My blogging has been very sparse of late and I do apologize for that. Between Christmas, familial illnesses, and my own illness — creeping crud caught at LosCon — it has been a rough couple of weeks. I’m going to try to do better for everyone here and I appreciate your patience.
So last night I watched Sleep Hollow (1999), Director Tim Burton’s take of the classic story by Washington Irving. Starring Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane, Cristina Ricci as Katrina Van Tassel and a superb cast of English actors supporting out the film. Christopher Walken appears briefly, and mutely, as the Headless Horseman with most of the Headless bit performed by Ray Park.
While the core concept is taken from Washington Irving’s short story, The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow, what Burton has placed on the screen is an updated Hammer Horror film. The cast is English and speak in their native English accents — or affect one in the case of the American actors — and the culture surrounding the characters is clearly British. The nature of the courts, manner of the gentry and so on all make this film feel much more at home in some isolated area of the Britain than in up-state New York at the turn of the 18th Century.
That aside this is a wonderful film, if you like the classic look and feel of Hammer Horror. there is a delightful mix of supernatural and the mundane. Ichabod is a police inspector anxious to prove that modern scientific methods are the only way to detect and prove the guilty. he doesn’t believe in ghost and spirits. Naturally the Headless Horseman is a bit of a shook to his theory that the murders in the Sleep Hollow are the results of a culprit of flesh and blood.
The resolution of these two opposing ideas is one of harmonious balance. Ichabod can both be right and be wrong and in such we see that truth and appearance are rarely the same thing. A theme that is built upon and one that unfolds nicely in the movie.
If you have not seen this film, it is worth a look.