Things You Didn’t Know About The ‘Candyman’ Franchise

September 5, 2021

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email:

Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman…Don’t worry, we’re not going to say it. The franchise that stars Tony Todd as the titular legendary character has been popular since the original film debuted back in 1992, with the latest installment (review), simply titled Candyman, opening in theaters this past August.
We’ve put together a list of ten interesting facts about the franchise that you may not of known.
The original film centers on Helen (Virginia Madsen) who is writing her thesis on the legend of the Candyman, a killer that will come after you if you say his name five times in a mirror. Helen makes the mistake of calling Candyman and she pays the ultimate price.
The original film is based on a short story titled “The Forbidden” written by Clive Barker. The story was originally published in the magazine Fantasy Tales in 1986. There are several things that are different between the story and the film with the biggest being that in the story he was white with long blonde hair. The character also didn’t have much of a backstory. In the movie, Candyman was a victim of lynching because he fell in love with his master’s daughter and got her pregnant. Todd helped to create the character’s backstory. The Forbidden is also set in a different location, Liverpool. But the film is set in Chicago.
Candyman (1992) brought in $25 million on an $8 million budget making it a big success.
Tony Todd was not the original choice for Candyman. While we could imagine anyone else playing the role, Eddy Murphy was the filmmaker’s first choice, but the actor’s fee was too high. Thank god that didn’t happen. Could you imagine Murphy as Candyman?
Madsen was originally cast to play Helen’s friend. During production, it was decided the friend would be better played by an African American actress, so Kasi Lemmons was cast and Madsen was given the lead role and replacing the original star who had just learned she was pregnant. The next choice was Sandra Bulluck. It all worked out in the end.
Every horror icon has its gimmick, Jason has his mask, Freddy has his glove, and Candyman has his hook. It only took around three hours to make it, but originally his gimmick was going to be an eye patch, the next idea was a prosthetic arm.
The first movie was filmed around Chicago with much of the filming taking place at a housing development, Cabrini Green. Yes, it’s a real place. The cast and crew were always escorted by police in plain clothes due to violence and crime.
Much of Cabrini Green has since been demolished, however, some of the buildings still stand and were used as filming locations for the new movie.
Remember the scene where Todd is crawling with bees and they are spilling out of his mouth? They were very real. Todd made a deal that he would be given $1,000 per sting he suffered during filming. He was stung 23 times during that scene, earning him $23,000.

During the scene where Helen first encounters Candyman, she appears to be hypnotized. That’s because she was. Director Bernard Rose hired a hypnotist to come to the set to ensure Helen played the scene correctly. The hypnotist really hypnotized her for the filming, with a word used to trigger her in and out of consciousness.
To create the unique, almost romantic chemistry between Todd and Madsen, they attended ballroom and fencing classes together.
The scene where Helen’s doctor is killed in the original was heavily edited for the US release due to the horrific violence and gore that would have given the movie an NC-17 rating. The scene however is whole in the UK version.
Yes, Tony Todd does make a cameo in Candyman (2021) however. if you blink you might miss it.
Like any movie that does well, Candyman saw several sequels. Following the success of the original, Rose wanted to make a prequel, but the studio shot him down. Instead, we got Canyman: Farwell to the Flesh, from director Bill Condon in 1995. The next installment came in 1999, Candyman: Day of the Dead which has a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 9%. There was a pitch to make a Candyman vs. Leperachan movie, Todd refused to appear in the movie and the idea was scrapped, thank god! The fourth entry to the franchise hit theaters last month which completely bypassed Candyman 2 and 3. And it is fantastic (review).
In Candyman (2021):
“For as long as residents can remember, the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green neighborhood were terrorized by a word-of-mouth ghost story about a supernatural killer with a hook for a hand, easily summoned by those daring to repeat his name five times into a mirror. In the present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, visual artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II; HBO’s “Watchmen”, Us) and his partner, gallery director Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris; If Beale Street Could Talk, The Photograph), move into a luxury loft condo in Cabrini, now gentrified beyond recognition and inhabited by upwardly mobile millennials.
With Anthony’s painting career on the brink of stalling, a chance encounter with a Cabrini-Green old-timer (Colman Domingo; HBO’s Euphoria, Assassination Nation) exposes Anthony to the tragically horrific nature of the true story behind Candyman. Anxious to maintain his status in the Chicago art world, Anthony begins to explore these macabre details in his studio as fresh grist for paintings, unknowingly opening a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifying wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.”

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