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‘Candyman’ stars reflect on the horror classic’s cultural impact 30 years on

Evidently, it's time that's standing the test of 'Candyman'.

Virginia Madsen as Helen Lyle in Candyman (1992)
Image via TriStar Pictures

It’s been 30 years since Tony Todd, the perennial talent behind the eponymous villain of the classic 1992 slasher film Candyman, first planted an illogical fear of mirrors into audiences for the first time. Thirty years and three additional Candyman films later, and his ongoing legacy has shown no signs of slowing down.

In an exclusive interview with ET Online, Todd and original co-star Virginia Madsen, who played Helen Lyle in the 1992 original, sat down to talk all things Candyman, including the factors that played into its longevity, and the film’s important place in the history of horror.

Madsen noted that Candyman‘s roots as a folk tale, one that may be told as a scary story around a campfire, likely played a big role in keeping the film at the forefront of people’s minds; a good number of us may recall sleepovers attended as small children, where one of our friends dared us to say “Candyman” five times in a dark bathroom.

It’s a classic scary tale told by the fireside and we knew that it was that way when we were first making it, so it wasn’t surprising that it kept living on and on and on.

Todd echoed this note, recalling the many stories he’s heard from fans over the years.

I get so many stories at autograph tables about people doing challenges and mirrors and stuff. That’s what keeps the film alive because it gets passed generationally.

Todd also touched on the film’s cultural and racial significance in the history of the horror genre, noting the film’s sincere completeness as one of the first to feature an important Black character in Candyman.

It was well worth it and not just the bonus check, but being one of the first African Americans in a horror film that does not enslave us. When I first read it, I looked for those traps. I wanted to make sure that if you’re going to be one of the first significant Black actors in a horror film, you better make sure that it’s complete, that it tells a story from beginning to middle and end, and that’s what I saw in the script.

After the success of Nia DaCosta’s 2021 sequel, whispers of the next installment can be heard in the breeze, and if the cards fall right, we may just see Todd carry on his legacy as one of horror’s most iconic slashers.

Charlotte Simmons
About the author

Charlotte Simmons

Charlotte is a freelance writer for We Got This Covered, a graduate of St. Thomas University's English program, a fountain of film opinions, and the single biggest fan of Peter Jackson's 'King Kong,' probably. Having written professionally since 2018, her work has also appeared in The Town Crier and The East