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.
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.
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!)
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).
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.