Horror movies centering around the experience of African-American characters have seen a new prominence in pop culture, thanks to the success of Get Out, US, and Lovecraft Country. Filmmaker Nia DaCosta is gearing up to make her own contribution to the genre with the upcoming Candyman reboot. During an interview for the Nightstream Film Festival, DaCosta weighed in on the effect that the horror genre can have on Black filmmaking
"I kind of see it two-fold, right? Like, one is like it's really great that we have this tool, I think genre is really important, especially horror. Well, not especially horror. Let's say for now, in particular, horror, for getting more people just to come see what the movie is, because people watch horror films. Then, too, really getting inside of an experience and inside of a place where they feel what the characters are feeling, at least enough to really empathize with them and to really receive the message, which I think is really important, especially when it comes to racial violence and racial trauma."
In terms of the success of Get Out, US, and Lovecraft Country, an important part of their appeal was the hard-hitting way in which they couched real-world issues of racism in a horror narrative. While Nia DaCosta acknowledged this can be a useful way of introducing discussions about racism into the mainstream narrative, she added that the next step for the film industry should be to introduce such topics into other genres of cinema as well:
"The other side of it is also like, those are the movies that they're letting us make. You know? Like, especially after Get Out. Like, even then, the risk with Get Out was five million dollars for Blumhouse? Which is not a huge budget for any movie, and that made 200 million dollars. And so now, people are starting to invest a little more because this very specific type of film seems to be what people want to see. What people want to see is something new, which is what Get Out gave us, and very successfully did. So I think on the one hand, it's very exciting and it is very useful, it's a great tool. This is my first studio film and it gave me an opportunity to make a movie, but I also think we need to get some different types of ways to talk about really important things like racial terror."
Directed by Nia DaCosta from a script by Jordan Peele, Win Rosenfeld, and DaCosta, Candyman tells the tale of a young visual artist named Anthony McCoy, who comes to live in the Cabrini Green neighborhood of Chicago, where he encounters the legend of the supernatural serial killer known as Candyman. In his efforts to exploit the legend for his art, McCoy finds his own life slowly and inextricably getting linked with the mythical killer.
The movie features Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo, Vanessa A. Williams, Rebecca Spence, Cassie Kramer, and Tony Todd. Candyman arrives in theaters on August 27, 2021. This news originated at /film.