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Edward Scissorhands

USA 1990
produced by
Tim Burton, Denise Di Novi, Richard Hashimoto (executive), Caroline Thompson (associate) for 20th Century Fox
directed by Tim Burton
starring Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Vincent Price, Alan Arkin, Robert Oliveri, Conchata Ferrell, Caroline Aaron, Dick Anthony Williams, O-Lan Jones, Susan Blomaert, Linda Perri, John Davidson, Biff Yeager, Marti Greenberg, Bryan Larkin, John McMahon, Victoria Price, Stuart Lancaster, Gina Gallagher, Aaron Lustig, Alan Fudge, Steven Brill, Kelli Crofton
story by Tim Burton, Caroline Thompson, screenplay by Caroline Thompson, special makeup and scissorhand effects by Stan Winston, miniature effects by Stetson Visual Services, visual effects by VCE

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Peg (Dianne Wiest), a naive yet benign Revlon saleswoman, tries to find new customers in a rundown castle at the edge of your typical American suburbia, but all she finds inside is a weird-looking young man, Edward (Johnny Depp), who just happens to have scissors for hands and a scarred face (from the scissors, you know) but otherwise seems to be totally harmless, loveable even ... so Peg takes him home to live with her and her family.

Peg's square and narrow-minded neighbours at first regard Edward with a bit of distrust, but when they witness him clipping sculptures out of all the neighbourhood hedges and cutting the4 most eccentric hairstyles in a matter of seconds, he becomes the talk of the town and the darling of suburbia. Everybody loves Edward, everybody but Kim (Winona Ryder), Peg's daughter, who's somehow creeped out by the weird guy - which is a pity, really, because Edward has fallen in love with her at first sight. Kim's boyfriend Jim (Anthony Michael Hall) though only sees the possibilities in the guy with the scissorhands who can open locks in a matter of seconds, and he has Kim persuade Edward to help them break into Jim's own father's place. Edward gets caught though, and Kim just cannot persuade Jim to help him.

Edward is released soon after the break-in, but now he's made into public enemy number one by the neighbourhood - only Kim starts to have feelings for Edward, much to Jim's dismay, who eventually tries to kill him, and when that doesn't work, he accuses him of trying to kill Kim's little brother (Robert Oliveri). Soon the neighbourhood is up in arms, and Edward returns to the castle he came from - where Kim tracks him down to confess her love to him. But Jim has come after her, and now he tries to finish what he hasn't succeeded in so far, to kill Edward. But now the mild-mannered Edward is pushed beyong his limit, and in self defense he pushes Jim out of a window to his death. Jim's dead body is soon found by an angry mob of villagers, but Kim can convince them that Edward has died along with Jim - even if that also means she will never be able to see Edward again, who spends the rest of his life in the castle, hiding away from humankind.

Vincent Price plays the scientist who has created Edward.

 

There are no two ways about it, Edward Scissorhands is a piece of kitsch. It's still a pretty decent film though because director Tim Burton is perfectly aware of the cheesiness of the material and brings it to the screen in a tongue-in-cheek manner - but not in a way that he makes fun of his own movie, but in a way that he lets subtle irony and satire undermine the fairy tale story that he tells in all seriousness. This is a delicate balance of course, and sometimes the film tips over I have to admit, and it's not without its boring stretches, either, but there are certain elements in this film (like the clash of gothic elements and squeaky clean suburbia) that make it almost irresisitible. And apart from that, a great cast of actors who seem to understand what Burton is doing doesn't hurt either.

All that said, only watch it if you're ready to swallow quite a bit of kitsch - then though you will be able to enjoy the film.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD