Candyman (2021) | Crooked Media
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In This Episode

Halle and Alison chase urban legends and art reviews to ruin 2021’s Candyman.

Follow @ruinedpodcast on Instagram and Twitter for show updates!

Check out @theradiopoint and @crookedmedia for more original content!





[theme music]: If scary movies give you dread. Keep you up late night in bed, here’s a podcast that will help you ease your mind. We’ll explain the plot real nicely then we’ll talk about what’s frightening, so you never have to have a spooky time. It’s Ruined.


Halle Kiefer: Hey welcome to Ruined. I’m Halle.


Alison Leiby: And I’m Alison. [laughter] Why are you laughing? 


Halle Kiefer: I’ll tell you in a minute. This is a podcast. Where we ruin a horror movie just for you. 


Alison Leiby: Just for all of you. Halle, how are you? 


Halle Kiefer: Good. I just got an email. I’ve been in. I don’t I used to blog for Vulture for a long time, so I’m on, like, a bunch of weird PR email lists. 


Alison Leiby: Me too yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I keep getting ones about. I guess there’s some sort of new breastfeeding storage solution. 


Alison Leiby: I just got that. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh great is that to the Ruined one? Because I was like—


Alison Leiby: It must have gone to. It must have gone to Ruined because—


Halle Kiefer: No it went to me personally as well. So.


Alison Leiby: Oh well, it also went to me personally. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Well. You know, I was just thinking, oh, my first thought was like, hey, maybe I should, like, start breastfeeding just in case anyone wants any cause, like, I, I’m not using them.


Alison Leiby: I don’t think you can do it that way. 


Halle Kiefer: I think you can, actually. And then my next question, it was I was going to ask you, Alison, if I did that, would you drink my breast milk? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay. Great. Thanks. 


Alison Leiby: I’d try it. 


Halle Kiefer: I think you can induce lactation. Hang on let’s find out. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah you can, but I don’t think it’s, like, fun. 


Halle Kiefer: I should just do it because I don’t have anything going on. [laughter]


Alison Leiby: You have lots going on, you have work, you have this—


Halle Kiefer: I guess that’s yeah you got me there. [laughter] Yeah, I think you can. Yeah. You’re right. I. Cause I remember one of my brothers is adopted. I remember my parents, considered trying. But I do believe it is quite a predicament and an ordeal. 


Alison Leiby: I think it hurts. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Cause, like, breastfeeding itself is also, like, unpleasant. From what I’ve heard—


Halle Kiefer: Shout out to anyone who is breastfeeding. Has or will in the future. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: That is. 


Alison Leiby: Good for you. 


Halle Kiefer: You deserve a fucking medal. Anyways, Alison, how you doing? What’s new with you? 


Alison Leiby: I’m good. I’ve developed a new thing. It’s. We’re recording. This is like. It’s like the beginning of the New Year. Do you have any resolutions? Did we talk about this in the last one? 


Halle Kiefer: You know, you talk about yours, and I’ll think of one. How about that? 


Alison Leiby: I have well, I have two, like, very good ones. But that were, like, suggested by other people. And then I have, like, one new thing I’m doing. My two resolutions are to take more photos of people in my life. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh. That’s nice. 


Halle Kiefer: Like, when I’m, like, out of the thing. It’s like, get a few photos with a group of friends. Like, you’re gonna want photos.


Halle Kiefer: Most of your photos are like, you take it like, through people’s curtains, like you’re standing outside, you’re trying to get, like, while they’re sleeping. 


Alison Leiby: From a distance, telegraphic lens—


Halle Kiefer: You’re sitting on top of a building. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I’ve seen. They’re beautiful.


Alison Leiby: But it’s like it’s a lot of photos of Rizz. It’s a lot of photos of, like, stand up and food and I’m just like, oh, I gotta have, like, more pictures. I used to take pictures of my friends all the time. I want to do that more. So that feels like a very good resolution. 


Halle Kiefer: I love that. Are you going to print them? Like is the goal like to fill your home? 


Alison Leiby: I would like to print some, but I also just like sometimes when I’m scrolling through. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: And I’m like, oh, like, I know I was with people, but like, where are they? 


Halle Kiefer: That’s a really good I that’s a good one. 


Alison Leiby: And the other one that I saw, I think I saw it on TikTok or something, is, to compliment people’s work more when I like it, like I have friends who—


Halle Kiefer: That’s a great one, both of these are like. It’s funny how you we just sort of intuitively do that, and that’s a great idea to. 


Alison Leiby: Like, like I list. I have like, George Civeris and Sam Taggart have a podcast, StraightioLab. I don’t know if you’ve ever listened to. 


Halle Kiefer: I have a couple times I, I should listen to it more. 


Alison Leiby: Very funny and like, I was like listening to it and laughing and I was like, they’re my friends. I should text them about it. And so I, like instead of text, I was like, oh my God, I’m listening to this episode, it’s so funny, like great up like. And I was like, that’s so nice. So I want to do that more. 


Halle Kiefer: That’s a great idea.


Alison Leiby: But the thing I’m doing that I started this week and I’ve done every day, is I am dunking my face in a, mixing bowl full of ice water every morning. 


Halle Kiefer: Do you feel like it’s helping? 


Alison Leiby: I honestly am obsessed—


Halle Kiefer: You look great. Your skin looks great. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, I do think my skin is better. It de-puffs your face first thing in the morning and I very like I get very puffy—


Halle Kiefer: Me too. 


Alison Leiby: I like, feel like my eyes are wider, like it’s just like it wakes me up more than any amount of coffee ever has. 


Halle Kiefer: I like it. 


Alison Leiby: And, it clears out my sinuses. 


Halle Kiefer: I feel like this is kind of thing where, Jennifer Aniston says she does it, and you’re like, okay, but you also have like your rich and I’m sure you have like an aesthetician that comes to your house. 


Alison Leiby: Yes, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And then it’s like that. Also, she probably does do that. It does actually help. 


Alison Leiby: I yeah, I’ve seen it on TikTok a bunch. And then I saw I watching Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip, Rhony Legacy [laughter] which sounds so stupid. And Kelly Bensimon was doing it on the show in the morning and, and I was like, I could do that. And you’re like, start small. Because I started, I just did like three seconds that time. 


Halle Kiefer: You could drown. I mean, you got to warm yourself up, you don’t want to die in there. 


Alison Leiby: And your body isn’t, like it does, like it is shocking and like kind of hard to like breathe you’re like, oh my God, I’m going to drown. 


Halle Kiefer: What a way to go. 


Alison Leiby: In this mixing bowl that I usually make salad in, and so. But I’m up to 10 seconds. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, wow. Okay.


Alison Leiby: I did. I do it every morning. 


Halle Kiefer: And you’re a swimmer, so I feel like you could definitely get it up there, you know? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can hold my breath for a long time, but—


Halle Kiefer: You look great. I that’s a really ambitious. And I like that. 


Alison Leiby: How’s your start to the year going? 


Halle Kiefer: I think my only resolution this year is to kill God. 


Alison Leiby: Sick. 


Halle Kiefer: And other than that, well, to finally get my driver’s license, I took my driving test, and I did fail it, so. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, no. 


Halle Kiefer: Just the written one. 


Alison Leiby: The written part or the driving part? 


Halle Kiefer: The written part. Oh, God. If I. If the thing is, if I, if I lose, if I fail it three times, I believe I have to go take Driver’s Ed again. In which case I believe I have to take the driving test, in which case I will have to move somewhere. Because I—


Alison Leiby: You’ll come back to New York. 


Halle Kiefer: Girl, I don’t I don’t know how long it’s been since you took a test, but let me just say that part of my brain is completely atrophied and—


Alison Leiby: Oh yeah I don’t even like getting an eye exam. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: I mean, I, I choked so hard, this study guide, which is every, law about driving in California, is 100 pages. And I do not have the kind of recall that, I had in college. I’ll say that much. 


Alison Leiby: And it’s like, I like, I have a driver’s license. I know how to drive. I used to drive, but I also lived in New York for 17 years now, so it’s not like I do it often. 


Halle Kiefer: I miss it. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, I know the rules, but if you put a bunch of questions on a piece of paper about that information, I would get them wrong, even though I know the answers. 


Halle Kiefer: Well, the parts where I choked were, like the percentage of alcohol that you can’t have. And I’m like, oh, fuck, I don’t know any of this. And then, like how many points you get for different things on your license and like how many points to, to get your license taken away. 


Alison Leiby: Also like, why should I have to know that? 


Halle Kiefer: That’s for you to know. That’s for me to find out. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But my goal is I follow someone on Twitter who wrote three screenplays last year, and I’m like, I want to write three screenplays. 


Alison Leiby: Wow. 


Halle Kiefer: But I need to figure out how to do that. 


Alison Leiby: One a quarter? 


Halle Kiefer: One a quarter. I feel like it’s doable. 


Alison Leiby: One a trimester. 


Halle Kiefer: One every four months. 


Alison Leiby: All right. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes, I would like to give birth to three screenplays this year. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And I think I could do it. 


Alison Leiby: You could do it. I believer in you.


Halle Kiefer: I just have to, like, inducing self lactation is. That’s 2025’s goal, I guess. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. You gotta push that another year. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Can’t do both. [laughter] But that’s all I have. In terms of personal goal setting and again, of course, journeying to heaven to kill God. 


Alison Leiby: Can’t wait for that.


Halle Kiefer: Well I mean it’s—


Alison Leiby: Driver’s license. Death of God. It’s a big year. Three screenplays. 


Halle Kiefer: I’m joking. God, please don’t strike me down. [laughter] I am too Catholic. I’m like, I know it’s not real, but also. Please don’t. I’m joking. Please if you’re listening. And. And he’s always listening. Ladies and gentlemen, just like you’re listening to this podcast. 


Alison Leiby: Always. 




Alison Leiby: And it’s, still sequel month. 


Halle Kiefer: Sequels month, baby. And I don’t know how we didn’t do this. We’ve talked about this movie a million times. Do you remember— 


Alison Leiby: We talked about. I remember us talk. I mean, also this is from I think this was like the first movie we did. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. I because I was looking at—


Alison Leiby: The original is like it’s, it’s part of the first three that we dropped at once. And I remember and then we kept when the trailer came out, we were like, we got to do it, but it’s like never fit into a theme. 


Halle Kiefer: I also think like that. 


Alison Leiby: And then I think we forgot. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, there are other sequels to Candyman. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: But I wanted to do so. We are of course doing Candyman, the one from 2021. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Which is a direct sequel to the original versus the other ones and one of the other sequels they go to New Orleans like I we will do that eventually, obviously. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, we’re gonna do everything. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: We we’ve made a deal with the devil, and by the devil we mean you. And especially if you’re a part of our Patreon, please go sign up. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: To watch and consume every horror movie and tell you about it. 


