Sleepy Hollow title

Tag line : Heads will Roll

Sleepy HollowOne of the better horror films to emerge in recent years was this highly enjoyable adaptation of Washington Irvine's classic headless horseman story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by gothic director Tim Burton.

Set in the late 1700's, Johnny Depp stars in the role of Ichabod Crane, the New York police constable who is sent to the small town to investigate a series of grisly murders that have been occurring there. The locals believe it to be the work of the legendary "headless horseman", who supposedly haunts the nearby woods. Of course, being a man of science, Crane doesn't believe this and sets about with these new scientific gadgets trying to try and discover who the real killer is.

However, one town member Katrina Anne Van Tassel (played by Christina Ricci, who looks quite different to how she appeared in "The Adams Family") is certain that the local legends are all too real, and as his investigation progresses, and the bodies of more decapitated townsfolk begin to pile up, Crane begins to fear that she could be right.

Produced by Francis Ford Coppola, this is arguably one of Tim Burton's best films and is arguably the finest adaptation of the Headless Horseman story to date. As with many of Burton's movies, the film is very dark and atmospheric, and boasts a plethora of visually stunning sets. There are some great scenes of action, particularly where the horseman lays siege to the townsfolk who are holed up in the local church, and horror fans will not be disappointed with the scenes where the horseman goes on the rampage decapitating the townsfolk.

The mixing of both English and American actors, including Martin Landau (in an uncredited role), Casper Van Dien, Christopher Lee (ol Dracula himself), Richard Griffiths and Miranda Richardson (Queenie from "Blackadder") in my view worked very well. Christopher Walken also makes an appearance, aptly cast as the demonic looking pre-headless horseman. If you haven't seen this film, I would recommend doing so at once!

Overall Marks : 8/10

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Alternate tag lines, "Close Your Eyes. Say Your Prayers. Sleep If You Can", "You can lock the doors. You can bolt the windows. But can you survive the night?"

  • Christopher Walken, who plays the Headless Horseman, played a schoolteacher in the Steven King adaptation "The Dead Zone", in the beginning of which he tells his class to read "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

  • Ray Park was the stunt double for the headless horesman, he also played Darth Maul in "Star Wars : The Phantom Menace". Coincidentally, Christopher Lee and Ian McDiarmiad also star together as Sith Lords in "Star Wars : Attack of the Clones" .

  • The films budget was $65 million.

  • The film was shot using a blue filter, so bright orange fluid had to be used to simulate blood so that it would appear red through the filter. However, in some scenes, most notably when Lady Van Tassel recounts when she killed the maid, the blood can be seen to be it's original orange colour.

  • Whilst the majority of sets where located at Leavesden and Shepperton studios in London, the production crew actually built an entire Sleepy Hollow town in the Hertfordshire Countryside which was used for the majority of external shots.

  • Director Tim Burton said that his main inspiration for the look and feel of the film was from the 1949 animated Disney adaptation of the book entitled "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". The scene where Ichabod rides the Horseman's horse backwards was taken from that version, as was the scene where he's crossing the bridge and the frogs underneath croaking "Ichabod" and "Headless Horseman" (sounds like a scene from a Budweiser commercial).

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