Why bees? Meaning and symbolism in Candyman 2021 explained

Darcy Rafter November 1, 2021
Why bees? Meaning and symbolism in Candyman 2021 explained
Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Universal Pictures

Fans of 2021 film Candyman, directed by Nia DaCosta, are curious to know why so many bees? Let’s discover the meaning and symbolism behind this haunted bee horror.

Adapted from Clive Barker’s novel The Forbidden – Books of Blood, the film is a horrifying tale that has created an iconic Halloween villain… so get planning next year’s costume!

The film was released in the US on 27 August 2021 but many fans decided to tune in again as a Halloween night special.

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What is the meaning behind the bees in Candyman?

The legend of Candyman sees him always with a hook for his right hand and a swarm of bees following him. Therefore it makes sense for bees to feature so much in the movies.

The hive of bees symbolises how the original Candyman was smeared with honey and attacked by hundreds of bees.

They also reflect the Candyman himself, as bees become a rarity in modern culture and symbolise a movement of personal power.

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Candyman – Official Trailer 2

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Candyman – Official Trailer 2
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What is the plot of Candyman 2021?

The housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green had been haunted by a ghost story about a hook-handed killer for years. When an artist starts to explore the history of Candyman he gets involved in a horrifying ordeal.

The production was filmed in the same Cabrini-Green neighbourhood where the original Candyman (1992) was filmed. The high-rise buildings have now been demolished and replaced by a Target store but the rowhouses still exist.

Are the bees in Candyman real?

No, the new Candyman 2021 film uses CGI bees.

However, in the original film they were real and more than 200,000 honeybees were used in the making of Candyman.

The production crew and cast members all wore special bee suits to protect them from stings.

Tony Todd also requested a fee of $1,000 for each sting he received on-set. That was because Todd initially feared the number of bee stings he would have to endure if he took on the role. A specialist trainer, Norman Gary, joined the production to keep the bees under control.

Todd revealed in an interview with The Guardian: “Everything that’s worth making has to involve some sort of pain. Once I realised it was an important part of who Candyman was, I embraced it. It was like putting on a beautiful coat.”

How did they do the scene with bees in the mouth?

In the ultimate scene in the original movie, Todd hurls bees out of his mouth towards Helen. The actor had to hold 500 bees in his mouth and wear a protective mouthpiece.

Non-stinging bees were supposed to be used in the scene, however, Todd was still stung a couple of times. It even took more than 30 minutes to get all the bees out of his mouth!

The 2021 film marks Tony Todd’s fourth time playing Candyman and he was even digitally de-aged for the film. It is certainly a slasher hit you can’t miss! What a buzz!

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Darcy is an experienced journalist passionate about celebrity culture and entertainment. After gaining a degree in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths University she has also become a social media specialist, always keeping informed on the latest trends. With almost five years of experience in media, her expertise is analysing platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. When she's not tracking the latest trending content, she’s watching films and eating lots of chocolate.