Alison Leiby: Yep, yep. 


Halle Kiefer: But I feel like this was really, an underrated release because I watched it a couple times since, and I think people are kind of down on it. And I think rewatching it, I discover more and more things I like about it. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: In a way that I feel like we’ve done some movies recently, perhaps over the same year of this past year where we have, they’ve sort of been IP reboots or revisitation, and this is a superior revisit. That’s my opinion. If we’re going to be doing this. I think this is a caliber above perhaps some other ones. AKA. 


Alison Leiby: Some other sequels. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: The Exorcist: Believer. 


Alison Leiby: I mean. 


Halle Kiefer: But but what isn’t at this point, sorry, I, I, I had up the Wikipedia and instead I typed in inducing self lactation into Google, so. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. That’s great. 


Halle Kiefer: So this is, of course, is, the movie that was directed by Nia DaCosta, and it was co-written, by Jordan Peele, Win Rosenfeld and DaCosta herself. And it picks up where we left off, quite a number of years later. And Alison, I wanted to ask before I have you watch or talk about the trailer, do you remember, do you what do you remember from the original Candyman? 


Alison Leiby: I actually remember it more than almost like most of the other movies. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s a great one. 


Alison Leiby: It really is like, and I had seen not only had I seen the trailer when we did it, but I also had seen, I don’t know if we talked about this like, like little chunks of it, in passing at someone’s house, like, I hadn’t sat down and watched the movie and I left the room after three minutes. But like, I’ve seen like it. It sticks with you. That’s a real. It is one of the greatest. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. It is. And of course, Tony Todd, one of the absolute greatest. 


Alison Leiby: Did, does it end with the big fire? And she’s Candyman now? 


Halle Kiefer: So basically, yes, the implication is that and we of course talk about like, the concept of urban legends. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So at the end of the original, Helen Lyle, who was the main character, dies in the bonfire, having rescued the baby from Candyman’s clutches. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: But then the irony of that is that she then becomes part of the legend. So she does live on. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And we see her in her own sort of Candyman, manifestation. 


Alison Leiby: She died. 


Halle Kiefer: She died. But lives on in the same way the Candyman does. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah yeah yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Which is telling her story, which we’ve just watch. 


Alison Leiby: Yes yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So this is also playing with those themes. The original was directed by, Bernard Rose, and, this is a movie that had been in production for a long time obviously had a lot of different ideas about it. And then Jordan Peele said, let’s do this, baby. And so, of course, we always like to have Alison, watch the trailer. Alison, what are your thoughts about Nia DaCosta’s Candyman 2021? 


Alison Leiby: I mean, I’m very in already. 


Halle Kiefer: Mm hmm. 


Alison Leiby: You hear? It is still Tony Todd, right? 


Halle Kiefer: Well, we’re going to get into it. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: This is this is sort of playing with what Candyman is, who it is. It’s sort of a collective idea—


Alison Leiby: But his voice is in. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s in the movie. 


Alison Leiby: You hear that voice again, and I’ll never forget it from the Cameo you bought me. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: It’s heaven. He’s—


Alison Leiby: Incredible. 


Halle Kiefer: A, a perfect voice. 


Alison Leiby: I could listen to him read the phone book and it would be fabulous. I did it. Like, what really was, like, upsetting to see was all of the, shadow puppets. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes, absolutely. 


Alison Leiby: Didn’t care for that. 


Halle Kiefer: And I did want to say—


Alison Leiby: Very spooky.


Halle Kiefer: Because I don’t remember during that press cycle. But of course, the shadow puppets, evoke to me the most famous, modern art artist who does shadow puppets that are specifically about, racism in America. And, that artist is, of course. And again, I had to restart my computer because my, the computer wasn’t working, so all my tabs closed, like a goddamn idiot. Oh, yes. So Kara Walker is sort of who I. 


Alison Leiby: Mm yeah yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Think of if you are familiar with her work, you know exactly what I’m talking about. She creates these sort of shadow puppets about antebellum America and sort of playing with this very fantastical fairy tale, kind of art to reveal the truly disgusting horrors of slavery. Not that you want to hear about it, but of course, this movie is about, horrors that echo through time and sort of become manifested and how we conceive of them, which is what the original was about as well, of course. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So we’re revisiting them. And I was just I know we’ve talked about on the podcast, but I was thinking about, did you go see when Kara Walker had, it was the sugar sphinx at the Domino Factory in Brooklyn. Did you go see that? 


Alison Leiby: I didn’t, but I saw pictures of it? I guess.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: No, but I didn’t actually go in person. 


Halle Kiefer: It was. I mean, probably the most, it’s called A Subtlety, which I is, I, I’m sure there’s more meaning to that, but it is a very unsubtle piece of art. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s like a probably the most, I don’t like best. I guess it doesn’t mean anything, but like, the most impactful, you walk in and you’re like—


Alison Leiby: Right yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, I get what we’re doing. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So I just wanted to, shout out her work, and I’m not exactly sure because I don’t remember any conversation during the press tour. Like, it’s like, oh, it’s almost like you wanted them to be like, this is a homage to her. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Just as someone who I so strongly associate, and she a Black woman and it’s about some of the same topics, so I don’t know. And I’m looking now, I haven’t, I guess she’s made shadow puppets for other things. She a Santigold music video, but I don’t think she made them for this movie, which I think is. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: Strange. 


Alison Leiby: Very. 


Halle Kiefer: Let me just make sure I don’t want to tell everyone the wrong thing. Let’s see. Yeah I don’t I we’ll obviously correct it if a future episode if if if it also if you know, if you’re like oh actually they did work for her please let me know. I think perhaps they just took inspiration from her, work. And it’s terrifying. And when she does it and it’s horrifying in this film. So, are there any images from the trailer that leap out at you? Other than those? Alison. 


Alison Leiby: I mean. The in the elevator. The razor blade. Like it. Just like it also like gives me that silence of the lambs moment when the blood drips down from. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Was it Chilton? Just like, also like, razor blades are very scary. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: And the whole thing was scary. 


Halle Kiefer: And obviously it’s evoking the, rumor that we lived with, which at least I, I don’t know if kids are still getting told us that you might get razor blades in your candy at Halloween.


Alison Leiby: Right. Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Which I don’t believe has ever actually happened. 


Alison Leiby: No. I think that’s like, urban legend meant to scare people. 


Halle Kiefer: And I think there’s one thing where it’s like there was poison candy that it turns out it was like, actually the child’s own parents or something horrible like that. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Or. Yeah. Or like the manufacturer by accident. Not like a. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Intentionally trying to kill a bunch of people. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay. No, apparently it has happened. It happened in Eugene, Oregon in 2022. Someone did put a razor blade in somebody’s Halloween candy. Oh, and at that point, it’s almost like the rumor of it sort of begets somebody doing it, if that makes sense. Like that person’s almost like, oh, I heard of this, so I’m going to do it, which I suppose is also similar to what Candyman is about, which is. 


Alison Leiby: Sure. 


Halle Kiefer: Horror begets other horrors. We always like to hear baselines scary. Alison, how scary do you find the concept of becoming Candyman? 


Alison Leiby: Oh, very. 


Halle Kiefer: Mm hmm. 


Alison Leiby: Very, very, very scary. 


Halle Kiefer: Do you think you’d be a decent Candyman? Let’s be realistic here.


Alison Leiby: I do not have the kind of the self-motivation to to get that kind of work done [both speaking] where we really do the jobs that I have to do from my own home. 


Halle Kiefer: Listen, I mean. 


Alison Leiby: So. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s, he’s a well dressed man. Ladies go crazy about a sharp dressed man he’s has on a mission. I don’t have either of those things. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. No, I definitely don’t. 


Halle Kiefer: And before we get started, would you like to guess the twist in Candyman 2021? Alison. 


[voice over]: Guess the twist. 


Alison Leiby: Would you say that there’s a real twist here? 


Halle Kiefer: That’s a really good question. No, I don’t think there’s a twist as such. No. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: But, what do you had to guess what happens at the end? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah. I’m going to guess that the, I guess our lead who’s, like, investigating, not investigating, but like, challenging the Candyman mythology. Ends up finding out like a piece of information we didn’t have in the original. Like something about Candyman. 


Halle Kiefer: A reveal about Candyman. 


Alison Leiby: Yes a reveal about Candyman. Like, maybe he. 


Halle Kiefer: Was gay?


Alison Leiby: Yeah. I mean. 


Halle Kiefer: No, that kind of kind of contradicts the whole story. 


Alison Leiby: I guess that’s true. 


Halle Kiefer: I guess he could be bi. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Candyman’s bi. 


Alison Leiby: Candyman’s bi. 


Halle Kiefer: Well, let’s begin ruining Candyman 2021. We open with, of course, the Sammy Davis Jr version of the Candyman from Willy Wonka. And a sort of a haunting version of it. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, great. 


Halle Kiefer: And we are in 1977. We are, of course, in Cabrini–Green in Chicago. And I love a horror movie that’s set in an actual city. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Sometimes we go somewhere and it’s clear we’re just on a soundstage and we don’t actually get the cities say in New York. 


Alison Leiby: Yes.


Halle Kiefer: This is in Chicago, and I really appreciate it. I want to see more horror movies—


Alison Leiby: That’s really great. 


Halle Kiefer: In different cities. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: We meet up with a little boy named Billy. Also, everyone in this movie is Black. And if they’re not, I will say that they are white. 


Alison Leiby: Okay cool. 


Halle Kiefer: So just default everybody’s Black. Obviously it’s Candyman. You can see the trailer. But so we see this little boy, he’s of course, playing with little shadow puppets, and it’s a shadow of a man running from a police officer, and he’s using a flashlight to play on the wall. His mom yells at him to go do the laundry, so he has to take the laundry to a separate building, in Cabrini–Green. so, this is a different building than the original, Candyman. These are like the proper Cabrini–Green. There are two story buildings that are essentially go an entire city block. 


Alison Leiby: Mm mm hmm yeah yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So they’re very small, buildings, I think traditionally, like, I just would have assumed they’d be building that many two story buildings. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But we sort of see people are out and about. They’re like, you know, visiting their neighbors. And, these three girls yell at him like, oh, would you take my laundry? And he says, no. And one of them goes, I hope Sherman gets here. We see Billy sort of, you know, look aghast. And as we walk over to the laundry building, we see and hear whispers about somebody in the community who is wanted. And at one point he walks past a police cruiser with two white cops, and they hold up a wanted poster and it says, have you seen this man? It’s a man with his tongue hanging out. Billy doesn’t even reply, obviously he’s not going to talk to the cops. And he goes into the laundry room. Everyone around him, there’s two women walking out the laundry room talking about the man on the poster, and he hears him say they’re still looking for him. Just don’t go out after dark. Well, unfortunately, Billy is about to go in the laundry room and just as he goes, he hears the door, which is a has a glass window in it, obviously, and then sees behind him a gigantic hole in the wall. Just a gaping—


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: A gaping wound in the wall itself. 


