Marshall, Kingsley ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2518-7305 (2023) WHO MAKES THE HOOD?: THE CITY, COMMUNITY AND CONTEMPORARY FOLK HORROR IN NIA DACOSTA’S CANDYMAN. In: HAUNTED LANDSCAPES 2023: Nature, Super-Nature, and Global Environments, 4-6 July 2023, Falmouth University. (In Press)

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Abstract / Summary

In North America, folk horror shares many of the themes of its European counterparts with stories often focused on a clash between the modern and the arcane, the ordinary and the uncanny. The genre is commonly located in rural environs — evident in the TV movie Crowhaven Farm (1970), and superlative cinematic releases Children of the Corn (1984) and The Blair Witch Project (1999), as well as more recent work including Robert Egger’s The Witch (2015) or the struggling Oregon town that features in Antlers (2021).
As Dawn Keetley notes, the most important conflict in the genre involves humans and their relationship to their environment. “In folk horror, things don’t just happen in a (passive) landscape; things happen because of the landscape. The landscape does things; it has efficacy” (2015). This convention is certainly true of the Candyman franchise (1992-) where the central conceit of each film is evoked by its location and its connection to slavery and, in turn, the relationship with contemporary racism.
This paper considers how the origins of this action in Nia DaCosta’s 2021 iteration of the franchises are drawn from the built rather than natural environment and in an urban, rather than rural, locale. The impact on communities in folk horror’s more traditional rural settings is often shaped by the impact of humans on their environment and the anxiety or tension this predicates. In DaCosta’s Candyman redevelopment is the catalyst for anxiety, a residual dread that haunts both landscape and its people. The central tension centres on how the built environment is a force that impacts, restricts, and imposes malevolent power upon its resident communities
DaCosta’s reboot is the first film of the franchise to return to the location of the original — Cabrini-Green, an urban housing project in Chicago. This connection to a city, rather than a rural location, echoes the franchise’s source material — Clive Barker’s short story The Forbidden (1985) — where graffiti in the Spector Street Estate, a public housing project situated in Liverpool in the UK, is the subject of a study by an academic researcher. One of Candyman’s many strengths is the relocation of the supernatural into this more familiar world — the contemporary situation lessening the distance between the dread of the characters who occupy the film and an audience familiar with stories of city decay, and fearful of crime, poor social housing, oppressive policing and a neglectful central society.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: candyman, nia, dacosta, jordan, peele, folk, horror, us, film, cinema, chicago, cabrini, green, class
Subjects: Film & TV > Film > Hollywood Film
Courses by Department: The School of Film & Television > Film
Depositing User: Kingsley Marshall
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2023 11:57
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2023 11:57
URI: https://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/5014


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