Each week this month, I've examined an unusual dual theme in film: romance and horror. I wondered, do the two ever compliment each other? Although it seemed to be an unlikely combination, in many films, the contrast is just the right recipe for audiences. As a relief from unrelenting suspense, or as an exciting thrill to a predictable love story, romance and horror are sometimes just the right element to keep the movie exciting from beginning to end. Now for my final Scary Romance review are two Tim Burton films.
Starring: Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder
In an ordinary suburban city, a determined Avon representative attempts to peddle her wares at the mansion on the edge of town. Peg (Dianne Wiest), a devoted wife and mother, inadvertently meets Edward, a strange combination of man and scissors, who lives alone in the dilapidated old house. Edward was the last invention of the mysterious man he called Father (Vincent Price), who died before Edward's scissor hands could be replaced with human ones. Filled with pity for the painfully shy creature, Peg takes Edward home with her, and so the story begins.
Edward falls in love with Kim (Winona Ryder), Peg's daughter, on sight but he is much too shy to confess his feelings for her. Instead, he does whatever she asks of him and obviously devoted, hangs on her every word. Initially wary of the unusual Edward, Kim eventually begins to see him as a man, which her bully of a boyfriend resents. Jealous and cruel, Kim's boyfriend conspires with others to chase Edward out of town, and soon Edward is running for his life, with Kim as the only one who can protect him.
As my first experience seeing a Tim Burton film, Edward Scissorhands is a longtime favorite of mine. No one combines the macabre and the romantic better than Tim Burton does, and this film is proof. Watch for Kathy Baker's hilarious performance as Joyce, a middle-aged sexpot determined to bring Edward out of his shell.
Thriller Factor: 8
Romance Factor: 9.5
Starring: Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci
In this version of the classic horror story, Johnny Depp is Ichabod Crane, an eccentric investigator, hired to investigate the murders of three people by decapitation in the small town of Sleepy Hollow. Skeptical of the tales the townsmen tell him, Ichabod sets out to disprove their theory that a vengeful ghost - nicknamed the Headless Horseman - is the murderer. Instead, he carefully investigates the decapitated bodies, and begins a search for their heads.
Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci), the beautiful daughter of a prominent and wealthy local, and a brave local boy do what they can to assist Constable Crane in researching the brutal murders. Although he is reluctant to believe in the Headless Horseman, Ichabod knows that he must put aside his doubts. He discovers that there really is a headless demon. It is the furious ghost of a slain mercenary soldier and he is being summoned from his grave by someone in Sleepy Hollow. When Ichabod falls in love with Katrina, he is even more determined to stop the murders because Katrina's head is next on the chopping block.
As always, Tim Burton does a masterful job of combining thrills, laughs, and love. Johnny Depp is just great as poor Ichabod Crane, a brilliant man with a squeamish distaste for his profession. Miranda Richardson and Christopher Walken also star.