Alison Leiby: Yes.


Halle Kiefer: And he goes in the laundry room, throws everything in the washer, walks back out and is confronted with something that is flicked out of the hole and hits the ground. He looks. It is a piece of candy. 


Alison Leiby: Mm. I don’t like that. 


Halle Kiefer: He turns to see a figure stepping out of the wall. 


Alison Leiby: See? No, that’s very Candyman. But like, I don’t care for it. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s just you got to read the room. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And you’re like, I want to give this kid candy real bad. 


Alison Leiby: And. But I’m going to have to leave my hole in the wall. 


Halle Kiefer: I think it’s like, you know, you either throw the candy out the hole, or you walk out and hand it to him. You don’t do both. 


Alison Leiby: You don’t do both. It’s a hat on a hat. 


Halle Kiefer: A man who is from the wanted poster. Sherman, as we go find out he he’s very much already giving Candyman. He has a really long, great coat, and he has a hook for a hand, but his hook is not like Candyman’s hook. It’s like a prosthetic hook that you would have probably had if you didn’t have a hand at the time, and reaches out to give Billy candy. Billy screams in shock, having seen something— 


Alison Leiby: Understandably. 


Halle Kiefer: Unfortunately, the cops outside hear the screaming run into the building. Title card Candyman. 


Alison Leiby: Oy. 


Halle Kiefer: We get this great sequence that’s like the inverse of the original, opening credits sequence. So if you in the original Candyman, you get this really beautiful, overhead sort of zooming shot of Chicago. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And here, we get the same one, but it’s shot upwards, so it’s all these looming skyrises. Oh, I like it. It’s so foggy. I fucking love Chicago. 


Alison Leiby: Chicago is pretty great. 


Halle Kiefer: Beautiful city. The food’s great, the people’s great. And what do you get? Okay, you got a couple of Candymen. Okay. Every city’s—


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Got the Candyman all right. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Everybody’s got something. You know Chicago has Candyman.


Halle Kiefer: They also got deep dish. So. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Seems like an even trade. 


Halle Kiefer: Come on. We now find ourselves in, 2019, and we are in, Cabrini–Green again. And we see most of the projects have been, torn down. And instead there are, neighborhood is full of brand new high rises. And there’s kind of only one block with the low two story buildings that are, at this point, abandoned. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And I want to say my brother lived in that neighborhood and basically lived over Cabrini–Green when he lived in Chicago for a little bit. And I remember when he lived there looking out and said, they should do a Candyman reboot where they it’s set in Cabrini–Green since part of it is still here. You wouldn’t you know it. 


Alison Leiby: Here we are. 


Halle Kiefer: We meet up with Troy and his white boyfriend, Grady. I believe we find out Troy is like a real estate agent. They are, going to visit Troy’s sister, Brianna, who is a, gallery, like, art curator at a gallery. And her artist boyfriend, Anthony. Anthony is our main character. He’s played by, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and I believe he’s from Watchmen, which people loved it, I didn’t see it.


Alison Leiby: Oh. I really, I watched, I liked it. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, he was [?]. He’s great in this. I don’t think I’ve seen him in anything else, but he’s I, he’s someone I’m like, oh, I’d like to see more of him. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Aquaman, The Trial of the Chicago 7. Okay. Other stuff I haven’t seen that I should probably go back and see. So they get up they’re now, living in a beautiful loft, like with a full other, like, essentially a big enough apartment that Anthony has a studio space in the apartment. So they are they’re doing well for themselves. And then and the implication is that Brianna and Troy, their father, was a successful artist. 


Alison Leiby: Mm okay. 


Halle Kiefer: So, you know, she’s very successful in her career, but also, like, maybe they were coming from money to begin with. 


Alison Leiby: Sure. 


Halle Kiefer: And Anthony is sort of like the maybe brooding, incredibly handsome, successful artist boyfriend. But as we find out, Anthony has not made a new piece of art in two years. He has artist block. Which like. 


Alison Leiby: Sure. 


Halle Kiefer: I am, I’m in a moment of writer’s block and it is killing me. 


Alison Leiby: I am also in a moment of writer’s block and it’s really, not great. 


Halle Kiefer: I know it’s interesting— 


Alison Leiby: I can’t even put a sentence together that is more meaningful than just like six words. 


Halle Kiefer: I’m trying to do The Artist’s Way, so I’m like, I gotta do, I gotta try something. And, I’ve never successfully gotten through it, but I’m gonna try again. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So Grady and Troy come, and they are looking at this again. Beautiful apartment, incredibly well-appointed, a lot of mirrors. So that’s obviously going to be a problem when Candyman shows up as she’s able to sort of show up wherever. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Troy. As as Brianna’s brother’s immediately criticizing everything about his sister’s life. She, he’s like, where did you get this wine? The dollar store. She’s like, you overpaid for this apartment. I could have gotten you something much better, but in a really loving way. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And Grady is like you. This is insane. Like you have to nit pick your sister because clearly that she’s doing great, you know? And Troy says, no, you don’t know about this neighborhood. This neighborhood is haunted. Like, this neighborhood has so many nicknames Little Hell, Smokey Hollow, Combat Alley, and, Anthony and Brianna also know the neighborhood Cabrini–Green. And basically,  they explain, as we see in the original movie, that, as Brianna puts it, white people built the ghetto, realize they built the ghetto and then erased it to build on top of it. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And gentrified everything. And Grady’s like, oh, like your apartment and sort of like. 


Alison Leiby: Um. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: You’re also a part of that because you’re rich now, you know? 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: And Troy says, do you all want to hear a scary story? 


[clip of Nathan Stewart-Jarrett]: This is a story about a woman named Helen Lyle. She’s a grad student, a white grad student doing her thesis on the urban legends of Cabrini–Green. 


Halle Kiefer: And she of course, it wasn’t even inadvertently. They did it intentionally. They just didn’t believe it was real. She summoned Candyman in the original film, and her story has been folded into the Candyman legend and tweaked, which we also kind of heard in the original movie. Like, oh, all of these stories, like become different over time. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So Troy’s version of Helen’s story is she was doing research. She went down to Cabrini–Green interviewing people, and one day she snaps, she beheads a Rottweiler, and the police find her doing snow angels in a pool of dog blood. Anthony and Brianna are like—


Alison Leiby: That’s not in the first one.


Halle Kiefer: Obviously not real. So a Rottweiler is beheaded. 


Alison Leiby: I remember that, but it wasn’t like her because she went crazy. 


Halle Kiefer: No, it was Candyman. 


Alison Leiby: Candyman. 


Halle Kiefer: And also she didn’t do snow angels in blood. But like, the idea is like, oh, something happened. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And then in the telling of, it’s like. And that’s not even that’s the worst part. 


Alison Leiby: She was right. 


Halle Kiefer: Playing in the blood or whatever. Like embellishment. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah right. Telephone.


Halle Kiefer: But of course Brianna was like that. That didn’t happen. Like that’s made up. And Troy says, look it up because that’s not all.


Alison Leiby: Where? What. 


Halle Kiefer: Google. She goes on a rampage, he says, and she takes one of the babies of the residents of Cabrini-Green. Of course, we know, having seen the original, that, Candyman took the baby. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And then Helen did everything to try to find the baby. And so in in our knowledge of it, having seen the original, she saved the baby and sacrificed herself in this telling of it, which is like, now that she’s part of the urban legend, Troy says. The night of the Cabrini-Green bonfire, Helen arrives with the baby and runs towards the fire to sacrifice him in a fugue state. But the residents were able to wrestle the baby out of her hands, and Helen walked into the fire to die. Now everyone is listening. 


Alison Leiby: A compelling story.


Halle Kiefer: Absolutely. And at the end of the year, Candyman, everyone sort of goes to Helen’s funeral and, like, pays their respects. But it is a more compelling story. If she. She was insane. And we don’t have to even get into what is Candyman? How did he do all that? Oh, no—


Alison Leiby: How did he do all that?


Halle Kiefer: —my baby. Right. So it’s like, okay, it’s resolved she is dead. That she was the evil villain. We’ve moved on and everyone’s sort of listening, rapt and Troy goes. Is that rosé I brought in the fridge and he storms over to get it, and Troy says they’re wrapping up later. They have dinner and as they’re leaving Troy says to Anthony, you had better start painting again because my sister can’t support you forever. And so obviously there’s some tension brewing— 


Alison Leiby: Okay. Yes, a horror movie discussing family finances. 


Halle Kiefer: As they get to bed, Anthony is already googling Helen Lyle and does find the report about the Rottweiler being beheaded. Because if you remember, people did assume it was her. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: At the time. So we know now that Anthony is looking into it, we know maybe where this is headed. Anthony, you should have left well enough alone? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Just move on. Go paint. 


Halle Kiefer: In the morning, Brianna’s co gallerist co curator Clive comes over obviously named after to Clive Barker whose short story The Forbidden is what Candyman is based on. He comes over to talk to Anthony. He has a big show coming up that Anthony is supposed to have art in, and he says, you’re the only artist that has not shown me what’s going to be in the show. I want to see it. And Anthony shows him something that he did two years ago, and he’s like, look, I loved you two years ago. This is you two years ago. What are you this this year? 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: And hiss art is, sort of. They do say this because then you see his art develop over the, movie. And so it’s done in a different style by the end of it, which I thought, again, a very interesting artistic choice that I appreciate. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: The attention was paid to it. So they’re kind of more like not cartoony, but like I’m obviously drawn like it’s like a Black man’s chest with a red noose. And it’s sort of like, well, what is your what’s the evolution of something. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: That like has been great, but like, I’m if Clive says, what happened to the next great hope of the Chicago art scene, which always helps you when you’re when you as an artist, you can’t do anything. Somebody says, well, what happened to you? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, right. [both speaking] That’ll snap you right out of whatever creative struggle you’re having. You’re like, oh, of course. 


Halle Kiefer: And Anthony’s said, obviously. Anthony’s like, well you know I’m working on, some new stuff. What is it about? Oh, you know, it’s actually about, you know, the, white supremacy and gentrification on Black communities like where I’m from, Bronzeville. And Clive says, the South Side is a little played out. So we know Clive will be dying at the hands of Candyman.


Alison Leiby: I thank God. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And then Anthony—


Alison Leiby: Candyman come get your man. 


Halle Kiefer: And Anthony says, or, or it could be about Cabrini–Green. And now Clive is interested. He’s like, oh, no, that’s a story we can talk about, you know? So less interested in his actual art and more like, how am I going to promote you? Like, what is this story that I could get rich people to come and, like, buy the art essentially.


