The Candyman is a figure that epitomizes fear of the Black male in two key ways: his aggression and his love for the white woman. Candyman’s tragic story begins when he falls in love with and impregnates a white woman in post Civil War America, resulting in the removal of his hand and death by bees. In this we see the consequences of one of white society’s greatest taboos: the interracial relationship between a black man and white woman. The purity of the white woman and the savagery of the black man are considered two elements never meant to mix and when they do the creation is met with disgust. White woman are considered the purest and most beautiful form of existence, something to be protected. The black man and his sexuality are considered elements that muddy the purity of the white woman, and the white race as a whole, so his existence is feared and punishment is dealt if he dares cross the boundaries.
Fast forward to the 90s and the Candyman has become an urban legend, a man who has a hook for a hand and bees inside his body to reek havoc. He comes at the beckoning of a privileged white woman who bursts into urban spaces without hesitation and without forethought. At this point, not only is he a black man he is also an amalgamation of several things: human, bee, and hook. His combination of human and non human parts adds to the dehumanization that he already experiences as a black man and he uses this altered body to lash out in murderous rage. By having a murderous black man as the monster of the movie, the character becomes regressive and falls back on tropes of black aggression and rage. With the black man as a monster that the audience can clearly identify with, the white woman becomes the hero, the very personification of the white savior.
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Kuhn, Andrea. ‘”What’s the Matter, Trevor? Scared of Someting?” Representing the Monstrous Feminine in Candyman‘, Erfurt Electronic Studies in English, 2000. Web.
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