Sleepy Hollow (1999) – Tim Burton

DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies book takes me into classic ghost tales territory with the next film that haunts the chapter on spirits, Tim Burton’s take on the legend of Sleepy Hollow.

His bloody film, which serves as his version of the tale, also serves as a nod and homage to Hammer Films as it embraces everything that made the British studios movies classics.

Sleepy Hollow features an all-star cast that ticks a lot of boxes, horror, drama and comedy. Check out this list – Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Christopher Walken, Ray Park, Jeffrey Jones, Martin Landau, Micheal Gough, Ian McDiarmid, Casper Van Dien, Micheal Gambon, Miranda Richardson, and Christopher Lee.

Depp plays Ichabod Crane, a brilliant but squeamish investigator attempting to drag the New York Police Department into the 19th century. They are a little tired of him, so he is assigned a case in remote Sleep Hollow, where there are three murders with the promise of more to come.

Crane is determined to solve the case, but soon finds out that there is a supernatural element he wasn’t prepared to encounter… it seems a Headless Horseman is committing the murders. The ghost walks for a reason, and it seems that he may be controlled by someone in the village.

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While Crane investigates the hamlet and combats his fear, he also finds himself bewitched by the lovely Katrina Van Tassel (Ricci), but there’s no time for love when the Horseman walks.

Park and Walken both portray the Horseman and present a very terrifying, unstoppable character who swings an axe and a sword easily, ferociously, and seems to never miss his target.

The story is a little different from the original tale, but everything works to move the new story forward, and the moments captured on film are dark, creepy, and definitely make this one a favorite of mine from Burton’s work.

I love the design of the film, it’s everything we’ve come to expect from Burton, and with his usual stalwarts at his side including Deep, Jones, Colleen Atwood, costume designer, and music by Danny Elfman, it’s a perfect realization of a Tim Burton ghost story.

The film walked away with a R-rating and it’s easy to see why; it’s not afraid to splash some blood around. Okay, lots of blood, and it isn’t afraid to show where all the blood comes from as bodies are separated from heads onscreen, always to wonderful effect.

DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies has proven itself to be a great read, filled with lots of fantastic titles. The only down side is that we are coming to the end of the ghost chapter. Still, there are so many chapters to delve into, and things to creep me out, and spook me!

Pick up a copy today and find something bloody and macabre to watch.

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