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So, Clive and Brianna head into work, and Brianna reminds Anthony, tonight we are getting dinner at your mom’s, so you have to show up at 7 p.m.. Do not forget, obviously, Anthony immediately starts researching Helen Lyle and Cabrini–Green. And because they live right there, he walks over there. And I will say the clothing is already so dated, like a for whatever reason, his outfits to me look so 2019.


Alison Leiby: What is he wearing? 


Halle Kiefer: It’s like baseball shirts and skinny jeans and like hot like like that are too short with like high socks and like, flat sneakers. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I was like, no one’s wearing that anymore. I’m not even a fashionable person. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah 2020 was a real like, pivotal moment for just like everyday personal style, things really changed. 


Halle Kiefer: And it is funny because it’s like you’d think as an artist they would have more style. But I guess maybe the idea is like he doesn’t think about his style. He just like puts on whatever. And then, you know, he his art goes on the canvas. He walks over to Cabrini–Green and he, based on some photos that he found online, he sees that there’s a church still standing, and it used to be covered in graffiti, and now it has been white, literally whitewashed. So the entire church is painted over in white. Alison, he goes to take a photo of the church, you know, reference for his art, and a bee stings him on the hand. 


Alison Leiby: At night? 


Halle Kiefer: No, no, this is during the day. 


Alison Leiby: Oh sorry during the day. 


Halle Kiefer: This is during the day. 


Alison Leiby: Bee’s aren’t out at night. 


Halle Kiefer: A bee sting at night, terrifying. 


Alison Leiby: Do they sleep. 


Halle Kiefer: Let me Google. 


Alison Leiby: Do bees sleep? 


Halle Kiefer: Bees sleep. Sorry. It’s telling me I can induce lactation. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Apparently they. They honeybees sleep between 5 and 8 hours a day. 


Alison Leiby: Oh my God, good for them. 


Halle Kiefer: But they sleep at night. So to your point, if it was night, that would be weird. But it was during the day. 


Alison Leiby: It would be weird. During the day. All right. You’re can get a bee sting during the day. 


Halle Kiefer: And the bee drops and he looks and the bee is immediately swarmed by ants, which drag it away to be consumed. Anthony climbs over a fence into sort of, an area you shouldn’t be and is now in the low rows of apartment buildings. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: All abandoned. And so he’s walking. He’s. Oh, he goes into an open door taking photos of the graffiti, just trying to get some inspiration. And someone walks by outside. He he sort of flinches and he sees a drawing of a man on the on the wall, perhaps some sort of, I don’t know, Candyman of some sort. 


Alison Leiby: Mmm. 


Halle Kiefer: And we see him walk outside just as a cop car goes by, and he kind of ducks behind. So because obviously he’s trespassing, he shouldn’t be in there, you know, even though no one’s there. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: And a man calls out to him and says they never used to come around back in the day unless it was to take someone in. 


Alison Leiby: Referring to the cops. 


Halle Kiefer: But now they are. Yeah. So now cops are here all the time, and there’s a very few people who do live in these buildings. Still not directly where we’re at, but like in Cabrini–Green. 


Alison Leiby: In this general. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And so they’re constantly monitoring us. So now there’s all these high rises and all of the low income people are being monitored by police. 


Alison Leiby: Yes, yes, yes.


Halle Kiefer: And the guy’s carrying a bunch of packages and Anthony offers to help him. And the manager introduces himself as William. And he says, I own a laundromat in the area. And, Anthony walks with him. And, William sort of starts to tell him about the area again. Anthony’s loving all this. He’s like, okay, there’s something here for my art. And, they he brings up Helen Lyle, and William says, you know, ask people about Girl X, Dantrell Davis, and people don’t know who she is, which we did talk about. I believe in the, original. It comes up the idea, like there were these horrific murders. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And, then people forget about them, and he’s saying, like, Helen Lyle was a white woman, so no one ever forgets that that happened. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And Girl X, is is a horrible murder of a young woman and sort of folding in these real life murders into a reality and sort of, tying it back into the larger premise of this, which is like, how do you what is the point of urban legends? What are we trying to do with them? What is the idea of of Candyman? 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: So Williams says, can you hand me a pen? And, well, sorry. Anthony says, can you hand me a pen? I want to take notes on all this. And William hands him a laundromat pen, and he says, you know, Helen Lyle was out here looking for one thing. Candyman. And if you ask me, I think she found him. So we flash back to 1977, and we realize that William was Billy, the little boy in the laundry room.


Alison Leiby: The boy who was doing laundry. Got it. I figured.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah he probably loved laundry so much that he opened a laundromat so. 


Alison Leiby: Wow. 


Halle Kiefer: Or was so scarred that he had to open—


Alison Leiby: He had to because his whole life became laundry. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: And trauma. 


Halle Kiefer: Cleaning. Yeah. Cleansing. You know, trying to restore him. And he says, you know, Candyman was a legend but to me, Candyman was this guy, Sherman Fields. He had a hook for a hand. He was a real weirdo who would hand out candy. One October, a little white girl got a razor blade in her candy, and the cops immediately assumed it was Sherman because of his candy reputation. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So he started to hide in the walls of the Cabrini–Green to try to avoid the police. And now we’re back in the laundromat. We see little Billy scream, and then he and Sherman just sort of stand and look at each other as we hear the cops run into the building. And we know what’s going to happen. And Billy takes a piece of the candy. And Sherman’s just smiling because like Sherman doesn’t understand what’s about to happen. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And Billy climbs the stairs as the cops swarm in past him. Like, I mean, like a dozen cops. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And he sits there and we hear Sherman screaming, and he says the cops killed him on the spot. And then a couple weeks later, more razorblades started showing up in candy. It wasn’t Sherman. 


Alison Leiby: It wasn’t him.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Back at home, Anthony is now creatively invigorated. He’s like, this is incredibly. I it was the same with Helen, we’re it’s just like, oh my God. Like, I don’t know any of this. Like, this is fascinating. He’s looking up death photos of Sherman Fields. It’s awful. 


Alison Leiby: Of course. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s. Yeah. And, you know, obviously it’s relevant. I mean, this is before George Floyd, I guess, but, like, it’s always, you know, it’s they’re not. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, yeah. 2020.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Like I appreciate that she’s not pulling punches about what this movie is about. And how could you. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Right. 


Halle Kiefer: You know so you see him, he’s been beaten to death. It’s awful. And he, Anthony starts by drawing a thick horizontal line across the canvas. Later, it’s a night Brianna gets home and says, okay, so you just didn’t come to your mom’s like you totally forgot about dinner. Please call that woman. She’s going to kill me. And then she says, not everyone has a parent they could go visit and you should appreciate that you can do that still. Anthony, however, is already kind of on his own path. And he says, come look at my art. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s already becoming consumed, right? 


Alison Leiby: Oh, imagine like getting home and or like getting to your friend’s house, like, come look at my art. It’s like, can’t we just, like, have a drink or something? Like, what are we—


Halle Kiefer: Also, his art is of a Black man who is an innocent Black man who was beaten to death. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: By the cops. So. And Brianna is like, it’s the end of a long day. 


Alison Leiby: You kind of need a minute.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. But then he has her come in. Has her come in. And it is like a very it’s again cartoonish in a way. Like it’s not you know, it’s— 


Alison Leiby: Clearly drawn. Not trying to be photorealistic or anything. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. Yeah. It’s not like a portrait or anything and Brianna says, well, it’s very literal. I’ll be honest. Like, it’s doesn’t seem like something different than when you’ve been doing. It’s also extremely sad. It’s a really hard image. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: The story is interesting, but like, this is, it’s a tough sell, I would say, for the gallery. Not that you have to worry about that, but like, I don’t know. I she’s very unnerved by it. Right. And he’s telling her about Candyman. He’s all excited. And so what we’re to understand basically is, like, Helen and Sherman have been subsumed into the legend of Candyman. And the way they we describe it in the movie is sort of like many characters. One legend, so many. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Many bees, one hive. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So all these different stories are the Candyman legend. And she’s like, well, that’s all very interesting, but I don’t know. And Anthony says, I’ve never been so clear before. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, boy. 


Halle Kiefer: And there’s one other part of the legend I want to tell you about, Brianna. If you look into a mirror and say his name five times, he’ll appear and kill you. So I thought we could do that. 


Alison Leiby: Did did they not know that part? 


Halle Kiefer: I guess not. 


Alison Leiby: Well. 


Halle Kiefer: Wait. In this movie, you mean?


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I think he just Googled it and found out just now. 


Alison Leiby: Wow, I feel like if you lived where Candyman is from and that legend was, like, known to you, like, that was like the biggest thing about the legend? Is that if you said his name you could summon him. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, but they’re not from Cabrini-Green. They’re from the South Side. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: So I think the idea is that it’s extremely localized. 


Alison Leiby: Okay, okay. 


Halle Kiefer: I just think, I mean, I could be wrong but I imagine University of Chicago. You go to school like somebody would have mentioned it to you. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, I yeah, that all right? 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. But I guess it’s like Helen. 


Alison Leiby: Sure. 


Halle Kiefer: Like, maybe it was just some a legend that was particular to Cabrini–Green that people wouldn’t necessarily told outside of it. But I agree it’s something that you’d think in Chicago would be more of a thing in that kind of city. And Brianna says, I’m not doing that. But of course, Anthony squats down behind her and there’s a big mirror in their living room, and he starts to say, Candyman. Candyman. She says, fuck that. [laughter] That’s not funny. 


Alison Leiby: There’s not even a mirror here. And I’m like, don’t do it. 


Halle Kiefer: I absolutely not. If he’s behind me, please tell me. 


Alison Leiby: I’ll let you know. 


Halle Kiefer: I’m gonna be really upset. And Anthony’s like, laughing. He’s like, I’m sorry. And then she notices the bee sting, which is horrible. Looks like he’s having an allergic reaction. She says, oh my God, does that hurt? He says, yeah, it does. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison, it’s the night of the big art show. I think I love this movie, just, I know I don’t. Have we done Velvet Buzzsaw? I know we talked about it for a long time. 


Alison Leiby: No. We haven’t. 


Halle Kiefer: I love movies that make fun of the art world because I know so little about it. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So, like, that is probably what it’s like. Yeah, but there is something satisfying about it. 


Alison Leiby: The only thing I know about the art world is like going to, open galleries Thursdays. In Chelsea, when I was 23. 


Halle Kiefer: Having no fucking money. 


Alison Leiby: Free wine and cheese. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, that was fun. 


Alison Leiby: I it was fun. 


Halle Kiefer: So the name of the art exhibit is a Fickle Dissonance, which I thought was so funny, like, they’re all named that. 


