Candyman (2021)

“Terror in the Shadows” Featurette

One of the most applauded aspects of Nia DaCosta’s Candyman (2021) is the overall look of the film. Every frame is like a painting made by Anthony McCoy (played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) himself. From establishing shots to close-ups on the main characters, each shot is intentional and has its own story to tell. Amongst all the movie’s stills, the shadow puppet sequences are truly the real standouts.

As you might already know, these scenes are used to retell the events of 1992’s Candyman. Instead of recycling moments from the original, though, the crew wanted to harken back to the established cannon in a completely different fashion. This led to the now iconic usage of the shadow puppets throughout Candyman (2021). If you’re looking to learn all about the craftsmanship and artistry that went into making these scenes come to life on screen, be sure to watch the extra, “Terror in the Shadows” – one of the many exclusives available in our Candyman (2021) "Featurettes" section.  

Puppeteering is certainly no easy undertaking in any kind of production. The process is made even more difficult when you’re working with what seems to be flimsy paper cut-outs. However, with the right professionals onboard, the final product can look as effortless as the sequences in Candyman (2021). Those experts in silhouette storytelling came in the form of the company, Manual Cinema. It was because of their unmatched vision and dedication that the original Candyman and Candyman (2021) were able to blend their respective mythologies together into one cohesive experience.

Ian Cooper - Candyman

While watching this Candyman (2021) behind-the-scenes look, you’ll come to learn the true inspiration behind the inclusion of shadow puppets. Even though he is well-known for both his comedy and horror, producer/ co-writer Jordan Peele (director of the upcoming Nope) went to college for puppeteering. Producer Ian Cooper P.G.A. explains it best when he says that “puppeteering has been something that has been a big part of Jordan’s creative process from when he was young.” This fascination and passion of the Oscar®-winning filmmaker soon translated over into the newest Candyman rendition. 

Further along in this Candyman (2021) extra, the crew talks about how Manual Cinema seamlessly wove these segments into the narrative. Before onboarding this studio, however, the shadow puppets were nothing more than an idea. It wasn’t until production designer Cara Brower (prior collaborator of Jordan Peele on Us) found Manual Cinema that the idea soon became a reality. Using only paper models, sheers, and thin wiring, Manual Cinema told a story that was never seen in cinema before. Jordan Peele, himself, says that Manual Cinema “is such a talented group. They rarely ever hit a false note or technique.” While you’re watching these segments in Candyman (2021), you can see exactly what Jordan Peele is talking about. Truthfully, Manual Cinema connected with the source material so well that it seems rather obvious that Nia DaCosta and the rest of the team would have them onboard for such a project.

Shadow puppets provided another layer to the already renowned Candyman (2021). If you’re looking to learn more about the production of the movie, be sure to watch featurettes like this one when you buy the movie on 4k Ultra HD, DVD, Digital, or Blu-rayTM*.

*Bonus features are only available at select digital retailers. Check the retailer for details.


Like this article? Read more about the making of Candyman (2021) here: