Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Horror Of...Sleepy Hollow, In Short

Tonight let's let two ideas collide. Sleepy Hollow (the new TV series) is on repeats, and I want to suggest movies that should be on your TO WATCH list.


Yes, let's head back to 1999, and creepy story of greed, secrets, gruesome murder, and an undying headless horseman.

True, this is a Tim Burton movie. But when people divide the movies he's made that people think were visionary and those that...aren't, Sleepy Hollow seems to be one that falls with most on the visionary side.

And, is anyone wonders if this is a movie that's good to watch to get in the old Halloween mindset...

Any questions?

It is quite a tale. The small village of Sleepy Hollow suddenly beset by a mystery figure who is striking down citizens for no discernible reason. But there are whispers and a fearful populace.

It's 1799. And into this situation Ichabod Crane, a constable from New York City is sent, to figure out what is going on. (But that's silly seeing as we know that by then he was sleeping. Awaiting his resurrection in the 21st century.) He finds people that act eager to help, but withholding vital information. Could there be a conspiracy? Could there be witches? You'll just have to see.

It is a fun movie. It gives blood and gore at times. It provokes with imagery. But their is a fun sensibility behind it all that I think most of us can enjoy. It is also happy to use some of the pop culture imagery that we are used to in tellings of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

As well, the artistry and care of the movie shows. From it's use of blood to the all so classic autumnal look, it is often like watching a haunting painting come to life.

And along the way Crane faces buried memories of his own youth.

All leading to a final confrontation with the Headless Horseman.

It has a great cast to watch.

Johnny Depp plays Ichabod Crane. This is back in the days when he didn't seem to think he needed to hide behind a weird character. And he slips smoothly into this prim and proper proponent of forensic science.

Christina Ricci plays Katrina Van Tassel. And she also slips nicely into the role of the sweet daughter of the main political force of Sleepy Hollow, with her own hidden depths.

Michael Gambon plays Baltus Van Tassel. He's Katrina's father.

Miranda Richardson plays Lady Van Tassel, wife to Baltus, (etc.). It's always a thrill when you get Richardon in a movie. And this movie gives her plenty to work with.

We also get Casper Van Dien as Brom Van Brunt. A rival of sorts to Ichabod.

 And, of course, we get the Headless Horseman. In part, he's played by Christopher Walken (I assume he isn't also playing the role when the horseman has no head..) The way he plays it reminds me some of how Christopher Lee played Dracula in the early Hammer Horror movies.

 And, as with many Tim Burton movies, you get some old favorites

Also, you get a collection of great British actors that we don't see often enough in the United States, on the big screen.

This is a treat of a movie. It's stylish. It's grisly. And gives you a mystery to ponder as you see who will survive the onslaught of the Horseman.

It's a fine way to spend one of your Halloween nights.

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