Alison Leiby: That’s so funny. 


Halle Kiefer: And we see a white teen girl, Haley, looking at a piece of video art. So a big screen, falling down from the ceiling that is being has a video projected on it, and then she goes to the next piece of art. It is Anthony McCoy’s Say My Name 2019. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: It is a mirror, a triptych mirror like a bathroom mirror. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And of course, he invites the viewer to say Candyman five times. 


Alison Leiby: Mm mm. I can’t think of an art show I would like to be at less. Both in being afraid of it. And it being stupid. [laughter]


Halle Kiefer: Truly. 


Alison Leiby: It’s both. 


Halle Kiefer: Just an Anthony sees, famed art critic Finley Stephens examining the work. And he, of course, approaches her a white woman. And it’s just like, sort of trying to explain the art. Right. And Finley is already so dismissive of the piece, and he says, no, no, there’s more. Go ahead and open it. And she opens the middle mirror. 


Alison Leiby: Like a medicine cabinet style?


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. So evoking the back mirror.


Alison Leiby: I think about all the time from that movie. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s so good and so terrifying. And if not, since then, TikTok has proven that a lot of those. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Back mirrors are just stuck in the wall and connected to the next. So there would be a gaping hole should you push the mirror through. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So he opens it out and then opens the mirror. And on the other side is an entirely other room, which is filled with his art, which is sort of, black light art. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: I will say again, it’s like his past work. So the work is not itself, you know, the it’s an interesting— 


Alison Leiby: Evolving. 


Halle Kiefer: —concept. Yes. And you can see it her like she’s immediately rolling her eyes like, oh my God. 


Alison Leiby: Oh my God. 


Halle Kiefer: And he says, the way I look at it is, how do you depict tragedy into a focused lineage that leads to now? And she’s like, okay. He’s saying, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be standing over your shoulder explaining everything, it speaks for itself. And then she says, this is what I do think art critics are like, because that’s what they’ve depicted at, as in movies, she says, it speaks all right. It speaks in didactic, kneejerk clichés about the ambient violence of the gentrification cycle. But the truth is, your kind is the one that kicks off that cycle. And of course, he’s like a Black person? And she says artists. Artists move into a neighborhood and take advantage of dirt cheap rents, thus continuing the cycle. And then she walks off and I’m like, you were an art critic? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Where do you get off? Like, it’s like, if there weren’t artists, you wouldn’t have your profession wouldn’t exist. 


Alison Leiby: Right? And like, they don’t make money until they have great art. So they have to live in cheaper place. I mean, not that like not to justify gentrification, but it’s like—


Halle Kiefer: Oh yeah. 


Alison Leiby: You know how this works. 


Halle Kiefer: Right. Exactly. Right. Yeah. There are not that it’s not an important conversation. It’s like, that is not the [both speaking] not to like that. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, exactly. 


Halle Kiefer: So she storms away. Needless to say, Anthony starts to drink, so he’s like, really hurt. So he’s just he’s drinking, drinking beer after beer. And we see Troy and Grady have also come. And Grady says oh, should we do Candyman in the mirror? Troy says, absolutely not. Black people don’t borrow trouble. I’m not going to be invoking a spirit here at the art exhibit. That’s for white people to do. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Meanwhile, Brianna, Clive and intern Jerrica, are talking about this other painter, Jamison, who’s also a Black man. And they’re praising him, praising his work. And Jamison has just looked at Anthony’s work and he’s like, oh my God, I love that you hid the paintings. It’s so smart were they all found materials. Like, did they look like you found them in a thrift store in the desert? And Clive and Jerrica start laughing and he’s like, no, no. I found them in my studio where I painted them. And because he’s drunk, he says, you goofy ass fuck. And everyone’s so shocked. But I was like, that’s the funniest way to insult like an obviously pompous rival of yours you know. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But he also lashes out at Clive and Jerrica, who snickering. And Clive says, you know, you wouldn’t be here if Brianna didn’t make sure you’re in the show, right? 


Alison Leiby: Like—


Halle Kiefer: And Anthony says—


Alison Leiby: —get a hobby. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. I mean, don’t worry. Clive is, deader than a doornail in about 20 minutes here. And then he says, back to him. Don’t you have some morning after pills you have to pick up for your summer intern program? And then Brianna, like, ushers him through the front door. But he’s drunk, so he basically falls out the front door, which is a very funny moment. And also, what a funny exit line. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And Jerrica turns to Clive. It’s just like I just, you know, I’m on I’m on the NuvaRing. And Clive sort of was like, don’t say that. Like he’s obviously fucking all his interns. [laughter] After the show, Clive and Jerrica are cleaning up the beer bottles. And Clive’s like Brianna’s strong armed me into letting Anthony into the show. What kind of piece of art was that? It’s just a fucking mirror. It is terrible art. If she can’t control her man, that it’s over for him. Meanwhile, the video is playing on the screen and they’re just kind of cleaning up. And Jerrica says, maybe we should do it. Maybe we should say Candyman into the art piece. And Clive says, no, not before we fuck. And then he says, actually, never mind. 


Alison Leiby: In case, we die. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. He says, never mind. Necrophilia has always been on my list. So again, we know that—


Alison Leiby: Okay, well, kill him now. Honestly, just get him out of here. 


Halle Kiefer: Jerrica says. So let’s do this. And she sort of clips his belt to his belt loop or his belt. I’m not exactly sure why. And, you know, that’s their thing. And they start kissing in front of the mirror. And she begins, as they’re starting to fuck say, Candyman. Candyman. Unfortunately. 


Alison Leiby: Imagine if you were having sex with someone and they started saying Candyman. 


Halle Kiefer: Girl, it wouldn’t surprise me at this point. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, yeah, maybe—


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. The gals I date. [laughter] Meanwhile, back in the studio, a very morose looking Anthony looks up to see us a bee bumbling around against his mirror, but when he reaches out to touch it, the bee is on the inside. And at that point, Alison, I have to ask. What would you do? 


[voice over]: What would you do? 


Alison Leiby: I who am I? 


Halle Kiefer: I would say, Anthony, if you saw a bee inside of a mirror, what would you do? What do you do? 


Alison Leiby: I, I’d let somebody know about the. This is bee number two. And I’m investigating Candyman like I. I’m. I’m gonna stop following the Candyman stuff immediately. 


Halle Kiefer: It would just be such a red flag. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. It’s like. All right. Whether this is real or not, things are getting weird. Like I’m just going to throw in the towel. Go find something else to be inspired by. I know that’s easier said than done as a creative, but, like. 


Halle Kiefer: I know. 


Alison Leiby: This ain’t it. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, so my question is, if you suddenly had I don’t know what you’re working on TV show, let’s say you got your, writer’s block right now, right? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: All of a sudden you wake up, you got it. It’s happening. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And then that same morning, you saw a bee on the inside of your mirror. Would you at least try to finish the pilot, or would you go tell someone right away. 


Alison Leiby: I would go tell someone right away. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: I think you gotta. 


Halle Kiefer: Ooh, I feel like I could talk myself into not. But I know that I should go tell somebody. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, it depends how long it’s been since I’ve had a paycheck. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 




Halle Kiefer: A great, great point. Back in the gallery, Jerrica says. Candyman says five times and then says, see? Nothing. Alison. Candyman steps behind Clive, who is sort of standing with his arms around. Jerrica reaches around both of them and slits Jerrica’s throat, so she drops— 


Alison Leiby: Oh my God. 


Halle Kiefer: To the ground, and Clive looks up to see Candyman standing in front of the video screen, and then takes his hook and slashes it across the screen. But then he reverses and we realize that Candyman is cutting the, physically cutting the screen from inside the film. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: So he is in the image and in the image of it. He is physically slicing it. It was a very cool effect, I love it. 


Alison Leiby: Wait. Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: So it’s it’s the projection of him that is cutting the screen is is being torn in two by a projection of him. 


Alison Leiby: Mm hmm. 


Halle Kiefer: Again. It’s a visual medium. Use your imagination. 


Alison Leiby: I’ll figure it out. 


Halle Kiefer: Please do. Thank you. [laughs] Clive runs to the front door, unfortunately cannot get it open in time, and we see him dragged by an invisible hand in the air. Back to the mirror. And when he’s hoisted off, he looks like he’s being held up by the invisible man. And in the mirror we see Candyman slitting his throat. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Good. 


Halle Kiefer: In his studio, Anthony is a man—


Alison Leiby: Using a hook? 


Halle Kiefer: Using. Using his hook baby, he’s got that hook hand. Ready to go.


Alison Leiby: Ready to go. 


Halle Kiefer: Anthony is painting a huge portrait. And from here we start to see, like this real development in his ability. Like these very haunting, layered like layers and layers of paint, of of of Black men. Of course the Black men that we’re going to see or who they are going to be. The men of the Candyman legend. And then it’s like these like, portraits are like part of it will be a face, and then part of it will be a skull, and will be like all these different, multiple colors. It was a good again. An excellent choice, because you do have to see him regress in order to understand. Why would you think like, what are you doing‚


Alison Leiby: Why keep going down this path if you’re just, like, making more of the same art that isn’t really furthering your career? 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, but you’re like, okay, I guess I get it. Like you, after two years, you sort of like unclog and then you have this however you you Candyman. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. There there is a cost. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, also, his hand his bee sting looks like it’s starting to, cause all the skin on his hand to fall off. So you sort of see, gradually it looks like he’s been burned. Like it’s horrible.


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: He can’t even pay attention to it. Unfortunately, Brianna has to go to the gallery in the morning, and when she opens it, she finds the bodies of her coworker Clive and the intern Jerrica murdered, in front of her partner’s art piece. Anthony at home sees the news report about the murders, and it says that bodies were found in his art piece. And they said his name. And he goes, they said my name. They said my name. And they said the name of my art piece, which is Say my Name. And he turns. It was a great kind of like, he’s so happy. And then Brianna and Troy are sitting there like open mouthed at his excitement and he kind of like shuts down, like, oh, but it’s still bad, but it’s just a very funny shot of them, like stated, like, what are you doing, dude? And Brianna storms away into the kitchen. Because obviously like, she saw the bodies. So she’s incredibly traumatized. We also see a little of her backstory to maybe explain why she’s, perhaps some of these things are not as much of a red flag to her, which is when she found the bodies. We see her flashback to the death of her father. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Also a very successful artist. Unfortunately, we see the day he died. Alison. He’s sitting in the window of his art studio, and little Brianna, who’s like eight or something, wanders in and says, what are you doing? And her father turns and says, I bet you didn’t know your daddy can fly. And he pushes himself out of the window. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, no. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s so sad. I’m like, that’s got to be one of the worst things you could ever see. If not the worst thing. 


Alison Leiby: Like. Yeah, that’s. 


