Today, on Juneteenth, Universal Pictures shared a video of Candyman director/co-writer Nia DaCosta discussing the meaning of the holiday, and how it ties to her experience making the upcoming horror film. “Especially last year, I was thinking a lot about the duality of the Black experience in America. At once, it’s a place of this great hope, which I think Juneteenth represents in one way. It’s a celebration of us, of life, of freedom, of possibility,” she says as clips from the film begin to play. “On the other side, it’s incredibly difficult and there’s a lot of pain. And they kind of walk hand-in-hand.” DaCosta says that 2019 was a powerful time to film this thoughtful reimagining of the 1992 cult classic, and explains what made the story resonate. “The thing that I always came back to was the truth of the pain of the story that was at the center of Candyman. In the real world, we create monsters of men all the time. People are murdered. They become either saints or they’re vilified.”
She adds, “Horror is a really effective tool when it comes to telling stories about things that impact us on a social level. The right function of it is to make you uncomfortable. And if that discomfort is attached to explorations of race or gender, you have to then reconcile your feelings about race and gender.” DaCosta finishes the video by saying the film is about community, right down to her insisting it be watched communally. “Horror’s just better in a room full of people that are just freaking out.” We can’t wait to freak out in theaters on August 27, when Candyman premieres.