My family is very tight. And large. My mother was but one in a brood of children born in the years leading up to and following WWII. As a child, she found occasion enough to secure me in the backseat of my father’s large, yellow AMC Ambassador and take me on long drives to visit various aunts and uncles scattered across different counties in Washington state.
When we visited my Aunt Barbara, who lived nearly an hour away by car, a lifetime it seemed for 6-year old me, we would pass through a dense forest. In this forest, even in the middle of the day, the light would struggle to find our car on the road. To keep my imagination at bay, my mother would tell and retell Washington Irving’s story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”.
In 1999, on the eve of a new millennium, Tim Burton brought us his vision of the tale starring Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane, an investigator instead of a school teacher. Dispatched by his superiors from the almost-nearly-somewhat-civilized metropolis of 1899 New York City, Crane is sent North to the village of Sleepy Hollow where several beheading deaths have the populace terrified.
This update from school teacher to investigator is probably one of the best imaginable changes for a character that Burton allows to remain weak-stomached, somewhat shy and a completely unlikely hero of Sleepy Hollow. The atmosphere and overall tone of “Sleepy Hollow” make the film ideal for pre-Halloween viewing year after year.
If not for the blood, comical gore, and one isolated scene of sexuality, the film may have fared better with a PG-13 rating from the MPAA. As it is, seeing Christopher Walken’s performance as the Hessian, Headless Horseman, was probably enough to garner the film with an R rating. Walken, like every performance he has ever given, lends an utter embodiment of evil and relentlessness to the role.
Without giving away too many spoilers, Tim Burton’s vision of “Sleepy Hollow” manages to remain faithful to the overall feel and tone of Washington Irving’s story while being fresh and engaging.
Explore more –
Online: Sleepy Hollow on IMDB
Watch the trailer: Sleepy Hollow trailer