For this 31 Days of Halloween, I’ve focused mainly on newer content and films from the last few years. However, sometimes you just need an oldie but goodie. That brings me to one of my all-time favorites, Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow. The 1999 film is such a wonderful adaptation of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” with stunning visuals and full of fun performances by Burton favorites.
In 1799, Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp), a police constable, is called to the small village of Sleepy Hollow after a string of gruesome murders. The victims have all been decapitated, leading the townspeople to believe that the Headless Horseman (Christopher Walken) is out for vengeance.
Ichabod is not too keen on this explanation, as he isn’t much of a believer in the supernatural. Although he’ll soon realize the legend of the Horseman is very, very real.
While the film has some subtle humor and seems very satirical at times, it holds onto that dark sense of dread throughout. From set design, to costuming, to the practical effects, everything about this film is just so perfectly moody. The way the fog travels throughout Sleepy Hollow, almost as though it’s alive. The dark whimsy of the film is keeps the horror ongoing, even when the Horseman isn’t chopping off heads.
It’s truly one of Burton’s best films and shows his brilliance as a filmmaker, who surrounds himself with a team of equal talent, including his longtime collaborator, Production Designer Rick Heinrichs. The tone in every Burton film is only as good as he is with his team, and his earlier films are the perfect example of that.
Sleepy Hollow is definitely one of those classics, that beautifully matches a standard gothic style with the eccentric nature of Burton. It’s why it’s one I always love to watch the month of October.