Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Vintage Tim Burton Daydream Before Christmas, or Thoughts on Edward Scissorhands

Fresh off the box office success of Batman (1989), Tim Burton presented the public with his actual vision of Batman; part Pinocchio, part Peter Pan, part Frankenstein and a dash of Beauty and the Beast.  Edward Scissorhands (1990) as you are aware, is the sensitive teen boy in black vinyl who can never touch anyone because he has scissors for hands, an absurd metaphor that somehow works, carried along by Tim Burton’s tremendous visual style and the nascent star power of his greatest collaborator and one true muse, Johnny Depp.  Grace Kelly to Tim Burton’s Hitchcock (much like Danny Elfman is his Bernard Hermann), Johnny Depp embodies the character with true pathos and a childlike sense of wonder and humor, taking what could be a heavy-handed fantasy and transforming it into something wonderful and transcendent. 
Edward is a male version of Lydia Deetz, except less self-aware, and fortunately for him we have the actress who played Lydia.  Winona Ryder is Kim Boggs, cheerleader and popular girl who somehow sees past all the quirkiness and the scissors for hands and falls in love with Edward.  It sounds snarky in print, but it works, owing again to the natural chemistry of the two stars. 
While technically a Christmas movie in the sense that it’s set around the holidays, the Christmas theme is overwhelmed by the story of the outsider trying in vain to fit in, and the persecution by the angry villagers who don’t understand him.  Much like Jack Skellington hijacking Christmas, Edward Scissorhands is an early version of Tim Burton’s vision of a goth holiday Halloween/Christmas mash-up.
Horror icon and screen idol Vincent Price plays the mad scientist and inventor who creates Edward, only to die and leave him alone in his gothic mansion high above the pastel suburban valley.  Regrettably this was to be one of Vincent Price’s final appearances, in a 40-year career of over 200 roles including Laura (1944), House of Wax (1953), The Fly (1958), The House on Haunted Hill (1958), The Last Man on Earth (1964), Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965), Scream and Scream Again (1969), The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1970), and of course, Theater of Blood (1973).

my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).