It was a Horseman, a Dead One. Headless: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

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It was a headless horseman… But it was a headless horseman…you must believe me. It was a horseman, a dead one. Headless.

I saw this years ago with my sister. She probably shouldn’t have shown it to me as I was too young to be watching an “R” rated film, and all I mostly remember is being confused.

confused

Ichabod Crane was detective not a teacher?

What?

What?

The horseman didn’t follow the correct rules of not being allowed to cross over the bridge. That made me so mad as I had read the book!

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And there were these weird flashbacks of Ichabod; lots of witchcraft; and the worst performance of Christopher Walken…I don’t know it didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

Whattheheck

So whenever I do Horrorfest, I always plan out ahead of time the things I will review and then because of life when I actually do the reviews, half the things I choose end up not making it into Horrorfest, but are changed out with other films. This film, however, was not one of those. From the beginning of Horrorfest I had wanted to review it.

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You see I had decided it was time to do a Tim Burton film, and choose Sleepy Hollow. I then ended up adding Corpse Bride into the mix as that film I just happened to see. So with Corpse Bride filling that quota, did I need to review Sleepy Hollow?

suspicious Hmm

Well , yes. You see I decided this year I am going to go through my old posts and do films I mention in them, along with remakes and sequels. Tying the old to the new. As I reviewed Disney’s Sleepy Hollow during the original Horrorfest, I decided to bring it back.

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

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

So now as an adult, older I decided to watch it. And what did I think?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

You as in the film

You as in the film

I thought it was horrible. First let’s look at Johnny Depp’s character Ichabod Crane. In New York he is “forward thinking” and “ahead of his time”.

as always

as always

Tim Burton really needs to move on from that theme it is boring to see it in every film he does. Anyway, Ichabod is a constable, police officer, but America didn’t have a police force until 1838, and New York didn’t have it until 1845. If the film takes place in 1779, he couldn’t be a police officer.

stupidmoranhmm_yes_i_see_youre_a_moron_trollcat

Does Burton do any historical research?

Or do anything

Or do anything

So he’s all advanced that no one understands him.

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He gives a powerful speech, but is sent to Dutch area of Sleepy Hollow to solve their murders.

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Now when he gets there he turns into the wimpiest person ever. He faints at everything, everything turns him into a shudder; he is brave enough to go into the forbidden woods but too afraid of a Legend. You can’t have him a scaredy-cat and super brave at the same time. It just makes no sense.

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Then we have this whole storyline that witches are good, the church is bad. Ichabod’s mother was a witch, or excuse me “a child of earth and nature” killed by his father the minister. Katrina Van Tassel, is a witch and they go on and on that witches are good, pure, kind, etc.

Young Masbath: A strange sort of witch, with a kind and loving heart. How can you think [her guilty]?

But then the villain of the film is a Witch! You constantly go on about witches being good and misunderstood, and end with your crazy, vengeful, psychopath villain being the thing you are defending.

SayWhat?BuffyVampireSlayernosense

And more importantly WHAT DOES WITCHES HAVE TO DO WITH THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN????!!!!

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

But it isn’t really the films fault per say. You know how everyone is obsessed with zombies? Well I know you thought the ’90s were only obsessed with dinosaurs and ninjas, but we also had a witches craze. There was The Witches, The Craft, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Hocus Pocus, The Crucible, The Blair Witch Project, Practical Magic, Halloweentown, and even Scooby-Doo got in the act with Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)allofthemwitches

So it doesn’t surprise me. I just think it is stupid that they can “control” the horseman and provide better barriers than “holy ground” or THE BRIDGE HE ISN’T SUPPOSED TO CROSS!!!

Yes I am still angry about it.

Yes I am still angry about it.

And Christopher Walken…

I love this man but he was a horrible Headless Horseman. He WASN’T scary! Not at all. All he did was go rah, rah. BORING! Now the Disney one, that was SCARY!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This one:

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

I don’t recommend it. Visually it is beautiful but that isn’t enough for me.

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)

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For more on Sleepy Hollow, go to A Fright on Halloween Night: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949)

For more witches, go to A Book Considered Too Dangerous to Keep: The Magician’s Nephew, Midsomer Murders (2008)

For more Tim Burton films, go to He’s Married to a Corpse. He Has A Corpse Bride!: Corpse Bride (2005)

For more Johnny Depp, go to Whatever You Do Don’t Fall Asleep: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

For more Christina Ricci, go to Someone Very Special: The Addam’s Family Values (1993)

For more films based on books, go to I Came Upon a Shattered Glass Jar and Four Baby Turtles Crawling into a Strange Glowing Ooze: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

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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

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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