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Why Jordan Peele’s Candyman Has The Potential To ‘Heal’ Audiences, According To One Star

The horror genre has been in a thrilling renaissance over the past few years, in part due to the acclaimed work of filmmaker Jordan Peele. His movies Get Out and Us have found a way to blend social issues and scares, and horror fans were thrilled to learn he’d be producing the new Candyman movie. And actress Vanessa Estelle Williams recently explained why this new installment has the potential to help heal audiences.

Actress Vanessa Estelle Williams iconically played the role of Anne-Marie McCoy in the original 1992 Candyman movie. She’s set to appear in the new sequel directed by Nia DaCosta and produced by none other than Jordan Peele. I had the privilege of chatting with Williams ahead of Candyman’s release, as you can see in the video above. She spoke to the relevance of the franchise’s themes, saying:

Jordan Peele talks about how Candyman is this eternal dance between the monster and the victim. And so in Candyman particularly, that takes place in the racial history of this country. And so it’s true. And it really addresses in an artistic way, in this genre where we can talk about horrors. It gives us a framework to talk about the central theme of it being so horrifying- the racial violence against Black people. And so it has all of those ingredients that is the fabric of our country.

While the title character is a hooked killer who mows down victims in the original Candyman movie, the mythology of the villain is tragic. Tony Todd’s signature character was a victim of racial violence, being mutilated, tortured, and eventually killed for impregnating a White woman. While Jordan Peele’s new movie tells a very different story, that dark history and the historical violence against Black people is ultimately at the core of the beloved franchise.

Vanessa Estelle Williams in Candyman's trailer

In addition to featuring a villain who was the victim of lynching, the new Candyman movie also addresses gentrification in Chicago’s historic Cabrini-Green. And this new sequel makes history for the franchise because it stars Black characters, and features Black talent behind the camera as well. It’s this distinction that Vanessa Estelle Williams made during our conversation, offering a way for this new horror installment to heal audiences. She continued,

And what makes this so powerful and poignant is it's finally being reframed, the narrative being reframed by the people who were victimized. And so the impact of that is to have the ability to heal.

As Vanessa Estelle Williams mentions, there is a ton of outstanding talent behind telling this new narrative in Candyman. As previously mentioned, The Marvels director Nia DaCosta directed the highly anticipated project, with Jordan Peele producing. The cast is full of killer actors, including recent Emmy winner Yahya Abdul-Mateen, WandaVision’s Teyonah Parris, and Colman Domingo.

Candyman will arrive in theaters on August 27th. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.