Jordan Peele’s Candyman will tackle the hot topic of toxic fandom. For many horror fans, news that the low budget 1992 hit film Candyman was going to be remade was exciting stuff, particularly because Oscar-winning writer/director Jordan Peele will be producing it through his Monkeypaw banner.
The original Clive Barker film was set in the present day (or at least it was at the time of the film’s release), as grad student Helen begins exploring local myths and legends for a research paper she's writing. Skeptical about the reality of a killer called The Candyman - a former slave with a hook for a hand who was lynched for his relationship with a white woman centuries before - the student unwittingly summons him by using the mythological spell of repeating the word “Candyman” five times into a mirror. Though the original film found decent success with horror fans, the two sequels that followed soon afterward were unable to hit the same mark.
Now, some 20 years after the last sequel was released, Jordan Peele is busy at work helping to build a new take on the original cult hit. It’s still too early to know exactly what sort of angle this rebooted Candyman will take, but Deadline has just offered some insightful information as to what Peele intends to do. Creative Director of Monkeypaw, Ian Cooper, has stated that the reboot will deal with toxic fandom and how problematic the issue has become in recent years. Said Cooper:
“We talk a lot about fans and the idea of appeasing fans and when you do that and how do you do that and when do you not do that. I think my issue with fandom is that it’s really problematic. It’s probably the most problematic thing facing the genre. It typically comes with a dogma that is abrasive and that is more resistant to change and permutation than you would think. I think what we’re trying to do with Candyman is both be mischievous in how we address the relationship to the first film, but also be very satisfying.”
The idea of toxic fandom has certainly gained attention from the film industry and its creatives in recent years, but it’s also been a prominent topic amongst the general population as well. Regardless of the genre - be it Ghostbusters, Star Wars or even Pirates of the Caribbean, fans have often taken concrete stands once they feel that their favorite films or franchises are under attack. The concept has gotten so extreme that some stars have been the target of relentless trolling and verbal attacks. It’s unclear how Peele aims to segue this concept into a horror story about a murderous one-armed man with a hook for a hand, but Peele’s true skill quite often lies in introducing seemingly disparate themes to his gripping plots.
It’s wonderful to see someone as accomplished as Peele interested in mirroring a concept that has, quite frankly, been permitted to thrive for far too long. Cinema exists to entertain, and those who insist on treating the film industry as their own personal channel that can or should be changed whenever they disagree with the content have entirely missed the point. If one of the most prominent (and rising) voices in Hollywood can take on the subject - as Peele is apparently doing with his Candyman reboot – then hopefully the ongoing process of eliminating the fear that toxic fans attempt to wield can continue to be minimized.