Candyman: 10 Most Significant Differences Between The 1992 & 2021 Movies – CBR – Comic Book Resources

January 15, 2022
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With the inescapable passage of time, a lot of things unsurprisingly changed in Candyman’s world. These differences really drove home the tragedy.
After almost 30 years, Candyman returned to the big screens with a legacy sequel of the same name. Despite its vague trailers and some fans’ concerns, the new Candyman was actually the canon sequel to the movies that came before.
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With the inescapable passage of time, a lot of things unsurprisingly changed in the story’s world. That being said, the more things change, the more others stay the same, as these differences only drove Candyman’s tragedy further in.
The only thing more synonymous to Candyman besides Tony Todd were the Cabrini-Green Homes. Formerly found in Chicago, the infamous housing projects were Candyman‘s main setting. Additionally, they served as Candyman‘s unsubtle commentary and visualization of the income inequality between communities.
Cabrini-Green used to primarily house disenfranchised Black Americans and, as Burke summarized in 2021, their shared grief about ongoing racial injustices. Just as in real life, the projects were demolished in 2011, but its history of pain and prejudice continued to haunt the characters.
One of the most important characters of the original Candyman was Anne-Marie. Anne-Marie is a resident of Cabrini-Green and the young mother of the baby that Candyman abducted. Like everybody living in Cabrini-Green at the time, Anne-Marie was aware of the Candyman myth but considered it just a spooky tale.
Anne-Marie finally believed in Candyman when she was dragged into his story, specifically when Candyman kidnapped her infant son. In the 2021 movie, Anne-Marie was now a firm believer in Candyman’s power. She, and everyone who witnessed him burn in the bonfire, swore to never utter his name again to put an end to his terror.
Anthony was just a baby during the events of the first Candyman and barely remembered his first encounter with the Candyman. Originally, Candyman planned to reignite belief in his myth by burning himself, Helen and Anthony in the resident’s annual pyre. Helen died saving Anthony, but all she did was delay the inevitable.
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Anthony grew up to be a famous artist who lived away from the poverty of Cabrini-Green. Despite having no recollection of his direct connections to the projects’ mythic figure, he was always destined to return to the Candyman. In the end, Anthony didn’t just return to his childhood home, but he also became the next Candyman in death.
The original 1992 Candyman ended with Helen dying to save Anthony, only for her to return as the new spectral hooked killer. The implication was that Helen was the new Candyman, and it was her turn to kill to keep her story alive. Instead, the next two Candyman movies ignored Helen inheriting Candyman’s mantle and shifted focus back to him.
The newest Candyman rectified this by revealing that Helen wasn’t forgotten, since she became an urban myth. According to the new tales, Helen went mad while investigating Candyman, almost burned Anthony at the pyre and then killed herself. Though Helen’s heroism was unfortunately forgotten, Candyman’s promise of immortality was fulfilled.
According to the legends passed through word of mouth, Candyman would go on a killing spree whenever someone summoned him by saying his name to a mirror five times. The legend stayed the same in 2021’s Candyman, but with a twist. In brief, anyone aware of Candyman could “make” him.
Burke jammed a hook into a possessed Anthony’s stump when Anthony was under Candyman’s influence. Burke hastened the corruption, hoping to turn Anthony into a figure of vengeance against modern racial injustices rather than generational suffering. Additionally, it was Burke who introduced Anthony to Candyman’s story.
In the original trilogy, Candyman was a consistent character. Despite the occasional retcon (like what keeps Candyman alive), Candyman was always the vengeful ghost of Daniel Robitaille. Daniel was a victim of a lynching from the 1890s. Daniel’s haunting legacy continued in the new Candyman, but in a deeper way.
While Daniel was the original Candyman, he expanded into a hive mind comprised of the victims of racism. As long as racially motivated violence continues, Candyman will live on.
With the revelation of Candyman being a collection of victims’ restless spirits comes new subtext to his character and legacy. Previously, Candyman was tied specifically to America’s racist past and the systemic prejudices of Cabrini-Green.
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Candyman being a symbol of Black generational suffering was always present, but this was updated in 2021. As Burke and the shadow puppet montages showed, real life victims of hate crimes from the not too distant past became Candymen. Similarly, Anthony’s murder mirrored recent acts of police brutality, finalizing Candyman’s arrival in modern times.
Originally, the Candyman movies revolved around Daniel Robitaille’s undying legend. Back in the 1890s, Daniel was an affluent painter who was lynched by racists when his relationship with a white woman was exposed. He then came back as a vengeful spirit who killed to maintain his myth, often targeting or tempting his descendants.
When the new Candyman revealed that Candyman was a collective, he stopped being a grim reminder of Daniel’s story. Now, he was a supernatural force who embodied the anger and despair that the victims of modern racial injustices felt. Candyman still killed to keep his legacy alive, but he broadened his purpose and victims beyond Daniel’s history.
As a living urban legend, Candyman lives and dies by his reputation. The more people knew of his myth and feared him, the more powerful and tangible Candyman was. However, in his latest Candyman‘s beginning, Candyman was reduced to a bad memory with inconsistent specifics. This wasn’t a plot hole, but the first three movie’s logical endpoint.
In 1992, Candyman’s rampage was deliberately blamed on Helen, thus temporarily ending his myth. Farewell To The Flesh and Day Of The Dead ended with artifacts linked to Candyman being destroyed, further weakening him. After being a mostly unseen presence, Candyman reclaimed his mantle in 2021 and made sure that his tale would be retold anew.
Before he came back to life, Candyman always died at the end of his movies. In fact, 2021’s Candyman was all about reviving his legend. He’d been all but forgotten and lost to time after he was killed on three separate occasions. This time around, Candyman didn’t just come back to life, but he secured his first truly decisive victory.
It took Candyman the entirety of Candyman to assume full control of his new host body. But, Candyman’s influence on Anthony, Brianna, Burke and everyone else in 2021 was inescapable and inevitable. Not only did Candyman restore his mythic fear in the end, but he also finished what he set out to do all the way back in 1992.
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CBR Staff Writer Angelo Delos Trinos’ professional writing career may have only started a few years ago, but he’s been writing and overthinking about anime, comics and movies for his whole life. He probably watched Neon Genesis Evangelion way too much, and he still misses video stores. Follow him at @AD3ofc on Twitter, or email him at delos3nos1992@gmail.com.

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