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As fall arrives and we ramp up for Halloween season, a new crop of horror movies are being released.

This all happens just in time for you and your friends to plan a night at the movies and then at a local haunted scream park, haunted house, or haunted forest.

Late summer saw the spectacular release of the redone classic Candyman. This recent iteration was directed by Nia DeCosta who explained in a recent interview that for her, growing up, Candyman was not a myth or a legend. He was very real.

She remembered both the story of a man who came through a mirror to kill someone in the neighborhood where she grew up, and she read the history of Candyman, a black artist killed by a mob in the 1800s for dating white women.

A screenshot from the NY Times interview with the director of Candyman.

Both of these traditions, and the reality of the horror and truth behind them, come into play in her new movie.

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The myth is that if you look into a mirror and say his name five times in a row, Candyman will appear.

But he doesn’t come right away. In fact, you have only released him, and he will show up when he is ready … to kill.

And that is exactly what happens when residents of the now-gentrified Cabrini Green neighborhood take the legend lightly. He returns, committed to his own legend.

“You will remember my name,” we warns before indelibly inscribing his name on the history of the community with a series of gruesome deaths.

Shadow puppets?

The new Candyman is aware that it is telling a story about a story, and to do this more effectively, the director uses a series of shadow puppet scenes.

When the viewer sees the hands of the puppeteers, you first might think that this is sloppy storytelling, but it is happening for a reason. The people who are telling their parts of the story all “have a hand” in it. That is, they all remember the story the way they want to remember it, and they tell it in the way that suits their style and their purpose in the moment.

Because the storyteller changes over time, so does the nature of the horror.

This movie will have you and your friends jumping out of your seats, and eager to turn the lights back on.

And afraid to even look in the mirror.

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