In the Clive Barker story on which the movie franchise CANDYMAN is based, THE FORBIDDEN, the Candyman character isn’t black. The story isn’t set in Chicago, rather England. Other than the hook, the Candyman in the story doesn’t bear too much of a resemblance to the one from the movies. That character is as much the creation of Tony Todd, and to a much lesser extent Bernard Rose, writer and director of the classic 1992 film, as it is Clive Barker. And you know what? The movie version is better. Way better. Bringing the story to America, to the Cabrini Green ghetto, adding the forbidden interracial love affair, adds whole other layers to the story, provides an energy that is the lifeblood of the original film (we won’t talk about the sequels, with the possible exception of the new one, and the jury’s still out on that one until I see it: I’m going this weekend) and of the character.
Tony Todd really tapped into something when creating the backstory for his character, something far more potent perhaps than he even realized at the time. We have to credit Bernard Rose, too, for his decision to change the setting for the flick. Clive Barker’s original story addresses class stratification. That same topic is still present in Rose’s film, only amplified. You *could* do a Candyman movie with a white killer set in England, but it would be a pale imitation—ironic, considering that story came first. Me, I prefer my Candyman in full color.