Say it Again

Belief and Narrative Repetition in the Candyman Stories


  • Kari Sawden Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland


Candyman, Folk Belief, Narrative, Ritual, The Forbidden


This paper examines the use of repetition in Clive Barker’s “The Forbidden” and the four Candyman movies inspired by it. Using a folkloric lens rooted in the study of folk beliefs and the repeated rituals and narratives that emerge from them, it explores the power associated with Candyman and his stories. Of particular interest are the unofficial and lived experiences of those who share these tales and how they stand in contrast to the institutions, primarily academic and legal, that dismiss their validity and, consequently, the associated communities. Finally, this paper focuses on the subversive power of Candyman emerging from ritual repetitions to further destabilise official power structures and narratives as he seeks to negotiate his own identity.