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"The scariest film of my youth, Candyman, is being remade and as a 90s teen I am not coping."

“Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman…”

Oh my god, my 35-year-old self literally had arm hairs standing on end even writing that and I am a whole three rooms away from a mirror.

If you’re a teen from the ’90s who dared to watch Candyman, the 1992 cult horror movie, you will know what I am referring to.

For those of you who don’t, well, look away now because once you have uttered his name, or seen his face… or hook, you will never be the same.

Watch the trailer for the Candyman remake here. Post continues below.

Video by Movieclips Trailers

Okay, I warned you.

For those of you who don’t know, the original Candyman film was inspired by an amalgamation of two urban legends – Bloody Mary and The Hookman.

There are many variations on both of these stories, but let me explain the basic premise: Bloody Mary is a ghost or spirit who appears to a person who calls her name multiple times in a darkened room while looking into a mirror.

The Hookman or The Hook is the urban legend of an escaped mental patient with a hook for a hand. Often the story will include The Hookman finding a couple being intimate in a car somewhere (usually somewhere remote). The boyfriend hears a noise and goes to investigate and then his girlfriend follows a few minutes later, only to find him dead.

Yep, it’s grim.

From these two legends, Clive Baker wrote his own story, The Forbidden, in 1987, which was then developed into the classic thriller Candyman starring Tony Todd and Virginia Virginia Madsen (and lots of bees).

Candyman poster
The film's poster.
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Which also happens to be the film I watched at a sleepover in my early high school years that has haunted me ever since.

And this is why:

It's been 20 years and I'm still scared of my bathroom mirror.

The terrifying image of the Candyman and his hook flashing behind whoever has dared to chant his name, adequately preparing them for the terror that they are about to face as he kills them with his tetanus-stricken hook has stuck with me.

Now, 20 years on, if I need to visit the bathroom at night I make it snappy. I ain't risking it.

There is no looking into the mirror, or even in its direction, no verbal reference to any sort of man or lolly, just a quick visit, a hand wash and I’m out of there.

Don’t say his name five times - just don’t!

I still vividly recall the time I was dared at a sleepover to do the ‘Candyman Challenge.’ I got to the fourth “Candyman”, lost my nerve and ran hysterically out of the bathroom before anyone else could add in the last one and conjure him from his Candyman lair.

Even now, the idea of saying his name just once sends shivers down my spine.

candyman
Tony Todd as Candyman. Image: TriStar Pictures.

I can still hear Candyman’s Voice.

His deep, baritone voice uttering “Be my victim” is the sound of nightmares. In fact, it has been the sound of many of mine. Really.

Candyman’s lair (and that big artistic mural of his face).

The decrepit, dirty lair that Candyman calls home and the utterly creepy artwork on the inside wall, although quality, is terrifying. The mural of his face, mouth wide open around a door frame metaphorically swallowing anyone who goes inside sits deep within my soul, and now every time I see ‘artistic’ graffiti I think of this and it’s disturbing.

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That bloody, dirty hook.

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Image: TriStar Pictures.

It literally drips with blood and chunks of flesh. So disgusting.

The BEES.

I’m not allergic to bees, I’m not afraid of bees, I love the Bee Movie but when there are actual bees pouring out from Candyman’s mouth (oh, and the toilet bowl) that’s when I no longer like bees so much.

Now, the film that has haunted my existence is coming back - and darker.

Horror movie extraordinaire, Jordan Peele, of Get Out and Us fame, is taking on the role of producer and writer, in a film which he and director Nia DaCosta are calling a sequel to the 1992 version.

Set to be released in June, Candyman incorporates many of the original’s disturbing themes, including the racial segregation of Chicago where the film is set, as well as the hook, the Cabrini Green Housing Project where the original film took place and the artwork of the Candyman – big mouth and all.

It will, of course, have a fresh take that echoes the style of Peele’s past work, as well as the influence of DaCosta.

But perhaps most disturbing for me after watching the film’s trailer was the decision to incorporate Destiny’s Child hit Say My Name into the soundtrack, which was a song I had once really enjoyed.

So, thanks for ruining the 90s for me again, Candyman.

Shona Hendley, Mother of Goats, Cats and Humans is a freelance writer from Victoria. An ex secondary school teacher, Shona has a strong interest in education and is a passionate animal lover and advocate. You can follow her on Instagram here.

Feature image: Supplied/Shona Hendley and TriStar Pictures.

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