A Fright on Halloween Night: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949)


You can’t reason with a headless man.

As a kid I remember that this movie used to scare the bejeezus out of me. The headless horseman was uber creepy.

Ghosts are bad, but the one that’s cursed,
Is the Headless Horseman; he’s the worst!

But the film was amazing!

One reason why it was so fantastic was that they had the very handsome, and very charming Bing Crosby be the narrator and singer.

I love this man!

He doesn’t even have to show his face, just listening to his sexy voice is enough for me.

So Disney actually manages to do an extremely good job and creating a fun, but still creepy children’s film. They also managed to keep the story very similar to the short story, in fact taking pieces from the actual text and placing it in the film.

FYI Spoiler Alert

So the cartoon starts out with the classic Disney opening:

All fairy tales or films based on short stories and novels used to open with the pages of a book. I miss that opening and wish they portrayed it in more films. I know they brought it back for Enchanted, but I still wish there was more of it.

The first person we are introduced to is Brom Bones

I never liked Brom. He always seemed like a jerk to me. He was big and brawny, “handsome” to some; but a mean bully. He reminds me of a lesser cool Gaston. (I love Gaston, even though he is a jerk. His song is awesome)

I mean he gives liquor to animals. That’s abuse right there.

Anyways, Brom is shocked at the appereance of a new man in town. In fact this stranger suprises everyone. It’s Ichabod, Ichabod Crane the school teacher.

“Debonair and devil-may-care
It’s the new schoolmaster
What’s his name
Ichabod!
Ichabod Crane!”

He’s tall, rail thin, and has one heck of a schnozza; but I always liked him better as he was well-read and not a loser like Brom.

Icabod also loves to eat. He goes to his student’s homes to partake in their food, making it a complete part of his lifestyle.

Even though Ichabod isn’t really a looker he still has all the girls in town’s hearts a flutter.

With a voice like Bing Crosby’s who could blame them?

This of course upsets Brom, who tries his best to prank Ichabod and make him seem dumb.

Next to enter the scene is the lovely Katrina Van Tassel. Not only is she the prettiest in the town, but her father is the richest man.

“Narrator: Oh, Katrina, my love. Who can resist your grace, your charm? And who can resist your father’s farm? Boy, what a set-up! There’s gold in them acres…Dear Katrina, my love, my treasure. Treasure? Ah, that barn’s a gold mine. How I’d love to hit the jackpot. Sweet Katrina, Papa’s only child. Papa? Well, the old goat can’t take it with him, and when he cuts out, that’s where I cut in.” 

Every guy in town wants to get with Katrina, Ichabod included. The only problem is that Brom is interested in Katrina, in fact he is planning on marrying her. Katrina however is enjoying the attention of Ichabod. She likes the fact that he is so different from anyone she’s ever met.

Ichabod is able to to best Brom in every way, by using his brain over brawn.

However, Ichabod is a very superstitous person. We saw in his song how he doesn’t like black cats, walking under ladders, salt over the shoulder, etc.

Brom catches on to this and tells a horrific story about the Headless Horseman.

“Brom Bones: [singing] When the ghosts have a midnight jamboree, they break it up with fiendish glee. Ghosts are bad, but the one that’s cursed, is the Headless Horseman; he’s the worst! 
Chorus: [singing] That’s right, he’s a fright on Halloween night! 
Brom Bones: When he goes a-jogging across the land, holding his noggin in his hand, demons take one look and groan, and they hit the road for parts unknown!…I’m telling you, brother, it’s a frightful sight for what goes on Halloween night.” 

Its midnight and Halloween, and after hearing the story, Ichabod is doubly freaked out on his walk home.

Of course on his way home he runs into THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN!

 “Next morning, Ichabod’s hat was found, and close beside it, a shattered pumpkin, but there was no trace of the schoolmaster. It was shortly thereafter that Brom Bones led the fair Katrina to the altar. Now, rumors persisted that Ichabod was still alive, married to a wealthy widow in a distant county. But of course, the settlers refused to believe such nonsense, for they knew the schoolmaster had been spirited away by the Headless Horseman.”

I always thought that the horseman was Brom and not a ghost, but I like how they end it so that you can draw your own conculsion as to what has really happened.

Hope you enjoyed this hair-raising tale. More to come!

Here is a cover page I made for my facebook for my Halloween countdown

3legendofsleepyhollow101

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To go to the beginning of Horrorfest, go to I Don’t Belong in the World

For the previous post, go to They’re Here

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For more on Disney Animated Films, go to The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind

For more on Disney, go to Doors of Death

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