Halle Kiefer: Like a parent [both speaking] oh boy. Absolutely. Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Oy. 


Halle Kiefer: That night, understandably, Brianna has uneasy dreams and wakes, to look in the mirror and we see a man standing in the shadow in a fabulous coat. Alison.


Alison Leiby: Oh. It’s like, that’s great. But it’s also not great.


Halle Kiefer:  It’s not great. I mean, it’s nice that he dressed up for the occasion, the occasion being invading your dreams. 


Alison Leiby: I do love that Candyman will like turn a look—


Halle Kiefer: It’s so good. It’s just so much better. Like every villain should have a little bit of a look. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, something. Even Frankenstein has a sports coat. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. She turns, I was imagining like a starter jacket. Like. Or whatever. Like a Hornets starter jacket of the 90s. [laughter] She turns the doorway. There’s no one there. But she gasps awake. That was a dream. And Anthony is standing in his undies at the sink with the water running, just sort of standing there in a stupor. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And she says, what’s going on? You okay? And he says, he says, I had a bad dream. And then he just slowly shuts the door in her face. 


Alison Leiby: Not great. 


Halle Kiefer: Anthony. Even though, again, all that stuff’s happening and. Well, you saw the bee in the inside of the mirror, which we both agree would be a definite red flag not to keep going down this, path. 


Alison Leiby: Absolutely. 


Halle Kiefer: He goes to the university library and request the, access to Helen Lyle’s research files. I didn’t even have to go—


Alison Leiby: Under the urban legends wing. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: And, he kind of turns on the charm. But, you see, the librarian is like. Oh. Oh, hello. Are you. Oh, oh, oh, I didn’t even know this was here. I. Are you interested in urban legends? And then she turns around and was like, oh, so are you a grad student? And by the time she turns back, he’s just taken it. And, within the research files, of Helen Lyle are her tapes, which we heard her making the original Candyman.


Alison Leiby: Oh right. Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Because if you remember, she initially found out about the Candyman legend from the two custodians at the university. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Who told her, like, oh, everybody knows about Candyman. It’s real. And then that’s what sends her to Cabrini–Green. So we hear those recordings and we hear Helen explaining, you know, this summoning of Candyman, it grew from a community’s subconscious. You know, there’s trauma that has built up, and it’s sort of like this cathartic thing. And she and her and Bernadette, who we remember her friend from the movie, we performed the ritual. So now he knows, oh, they also did it. And Anthony gets on the elevator, which immediately gets stuck, and he gets the alarm. And we see literally at this point, his hand up into his sleeve looks like it’s been burned. Something is bad happening to the— 


Alison Leiby: Also like, let’s get that checked out. You know, if we’re not going to stop following the Candyman trail. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Which like, I get it, you’re creatively inspired to keep it going, even though it’s terrifying and  going to get worse, at least, like manage the medical situation that you’re experiencing. 


Halle Kiefer: I also think, like Brianna, I think probably like she’s both terrified that her, that she, her partner is becoming her father. But I do think it’s like, oh, if he’s acting like this and also he’s having some physical breakdown, you got to get him in, talk to somebody, you got to see some some kind of doctor. Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Any kind of doctor. At this point. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison, we hear something hit the ground. It’s a piece of candy. And as we saw in the trailer, he picks it up and there’s a razor blade in it, and it cuts his finger. And as he watched the blood drip, a blood drop falls from the ceiling on his hand. And when he looks up at the mirrored ceiling, we see the smiling face of a bloody, beaten Sherman Fields. 


Alison Leiby: Oh yes, yes, yes, yes. 


Halle Kiefer: The lights go off and we hear a crunching, which is really interesting, like a very wet crunching sound. 


Alison Leiby: So we don’t like that. 


Halle Kiefer: Oof! It just because it’s also like I’m to this day, having seen it couple times, I’m not sure what the sound was, but I don’t need to know. And I know it wasn’t good when the lights turn on, Anthony is huddled on the floor and the doors just open. It’s a bunch of college students who are like, and he sort of just, hurries out past them. In his studio. He’s painting while listening to more of Helen’s tapes, and she’s talking to one of the, custodians, in one of the tapes. And then she’s talking to Kitty, who is, one of the women who told her about the, this woman, Ruthie, who was killed in Cabrini–Green. And the story, as Kitty tells it, is the one that leads him there, which is, somebody came through the wall. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And Ruthie was killed by a hook. Helen, of course, is like it couldn’t have been the wall. Then they find the bathroom. Mirror can be removed, creating a hole. So they’re like, oh, my God, that there’s a, factual basis for the urban legend. Obviously that’s the issue. And then finally, Candyman shows up, you know, midway of the movie. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: But, we hear him. He’s just sort of like going through all of her recordings, setting us up to the, initial Candyman movie. Anthony gets a call. But Brianna says, wherever you are going? Please, know we have that dinner tonight. Jack Hyde is in town. He’s like some big, New York art person, and she says he never comes to Chicago, so please don’t fuck this up. He’s like, I’m not going to fuck this up. I’m look at how good I’m doing. She says, no, no, don’t fuck this up for me. Don’t be weird. You’re being weird. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, maybe just like, let the art do the talking. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. However, the call that Anthony got was to the home of the art critic Finley Stephens, who is now writing a piece about Anthony’s art and the murders. So I think it’s sort of like, oh, everyone’s really titillated by the murders. So now his art seems really relevant and interesting. And she says, all of a sudden your work seems eternal. It’s like, well, I just so you know, you have about 15 minutes to live, so, enjoy it while you can. And then he says, well, I’m actually doing a full series about the Candyman. I would like to do a whole show about it. And she says, I would. That’s an excellent idea. And Anthony says, you know, I’m surprised you like my piece now after what you said. But let’s be real. You know who makes the ghetto? And it’s not artists, am I right? And of course, Finley. You know, as a white woman and an absolute fucking snob, like doesn’t reply. I was like, oh, okay. And he says, you know, but if you’re really interested, if you want to be part of the work, which I think you should, then you should say his name, I dare you. You just have to say his name into a mirror like five times. And Finley is a little uncomfortable. She says, I’m gonna go to the bathroom. And Anthony says, that’s as good as that’s as good of a time as any in the bathroom we see Finley— 


Alison Leiby: I’m definitely not going to do it when I’m alone in a bathroom. 


Halle Kiefer: You want to do it with somebody else?


Alison Leiby: If I’m going down because Candyman shows up with his hook, we’re all going, okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Interesting. An interesting idea. I would do it alone. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, well, let me know—


Alison Leiby: I would make you be in the room—


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. That’s fine. I feel fine about that. I’m happy to be there. We see her sort of take a breath. Meanwhile, we see Brianna head over to dinner, obviously worried about her partner, whether or not he’s, A, coming B, mentally well, or C, perhaps becoming the Candyman. And we see Anthony sitting in Finley’s living room. He starts to peel up the skin on his hand. 


Alison Leiby: No.


Halle Kiefer: He just started picking it. So much so it totally lifts and you can see the blood start to well. And she’s taking a long time in that bathroom and he’s got that dinner. So he of course makes it to the hallway like, oh, Finley, I don’t know. But of course, Alison, these people, I need to get more mirrors because, like, everyone has a million mirrors, in there, in there. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Apartments. It does look cool. 


Alison Leiby: How many mirrors do you have in your apartment? 


Halle Kiefer: Other than the bathroom mirrors, I have one big one, like, that leans against the wall.


Alison Leiby: Yeah I have one big one. And then my bathroom mirrors. 


Halle Kiefer: I want to get a big one for the wall, though. I like that. 


Alison Leiby: Big mirror. 


Halle Kiefer: She’s taking forever. He looks in the mirror and looks away, and when he turns, he is Sherman Fields, complete with hook and bloody battered face looking back at him, and Anthony reaches out his hand. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Which is he’s wrapped bandage round and Sherman reaches out his hook and they touch against the glass. 


Alison Leiby: E.T. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Like exactly like E.T.. As more and more bees start thudding against the inside of the mirror. 


Alison Leiby: Nope. Uh uh. 


Halle Kiefer: Suddenly Finlay opens the bathroom door and says, are you okay? And then he says, I got to go. And he runs out. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And as soon as he leaves, we see Finely walk in their living. And this is great shot of the outside of the building. It’s almost looks like a dollhouse. Like you see all these illuminated apartments. And there’s no sound like you don’t hear anything from inside. And we see Finley walk in the living room, and as soon as she is, an invisible hand, picks her up and an invisible hook slashes her throat. And then the Candyman, who again we can’t see. Presses her head against the glass and drags her along, leaving a thick line of blood. The Candyman’s canvas. 


Alison Leiby: He’s an artist. 


Halle Kiefer: At dinner, Jack Hyde introduces Brianna to Danielle Harrington, director of the MCA, and he she says, but I get first dibs on her. Clive had to die for Brianna to be free, am I right? 


Alison Leiby: Jesus Christ. 


Halle Kiefer: Well the man was brutally murdered and along with a college student and a college student who unfortunately had to fuck him as her last act, which no one deserves. Alison. Everyone at dinner. Finally, Anthony arrives. Everyone gets a text. Finley Stephens was found dead in her home. Of course, Brianna is like, oh, God, not good boy. Probably was my boyfriend. And she looks at him. He’s like, looks at the table. And they say, oh, she was found by her, dead by her husband. Oh, my God, the husband’s a suspect. Obviously, he would be, of course. 


Alison Leiby: And and in reality would also be guilty. 


Halle Kiefer: 100%. Yeah. I would say sans Candyman. But it would be unfortunate. You get home. You’re like, boy, this doesn’t look good for me, does it? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, that’s got to be tough. 


Halle Kiefer: Anthony, of course, plays super cool. By which I mean he jumps up and screams. I got to go to sprints out of the restaurant while Brianna yells, Anthony. So he runs over the laundromat because he’s freaking out. So he’s like, I need to talk to William, who is a source of information. And he runs over and you hear them in voiceover. He says, what is he? And William says—


[clip of Colman Domingo]: Candyman ain’t a he, Candyman’s the whole damn hive. 


