10 Days of Halloween — Sleepy Hollow

9 — Sleepy Hollow

Last time I talked a great deal about a movie with atmosphere. It would be an incomplete venture without discussing something by Tim Burton. The man himself looks as though he fell into a patch of brambles, fought his way through to the Goblin City, lived there for a year and adopted their ways, eventually swam back through a blender, and never bothered to take the twigs, stray teeth, and human remains out of his hair. For all that disheveled mess, the man is a stylistic genius. He can look like an old bowl of porridge stirred with a shitsicle for all anyone cares.

Sleepy Hollow is the story of a man of logic and reason fighting against a spirit, the Headless Horseman, who is terrorizing a town. The Horseman is, of course, beheading the townspeople…but with a purpose. The mystery of the spirit’s rampage is only half the fun.

This tree features prominently in the movie, and I suspect it was modeled after Mr. Burton's hair.

This tree features prominently in the movie, and I suspect it was modeled after Mr. Burton’s hair.

The cast on this one is amazing. Led by Johnny Depp, we also have the scariest man alive, Dumbledore, Wednesday Addams, the dad Charles from Beetlejuice, Emperor Palpatine, Rita Skeeter, a Starship Trooper, Uncle Vernon in a wig (pig in a wig?), Alfred the butler (from Tim Burton’s Batman), Saruman, and the Duke of Buckingham from The Tudors. Oh, and the kid grew up to be that dark and brooding sort of cute. Perfect, no? Oh, and he’s almost thirty. Let that sink in for a moment.

Randomly in the fields, we have this beauty.

Randomly in the fields, we have this beauty.

Most of us have seen the Disney version and those who have are currently singing in their heads, “Ichabod, Ichaboooood Crane!” This…is not that version. The ghost is bloody, gory, dark, and exactly what you would expect from the man who gave us Beetlejuice, Nightmare Before Christmas (producer), and Edward Scissorhands. It’s remarkably gory, in fact, yet never from the actual beheadings, ironically. Remember Ichabod hacking at the tree? The autopsy? Poor, messy Ichabod.

This is just the beginning of the carnage.

This is just the beginning of the carnage.

The movie was nominated for three Oscars — Cinematography, Costume Design, and Art Direction/Set Direction, winning for the latter. That’s a good way of saying that it’s got style and art. And it has plenty of that.

The town of Sleepy Hollow, without the murders, is a beautiful, fog-filled, dark, forested, colonial town of Halloween-style beauty. It’s a place I would like my Autumnal home to be. Can you imagine? Unfortunately, it was largely built on a sound stage and there is no such still standing town for one to buy property in. It exists wholly in the mind and fantasies of those with Halloweenitis, who watch this movie, sigh, and think about how lovely it would be to live there (with all the modern conveniences, of course). This is the movie that makes it look like it could happen, and if that pesky Horseman gets in the way, well…just don’t piss off Rita Skeeter and you’ll be fine.

When can I move in?

When can I move in?

Beneath the style and beauty is a murder mystery dictated by logic and familial ties. It’s something that keeps you guessing, and it’s a good payoff. If you haven’t seen it, if you somehow came here expecting me to talk about the Disney version, then go get the Tim Burton version. If you end up regretting it…well, I don’t think you were meant to be around those of us with serious Halloweenitis. *nose in the air, judgemental*

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~ by Darren Endymion on October 18, 2014.

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