Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sleepy Holllow (1999)

If I insist on persisting with my halloween theme, then of course a Tim Burton movie would be involved. I've mentioned Tim Burton a couple of times and I will mention him again. I enjoy his style of movies, it's just dark, whimsical, personal, and entertaining.

I absolutely LOVE it that Burton loves to collaborate with Johnny Depp over and over and over. And I love to watch Depp over and over and over.

Verging dangerous close to a tangent, I've always wondered why I love watching Depp. There are other handsome and brooding men but I could only pinpoint that none has his quirkiness. Depp is just more willing to immerse himself in outlandish characters in an intensity that would weaken any other actor. Frankly, Depp is just sexy weird. I love weird!!!

I believe everyone is familiar with the story of Sleepy Hollow. If not then the folk tale is as follows:
In a place called Sleepy Hollow, the residents are haunted by vengeful ghost. The ghost is headless horseman called appropriately enough "The Headless Horseman". Not only is he spooky as hell, but he decapitates his victims! The town either enlists or is visited by Icabod Crane. Crane attempts to help the town and tries to solve the mystery of the Headless Horseman.


Compared to other stories (think stories collected by brothers Grimm), there are way more interesting mystery stories. Stories that are slightly more complex, exciting, fun, scary, stories with more oomph!

Stories of Sleepy Hollow are usually told in an almost comedic tone with Ichabod clumsily finding the clues. There have been many renditions, remakes, and different versions of the story. And they would just fall short of being interesting by insisting on keeping the style of the story the same.

Then Burton breezes in and makes the story the most exciting and scary version I have ever seen. Hoorah Burton!

He re-imagined the story in a way that it should have been; a scary story set in the country. He pretty much wrote a story around the elements that were already there: country, isolated town, and ghoul beheading people.

Small towns set in the country in the middle of nowhere are the perfect foundation for a scary story. Always! It's the vulnerability of the small town. The paranoia of knowing that the town was surrounded by dark enemies and no help on sight. The dark is free to victimize the town.

That's what I see in Burton's version. This small town surrounded by fog and haze. The town is so tiny and at the whim of the ghoul. You can sense the dank and depressing atmosphere. Darkness is everywhere.From the first scene of the town I am terrified.

In most tales, Ichabod is tall, lanky, wimpy, and pathetic. Some tales have Ichabod usually flailing around like a dork and he happens to solve the mystery. Hence why I love Burtons' take on Ichabod. Depp plays Ichabod as geeky ( with his gagdets and knowledge), wary, cautious, and absolutely clever. Adorable.

Burton also seems to adore having my favorite actress appear once again, Christina Ricci. She plays the beautiful and I mean stunningly beautiful love interest. Ricci is just etheral and magical. Not only is she beautiful but she is one of the most astute women in town and quickly Ichabods assistant in solving the mystery.

Although the atmosphere of the movie, the mystery, background, and the Headless Horseman makes Sleepy Hollow the scariest of all the Tim Burton movies, it is also beautiful, magical, and just wildly entertaining.

I wouldn't recommend it for kids however....

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