Halle Kiefer: Because he said, there’s a lot of people who have died and and sort of passed into the legend. He’s like, here’s one Samuel Evans run down during the first of the white housing riots of the 1950s, William Bell lynched in the 1920s. But the initial Candyman, which we know from the original, it was a death in the 1890s. It is a story that Helen Lyle found William Robitaille, and of course we see it Anthony studio he has been painting portrait of all these portraits of all these different men. And we see the William Robitaille, so the he is Anthony Todd, you know, sort of this beautiful skeletal portrait of, of Tony Todd. And he explains and then we see again in, shadow puppets, William Robitaille, an African-American painter, sort of the toast of white society, like, oh, he’ll come and he’s an incredible artist. And that’s the purpose he serves, you know, to make white art for white people, which again, we’re drawing the analogy to Anthony. And unfortunately, he made the biggest mistake you can make at the time for Black man. He fell in love with a white woman and they got pregnant. And of course, her father hired men to kill him. They chased him down into the area that is now Cabrini–Green. They cut off his hand and rammed a hook into the stump, covered him in honey, and let him get stung by bees. In the end, they set him on fire to kill him, and Anthony says, so he’s real. And William says, all these men are real. You know, Candyman is the legend to deal with the fact that these things are real, that they happened and that they are still happening. Which isn’t really a satisfying answer for Anthony, but it’s like, I mean, it’s really as much as all of this is, all this horrible stuff is real. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And so and he comes home and he finds Brianna in his studio, and now he’s suddenly scared. He’s like, oh my God, I brought this into our home. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And he and she sort of has pulled off some of the, camera, what do you call it, like tarps and stuff. And she’s like, what is going on? Like, these are some morbid like, this is all Candyman. And he says, I promise me you won’t think I’m insane. I think I made a mistake, and I conjured Candyman. And of course, Brianna immediately thinks of her father, and she’s like Candyman’s not real. You are. We. You can’t believe this is real. And it’s sort of like, oh, she’s entered a cycle without realizing it. He’s entered something without realizing it. And Brianna says, look, I’ll show you who’s not real. And she turns and starts to say, Candyman into the mirror.


Alison Leiby: Girl no. 


Halle Kiefer: And luckily Anthony shatters it. But of course, that terrifies where it’s like, oh, you’re breaking things now. And she runs out of the apartment, which I’m like, frankly, that’s if I was Anthony, I’d be like, just get out of here. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, I’d rather you be scared. 


Alison Leiby: Go stay with your family. Go, go stay with friends. I’ll kind of try and wrap this up.


Halle Kiefer: Ease my mind. I’ll try to wrap up the candy. [both speaking] Leave me alone. So she goes to Troy and Grady’s apartment, and Troy is incredibly upset, and it’s like, oh, I’m sorry. He thinks he’s a Basquiat wannabe coming here and smashing mirrors like, tragic artist. And she’s like, no, obviously he’s going through something. I just can’t stay there. And they say, don’t worry, you can stay here as long as you want. And Troy says, actually, while you’re here, mom wants to close out the storage unit, and there’s a ton of dads working there. And Brianna says, I don’t want any of that in my house. I don’t want it. And Troy says, well, I’m just going to call it out. You don’t have to support another artist during his psychotic break. You don’t have to like, you don’t have to do this. And he says, you know, you could stay here as long as you need. We’ll figure it out. We’ll go get your stuff tomorrow. As long as you promise not to summon Candyman and Brianna’s like, oh, my God, who would even do that? Even as a joke? Unfortunately, we cut to Haley, the white teenage girl that we saw the art gallery at high school. At her high school? Yeah. And she’s got, a couple of her friends with her, and they’re all in the girls room. 


Alison Leiby: That’s how I would do it. 


Halle Kiefer: And. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. They’re all the girls room, and, all these girls are white. And she says, have you guys heard of Candyman? And she explained sort of the legend, like, if we say his name five times in the mirror and one girl runs out, one girl is like, I’m not doing this and she runs out.


Alison Leiby: That would be me. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And they all stand together and they say it five times. Unfortunately, Trina, obviously the school nerd who’s constantly bullied, who’s a Black girl comes in and Haley’s like, hi, Trina, you look really fucking hung over. And Trina goes to the stall and puts her headphones on and all the girls, like, kick her door, mock her. And so, you know, they’re going to be killed by Candyman. 


Alison Leiby: And rightfully so. 


Halle Kiefer: And rightfully so. Haley and her friends go to the bathroom door, and when they try to open it, it is stuck shut. Meanwhile, we see one of her friends has opened up a compact and in the compact a bee has appeared no on the inside. She also sees something in the mirror and whips around. But there’s nothing there. But she starts to say guys. And then one by one, as they’re all sort of like trying to open the door. They sort of picked off from behind and Trina is in the stall, but she does look hung over. Listening to her headphones and slowly she starts to hear screaming, and as she takes over headphones, she could hear the other girls being slaughtered. And she sees in the compact which has fallen open on the floor. Candyman, floating over one of the girls. 


Alison Leiby: Like she’s the mirror, is showing her what’s happening ten feet away. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, exactly. Yeah. So she’s still in the stall, hiding on the toilet and in the compact. We see what’s happening, which is a Candyman killing a bunch of kids. And the final girl screams as blood sprays everywhere. Meanwhile, back in the studio, Anthony wakes up on the ground and he has a mirror shards now stuck in his hand—


Alison Leiby: That’s the thing if you break a mirror. You’re also creating. 


Halle Kiefer: I know. 


Alison Leiby: A dangerous situation. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison. He pulls them out and while he’s there, he notices his fingernails have started to detach and—


Alison Leiby: Go to a doctor. 


Halle Kiefer: And pulls one of them off. Finally, thank God he does because I was like, we got gotta deal with it. 


Alison Leiby: You can’t keep making your art if your whole arm falls off. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, that’s a great point. Fortunately, he has the wherewithal to finally go to the hospital, and he goes to the closest one. And when he awakes, he sees a news report about a mass murder at [?] High School. And they say, after the killing, written on the mirror where the words say my name written in blood. So again, they’re like, this is the second murder. 


Alison Leiby: With this. 


Halle Kiefer: That connects back to this piece of art. A doctor comes in and says, well, we’ll come back, Mr. McCoy. And then he says, well, I’ve never I’ve never been in this hospital in my life. And the doctor says, no, that can’t be right. It says, you’re born here. You’re born right here in Cabrini–Green. Alison, I got to ask you, who will survive? 


[voice over]: Who will survive? 


Alison Leiby: I sadly think that, Anthony will be swept up into the Candyman lore. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, he belongs to the ages now. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. I think, his girl. The names are all, like, really escaping me right now. I think his girlfriend will survive and have now the trauma of two, men in her life who made art, dying violently in front of her. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Who else is left? 


Halle Kiefer: We’ve got Troy and Grady. So Troy is Brianna’s brother and Grady his boyfriend. 


Alison Leiby: I think at least one of them will die, if not both. 


Halle Kiefer: And then we have William, the guy who runs the laundromat. 


Alison Leiby: He will survive, and he will be able to continue telling the legends of Candyman. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay. Great. That’s—


Alison Leiby: That’s that’s really principles. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 




Halle Kiefer: Alison Anthony finally goes to see the one character he’s been dodging the whole movie his mother. And when she opens the door, we realize that his mother is who? From the original Candyman. Which means who is Anthony? Alison? 


Alison Leiby: The baby. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s the baby. His mother is. 


Alison Leiby: That’s a twist. 


Halle Kiefer:  Anne-Marie McCoy played by the same actress. 


Alison Leiby: That’s a twist. 


Halle Kiefer: Which I loved. Oh, I guess you’re right. Damn it. 


Alison Leiby: Well. 


Halle Kiefer: Well. 


Alison Leiby: Here we are. [laughs] 


Halle Kiefer: I guess in my mind, I don’t know. You know what it was? 


Alison Leiby: Or it’s a reveal. 


Halle Kiefer: I was surprised because it wasn’t it wasn’t a twist to me because they say his full name. And I think I realized that that’s why it was because her last name was McCoy. And we just in there, like, there was some reason that I was like, oh, that wasn’t a twist. Sorry, everyone. There was a twist. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. [laughs] 


Halle Kiefer: However, he goes and tells her, you know, I heard a story about Candyman and she immediately shushes him, says, do not say that here. He says, mom, you told me I was born on the South Side, and now I’m finding out. This hospital says I was born there. And she says, we are. You grew up on the South Side. But, your first two years of life, you. We lived in Cabrini–Green, and he’s like, why would you not fucking tell me that? And she says, I just want you to grow up happy and normal. And like all parents, for some reason, they think that he’s not giving you information about—


Alison Leiby: The amount of information my parents have withhold, withheld from me about our own lives is wild. 


Halle Kiefer: And to what end? 


Alison Leiby: Just tell me. 


Halle Kiefer: There’s the listen. They’re lucky that neither of us are the Candyman at this point. 


Alison Leiby: That is very true. 


Halle Kiefer: And maybe we are. 


Alison Leiby: Don’t know. 


Halle Kiefer: She reaches out to touch him, and we see that the, decay has gone all the way up. His hand all the up his arm. It is now creeping up onto his neck and his beautiful face. 


Alison Leiby: Did they not treat it when he went to the hospital that he found out he was born in, or did he leave after he got that information?


Halle Kiefer: Alison. I think he might have an ailment that human medicine cannot treat. 


Alison Leiby: Oh okay. 


Halle Kiefer: So his hand is bandaged up. But we now see it’s all the way up on his face. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. So. Someone at least looked at it. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Yeah, but I think unfortunately it’s escalating. And he says, basically, could you just just tell me? And she says, when you first got taken, I didn’t think it was that woman. I thought it was Helen Lyle. I found her in her apartment. She’s covered in blood. Everyone thought she was crazy. So like, well, who else could it be? But it wasn’t her. It was him. He had a purpose for you. He wanted you to burn in his fire. But she pulled you out and she gave you back to me. She saved you. And I thought it ended that night, and I we vowed to never say his name again. But apparently someone has broken the pact. 


Alison Leiby: Well, you can’t. Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: I know, I know. 


Alison Leiby: I get it. Not a lot of parenting books cover what to do if your baby was wanted by Candyman. 


Halle Kiefer: What to do with Candyman.


Alison Leiby: What to do with Candyman? What to expect when your Candyman. 


Halle Kiefer: And he says, he found me and she breaks down, says I’m so sorry. And Anthony storms out while, she begs him to stay. To be fair, I mean like again, like I. Your mom could have given you this information, but I don’t. She should have told him when she knew he was moving near Cabrini–Green. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, once he was going back to that area, the odds of him like. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Even though it’s it’s a legend. Whatever. You just still should let him know. So he doesn’t, like, stumble into it the way he did. 


Halle Kiefer: Right. If he’s moving to New Mexico. 


