Candy Man (2021) pays homage to the original candy man released in 1992 with distinct references, while also broadening the scope of the movie’s themes through its own creative license. Nia DaCosta’s take on Bernard Rose’s showcase of the racism, classism, and gentrification faced by people of color in urban America is bold and unique, but it never forgets the legend that makes it all possible by including these special details.
10 The Production Company Logos Are Reversed
At the very beginning of the movie, the logos of the various production companies involved are backward, which might cause some fans to believe there’s something wrong with the film. The logos have been intentionally positioned that way to resemble how they’d appear in a mirror.
As the camera pans over a long series of skyscrapers in the mist, the shots also “mirror” the view of skyscrapers seen in the original movie, this time from below instead of overhead.
9 Anthony’s Fate Is Foreshadowed
Anthony’s ultimate fate is foreshadowed early on in one of the many reflective surfaces that seem to dominate the movie, a literal representation of how Candyman’s backstory is expanding beyond simple bathroom mirrors. In the first half-hour, Brianna and Anthony share a tender moment in their apartment, hoping to reconnect as the fissures in their relationship have begun to amplify due to the stress of her gallery work and his burgeoning art career.
Anthony has been investigating Candyman’s legend and recites his name five times. Behind them, somewhat obscured in the reflection of the window, Candyman (coat and all) looms over them. He’s standing where Anthony should be, indicating that Anthony will eventually become part of the legend himself.
8 Candyman Is Everywhere
In previous Candyman movies, mirrors were specifically used as entryways for the vengeful spirit, but in the latest contribution to the franchise, he appears in all sorts of different reflective surfaces. Just past the first half-hour, Brianna awakens after a particularly disturbing dream about her father, and Candyman can be glimpsed watching her from their bedroom mirror (a visual clue that she’s in a dream within a dream and must wake up again).
Halfway through the movie, when Anthony has a vision of seeing himself as Candyman in the hallway mirror of the art critic’s apartment, he’s jolted back into reality when she asks his name. As viewers view her through the very same mirror, they can just make out Candyman’s silhouette hugging the doorway, just before he slinks into the hallway.
7 William Is Reading A Clive Barker Novel
The original Candyman movie was based on a short story written in 1985 by horror writer Clive Barker called “The Forbidden”, about a hook-handed poltergeist covered in bees. Though Barker didn’t direct the movie himself, he was responsible for creating and directing Hellraiser.
When Anthony McCoy goes to find William Burke at the laundromat and discuss Candyman’s legend, he finds him reading “Weaveworld”, a fantasy novel by Barker about a tapestry that conceals a portal between two worlds.
6 Anthony’s Eyes Evoke The Original Movie Poster
When Anthony is stung by a bee when visiting the old site of Cabrini-Green, it’s more than a simple reference to Candyman’s totems. The sting serves as a point of infection, where the influence of Candyman can spread throughout Anthony’s body. As the camera highlights close-ups of Anthony’s eye, viewers can see it grow a deep red, with a black shape at the edge of his iris.
This provocative imagery not only serves to make it a satisfying sequel to the 1992 movie, but representative of its original movie poster, depicting a close-up of Helen’s eyes, a deep crimson, with the black silhouette of Candyman representing its iris.
5 Anthony McCoy’s Name Is Said Five Times
To invoke the spirit of Candyman, his name must be repeated five times into a mirror. Only then can he materialize in the mortal plane, and kill whoever has summoned him (or anyone in their immediate vicinity). Listening carefully, viewers will find that Anthony McCoy’s name is said five times throughout the movie.
It’s said by the gallerist, the art critic, the local news reporter, William Burke, and finally by his girlfriend, Brianna. At every turn, he’s invoked just like Candyman, culminating when he becomes the newest entrant into the legend’s hive itself.
4 The Art Critic’s Blood Makes A Curious Pattern
The striking and compelling cinematography used throughout the movie is both beautiful to look at and incredibly unsettling. One unforgettable use of innovative technique occurs when the art critic gets killed, and the camera pans back to expose the grisly crime being committed in her apartment while the rest of her complex watches television.
As the spirit of Candyman drags her body across the window in one of the movie’s most gruesome kills, her blood makes a single red stroke. This stroke mirrors the same stroke Anthony made when he put paint to canvas and began his Candyman pieces.
3 William Abducts Brianna (With Candyman’s Help)
A little over an hour into the movie, Brianna goes to the laundromat to find William Burke and find out what has happened to Anthony. As she enters and closes the door of the office, eagle-eyed fans will be able to spot Candyman’s reflection on the surface of the window as the door shuts.
Viewers watch through the office window as Burke abducts Brianna, her arms clawing at the glass as she’s dragged offscreen. Candyman’s shape can again be glimpsed seemingly overseeing the handiwork of his disciple, aiding Burke with his task of prolonging the legend.
2 Anthony’s Scars Look Like Honeycomb
After Anthony gets stung by the bee outside Cabrini-Green, the bee sting becomes a festering wound. Over the next several days it becomes much more than a small bump and eventually causes his flesh to necrotize as it works its way up his hand and to his elbow, eventually covering over that half of his body.
When Brianna sees him again while he’s restrained by William Burke, the sting has affected huge parts of his body. For fans that can stand looking at the wound up close, they’ll see that the holes in his body look suspiciously like a honeycomb. Bees are also often viewed as a symbol of new life, so Anthony’s transformation into the next Candyman can be seen as his rebirth into another plane of existence.
1 The Cop Isn’t The Person Who Summoned Candyman
When Brianna prepares to summon Candyman from the backseat of the squad car, allowing the police officer charged with watching her to recite the spirit’s name for the fifth and fatal time, viewers are led to believe that she’s found a loophole in the legend.
If they remember from the last time she saw Anthony before leaving their apartment, she said Candyman once into the mirror before Anthony smashed it, refusing to allow her to summon him at the time. By reciting his name four more times into the mirror in the squad car, he returns, but this time as an avenging protector who is aware of who she is.
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10 Hidden Details Fans Completely Missed