We have a tradition. Every year, at the beginning of October, we watch the Tim Burton film Sleepy Hollow. It may be the quintessential Halloween movie.

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It is a visually stunning piece of cinema that showcases Burton’s artistry perfectly. Plus, it includes so many breathtaking images that embody our favorite holiday! At various points throughout the movie, there are scarecrows, pumpkins, bats, spiders, witches, and a graveyard–virtually every classic symbol that one associates with Halloween.

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Sleepy Hollow witch.

And of course there’s the headless horseman himself, who is incredibly frightening onscreen. And his murders are intensely gruesome, thanks to top-notch special effects. Seriously, I would have been scarred for life if I saw this movie as a child. I had the book, and it gave me nightmares about a headless man standing at the foot of my bed. (If I knew that man looked like Christopher Walken, I would never have slept again!)

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The plot (which was totally re-imagined and diverges greatly from Irving’s original) is surprisingly complex. It has been transformed into a supernatural “whodunit” with several genuinely unique twists. There are some weaknesses in the written dialogue from time to time (not to mention a totally lifeless performance from Christina Ricci), but the story has good “bones” (so to speak).

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Burton’s retelling of an already-creepy tale truly brings the legend to life, while amplifying the horror of it significantly. No matter how many times I see the film, its scares and imagery always impress me.

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6 thoughts on “Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow: A Tribute

  1. I think you expressed how I feel about this movie quite nicely (though much more eloquently than I could have managed). Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorites that I watch every October generally with my youngest son (now 16). We’ve been watching it together for years, so hopefully he hasn’t been scarred too badly. Also, just wanted to let you know this is the second year I’ve been reading your blog and I really enjoy it.

  2. We do the same, Every October…i Love this movie for so Many different reasons…i want to Live on the Sleepy Hollow set..Yep.

    i remember seeing this in the movie theater, such a Spectacular night!.

  3. I watched this movie recently (it’s on my list of movies to watch during the Halloween season) and I noticed that there’s a nod to the Disney cartoon. It’s when Icabod rides through the woods with Gunpowder, right before Brom Bones scares him. There’s a frog in the background croaking and it sounds like Icabod’s name. I don’t think it was in the story, is it?

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