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The 2021 reboot of Candyman is already winning praise from LGBT+ horror fans for its surprisingly progressive treatment of a gay couple.
The film – dubbed a sequel to the 1992 film of the same name – hit cinemas on Friday (27 August) and immediately won critical acclaim for its deft handling of systemic racism in America.
But one of the less remarked upon aspects of the film is that it features a prominent gay couple. Misfits star Nathan Stewart-Jarrett stars as Troy Cartwright, the gay brother of Brianna (Teyonah Parris). Kyle Kaminsky appears as Troy’s boyfriend, Grady.
Candyman doesn’t exactly revolve around Troy and Grady – they’re supporting characters – but their presence is notable and somewhat surprising given the horror genre’s track record.
If you watch horror films, you’ll probably have noticed that LGBT+ characters often don’t appear at all – and when they do, they don’t tend to live very long (we’re looking at you, It: Chapter Two).
Candyman is winning praise from LGBT+ horror fans for not killing off its gay characters
That’s why so many LGBT+ horror fans were surprised to discover that (spoiler alert) Troy and Grady make it through the entirety of Candyman completely unscathed.
Cinema-goers have been taking to Twitter to heap praise on Candyman director Nia DaCosta and screenwriter Jordan Peele for creating a memorable, loving gay couple who don’t die in violent circumstances.
The film has proven hugely popular with straight and cis audiences too – critics have heaped praise on it for its innovative approach to storytelling and its powerful, passionate performances.
Speaking to Shock Ya! about his role in the film, Kaminsky said he and Stewart-Jarrett met a couple of times before they started filming Candyman so they could make sure they were depicting an authentic, loving gay couple.
“We talked about their background and history, so that when we got to set, the characters seemed very lived in, and that was a really important part of the process,” Kaminsky said.
He also heaped praise on his on-screen boyfriend, adding: “Nathan is a brilliant actor. He made me laugh so much that it was hard to stop laughing while I was on set.
“He made me feel so comfortable, and like I said, he’s incredibly talented. Feeding off of his energy inspired a lot of the choices that I made.”
Candyman is in cinemas now.