Alison Leiby: Sure—


Halle Kiefer: Maybe I can see not telling him you moved right where it’s happening. Alison. Of course he leaves, and he goes to Cabrini–Green. We see him walking down the row of, apartment buildings, and we see two flashes of light, like two muffled gunshots in an apartment, and he goes inside. Meanwhile, Troy and Brianna are in back in the apartment so Brianna can get some clothes and things, and Brianna is like, we’re here. Anthony, I don’t want to even see you. We don’t want any trouble. But Anthony’s not there. So now Brianna’s panicking. She’s like, well, who where is he? You know, he’s my person. I’m in charge of him. And she finds the laundromat pen, which has the name of the laundromat. And she’s like, oh, right. He went to go talk to that weird guy at the laundromat. So she goes down there to try to talk to William. Like, have you seen him? I know you were talking about Candyman with him. She goes in the back room and she sees Anthony’s knit cap on the desk. She’s like, okay, so he’s been in here and she opens a door in the back of the room and it goes, there’s stairs down to the basement. And she looks there. She says nope and shuts the door which is also funny. Jordan Peele having co-written it. And I took it as like a nope, you know, a nod to the movie. She goes to leave the office, only to find the door is locked behind her and she bangs on it. But the actual laundromat is full of dryers and washers, so it’s kind of noisy. Unfortunately, by the time somebody turns around to look. William has grabbed her from behind and dragged her away. We then flashback to William as a kid, Billy, and he’s begging his sister to let him play Candyman with them, and his sister’s like 13 with like her girlfriend. It’s like, get out of the bathroom. This is not for kids. This is like a grown up stuff. Shuts the door and he’s sort of fuming, walking around the living room. And then here’s them do Candyman five time and go silent. And he pushes open the bathroom door, only for it to hit something. His sister’s dead body. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: And there’s blood everywhere. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, no. 


Halle Kiefer: And he looks up to see. Sherman, who of course, is already dead, holding his bloody hook to his mouth. And he says. Sh.


Alison Leiby: So. Sherman as Candyman. 


Halle Kiefer: Sherman as Candyman. So Sherman has died and passed into Candyman.


Alison Leiby: Now he is part of the cabal of Candyman. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes, the Candymen.


Alison Leiby: The Candymen. 


Halle Kiefer: Unfortunately, Alison. Brianna wakes up in the abandoned church in Cabrini–Green. She is tied up to a pew and we see written above the altar, sweets to the sweet. And William sees she’s awake and says, now we have a witness. We also see that Anthony is there. He’s facing away from her. He’s in a chair facing well he’s basically behind where the altar would be. And William makes a panicked phone call to 911. He says, oh my God, there’s a Black guy down here at Cabrini-Green with a hook. He’s acting crazy. I think he’s killing people down here. He calls the police to come. And William is played by Colman Domingo, who’s absolutely fucking slaps. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s so good in this. 


Alison Leiby: What else is he in? We can look it up it doesn’t matter.


Halle Kiefer: You know, I would say when I think of him. I think of the. Oh, God. Zola, did you see that? 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Well, he was he was in that. Selma. Lincoln—


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Okay. Yeah, yeah—


Halle Kiefer: And Ma Rainey’s Black bottom. Oh, yeah. My Rainey. Yeah. He’s phenomenal. Thankfully, he gets a monologue. 


Alison Leiby: That’s great. 


Halle Kiefer: I mean, he explains, you know, when something gets stained, you wash it, but the stain remains. It alters the fabric. And in Cabrini–Green, the same spot on stained over and over and over again until the fabric gets rotted all the way through and sort of turns William around and we see. Do you by do you by any chance have trypophobia where it’s like being afraid of tiny little holes? 


Alison Leiby: I don’t, but I get how that could be. Like when people tell me they have it, I’m like, understood. 


Halle Kiefer: We see that, the entire half of William’s body, including half of his face and his eye, which has turned milky white, is full of holes. Alison is turning into a kind of honeycomb. 


Alison Leiby: Ooh. 


Halle Kiefer: So he’s filled with tiny holes. 


Alison Leiby: That’s so bad. 


Halle Kiefer: And William explains, we have to summon Candyman because he has to do something about it. Only this time he’ll be killing their fathers, their babies, their sisters. He said, I knew the baby would come back here, and I knew that he could be a chance for Candyman to take back his legend. Mean. Meanwhile, Brianna has the laundromat at and she has it out of her pocket. She saw, like, sawing through the ties, and as she watches and screams, William cuts off Anthony’s hand with a hacksaw while Anthony doesn’t even react, he just sits blankly, staring. 


Alison Leiby: The bad hand? 


Halle Kiefer: Rams a hook. The bad hand. 


Alison Leiby: Maybe it’s for the best. 


Halle Kiefer: He rams a hook into the stump. And he says, have you heard the legend of Anthony McCoy, an artist who died? The cops showed up and they gunned him down, no questions asked. If you say his name in the mirror, if you tell his story, then Candyman will live forever. So basically, William is intentionally putting Anthony in a legend because he believes. Because, Anthony was the baby that Candyman will be able to be summoned into reality. 


Alison Leiby: I guess. 


Halle Kiefer: So. Of course he puts. Hey, hey, worth a shot. William puts the Candyman coat on Anthony. And again, the physical transformation is complete. And he does. William Anthony looks terrifying. We hear in the distance, cop cars start to arrive, and William says the swarm approaches. And he pulls out two suckers and he says, now it’s time. Well, he basically takes out two suckers, and he goes to offer it to Brianna. And he just as he turns, Brianna is out of his seat, running out of the church, and he says, where are you going? Where are you going? She runs into the basement, and William chases her down into the darkness, and he’s singing S Sammy Davis Jr.’s Candyman. He grabs her then, and she’s able to get out of a cellar door and sort of duck into one of the abandoned apartments. He follows her and he says, hey, this is as good a place as any, huh. And Brianna stabs William in the neck with the laundromat pen. 


Alison Leiby: Good for her. 


Halle Kiefer: He drops to the ground, and then she starts stabbing him over and over and over again until she hears in the doorway, I think he’s dead. And it’s Anthony. And he walks to her and he collapses into her arms and Brianna sobs as she holds her partner and just then the cops arrive and she calls to them in the moment, thinking maybe they could be here to help. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: She says, and here he needs a hospital, Alison of course, the cops walk in and they immediately shoot Anthony where he lies. Brianna can’t even react. And the rest of it’s sort of like cast in the blue light of the police cruisers. They take her, they handcuff her, and they put her in the back of a cruiser, and one of the officers gets in and basically threatens her and says, it’s really unfortunate what happened to your man in there? We actually got a tip. I don’t know whether you know about that. You know, he actually came at Officer Jones and Officer Jones. You saw the hook, so he saw that you were in danger, and he had no option but to shoot him. And, of course, Brianna’s just shocked. That’s not what happened. She’s not saying anything. And the cops says. Or I’m trying to remember what the story is. Or are you an accomplice? Did you help him kill all those people? What story is it? 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: You let me know. And Brianna’s like, oh, you’re making me choose to lie about how you murdered my lover. And so instead, she says, could you let me see myself in the mirror? I’ll tell you everything if you let me see myself. He says, no. She says, I’ll say whatever you want if you just let me see myself in the mirror. And he does. And he tilts the rearview mirror down, obliging. And she, of course says, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman. And the cop goes, what the fuck is that? And Alison, the door’s locked. And as you watch, as a bloody cop emerges from the apartment and the other officer starts firing immediately, and we see Anthony now as the Candyman has returned. 


Alison Leiby: He’s here. 


Halle Kiefer: And he’s here. And Anthony approaches the car and the cop says, who are you? And we get in Anthony’s voice, sort of as we got from Tony Todd in the original. He says. 


[clip of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II]: I am the writing on the walls. I am the sweet smell of blood on the street. The buzz that echoes in the alley ways. 


Halle Kiefer: They will say I shed innocent blood. But you are far from innocent. Though they’ll say you were. And as Brianna watches, a swarm of bees start to form around William’s head and the door is unlocked and William disappears and the cop gets out and tries to run away. Brianna exits again. She’s she’s slower, she’s still handcuffed, and we hear the cops screaming. And by the time she gets there, she finds Candyman is slaughtering the cop, slitting his throat with this hook and Candyman’s head is entirely bees. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: And he floats to Brianna. And when the bees disappear, we see his face and it’s Tony fucking Todd, the original fucking Candyman. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Williams, questionable plan has succeeded. And he’s I’m sure it’s like a CGI version of him from the original movie. He’s looking good as hell. 


Alison Leiby: Good for home.


Halle Kiefer: And he says in that velvet voice, he tells Brianna, tell everyone. And as more cop cars arrive. Brianna looks at him with a look of understanding. So I think the idea is like she will. And then over the end credits, we see basically the story of William in Shadow Puppets. So like he has now passed into Candyman. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: We see him, he’s the artist, we see his portraits and see how he is brought into the legend. The Candyman. 


Alison Leiby: Wow. 


Halle Kiefer: 2021. Alison. What are some fatal mistakes you think were made in the movie Candyman? 


[voice over]: Fatal mistakes. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, once the bee sting and the kind of neuropathy of the arm and all like I. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: And like, after the first murder, I’d be like, you know what? This is not worth, pursuing anymore, no matter how, illuminating it is for my art. This is just not it. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. To me, it’s all. It’s the bees. Once the bees start showing on, you got. You got— 


Alison Leiby: Also his mom not telling him he’s the baby from the legend. 


Halle Kiefer: That was the fatal mistake [both speaking]. Had she told him as is in so many horror movies, you have to. If your kids have some sort of link to a horror legacy where they may be, become, or be killed by some sort of supernatural serial killer, you gotta let them know. 


Alison Leiby: You do. 


Halle Kiefer: And then finally, where would you please, Candyman 2021 on the spooky scale, Alison?


[voice over]: A spooky scale. 


Alison Leiby: I think this is a five. For me. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes I agree. 


Alison Leiby: Though all the legends and lore is really fun and obviously like, it’s like it’s gory death. Like we’re like, slitting somebody’s neck with a hook is scary. And also just, like, summoning anything, like, I think the uncertainty of, like, is it going to come? Is it not going to come is a very like chilling kind of feeling to sit with. But not so scary. I don’t think this was as scary as the original. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes, absolutely. It’s it’s a hard, bar to pass for sure. Yeah. I’m gonna say five too, because I really liked a lot of the moments, but it’s more artful and interesting. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Than genuinely scary. 


Alison Leiby: That makes sense. 


Halle Kiefer: Though I will say when her dad jumps out the window and I saw that initially I’m like ooh, that got me. Well, everyone, thank you so much for joining us. And, until next time. 


Alison Leiby: Please keep it spooky. Bye.


Halle Kiefer: Bye. 


Alison Leiby: Don’t forget to follow us at Ruined podcasts and Crooked Media on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok for show updates. And if you’re as opinionated as we are, consider dropping us a review. Ruined is a Radio Point and Crooked Media production, we’re your writers and hosts Halle Kiefer and Alison Leiby. This show is executive produced by Alex Bach, Sabrina Fonfeder and Houston Snyder, and recorded and edited by Kat Iossa. From Crooked Media our executive producer is Kendra James with production and promotional support from Ari Schwartz, Kyle Seglin, Julia Beach, Caroline Dunphy, and Ewa Okulate.