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'Candyman' director Nia DaCosta says Juneteenth relates to horror film

Candyman director Nia DaCosta released a new interview discussing Juneteenth. File Photo by Alba Vigaray/EPA-EFE
"Candyman" director Nia DaCosta released a new interview discussing Juneteenth. File Photo by Alba Vigaray/EPA-EFE

June 18 (UPI) -- Universal shared a new interview with Candyman director Nia DaCosta on Friday in which he discusses the horror film's connection to the Juneteenth holiday.

"In one way, it's a celebration of life, of freedom, of possibility," DaCosta said. "On the other side, it's incredibly difficult, and there's a lot of pain."

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Juneteenth is the commemoration of June 19, 1865, when Texas declared an end to slavery. President Joe Biden declared Juneteenth a federal holiday on Thursday.

Candyman is based on the 1992 movie, which in turn was based on a Clive Barker story about a man (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who moves to Cabrini-Green, the Chicago neighborhood from the original film.

In Cabrini-Green, neighbors would say the name Candyman five times in the mirror. Candyman, a killer with a hook, would appear.

The backstory of Candyman is that he was a slave murdered for a relationship with a White woman. DaCosta said Candyman becoming a legendary killer in modern-day times spoke to civil rights struggles throughout generations.

"In the real world, we create monsters of men all the time," DaCosta said. "People are murdered, they become either saints or they're vilified."

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Tony Todd played Candyman in the original and two sequels. Todd is in DaCosta's film, too. DaCosta co-wrote the script with producers Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld.

Candyman was originally scheduled for release in 2020, but Universal postponed it during the COVID-19 pandemic. The film is now set to open in theaters Aug. 27.

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