Academy Awards 1999 -
Best Art Direction: Rick Heinrichs
"...As beautifully crafted a film as anyone could ever hope to see..."
Rolling Stone - 12/09/1999
"...SLEEPY HOLLOW is gorgeous filmmaking that brims over with funhouse thrills and ravishing romance..."
Premiere - 06/01/2000
"...Fine cast..." -- 3 out of 5 stars
USA Today - 11/19/1999
"...Depp is as good here as he was in ED WOOD and DONNIE BRASCO, which means the movie has a lot more going for it than special effects, as sizzling as they are..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 11/19/1999
"...Entertaining and sometimes rather elegant....This is the best-looking horror film since Coppola's BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA..."
Total Film - 09/01/2000
"Tim Burton goes to town with the spooky style and whacked-out characters that he loves so much..."
Ultimate DVD - 08/01/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "It's breathtakingly visual with ravishing production design....SLEEPY HOLLOW is an absolute treat."
In Tim Burton's stylish, creepy retelling of the classic Washington Irving story, SLEEPY HOLLOW, Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) is a squeamish, bookish 18th century New York City investigator sent to a small town in lower Westchester county to look into three mysterious decapitations. When the always rational Crane arrives at the little Dutch village, he finds that most of the townsfolk believe the culprit to be the Headless Horseman, the ghost of a monstrous Hessian soldier (Christopher Walken), who seems to be mysteriously tied in to one of the town's most prominent families. Burton's natural instincts for campy humor, combined with the hauntingly gorgeous technical work (Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography and Danny Elfman's score included), collide to create a work of exhilarating entertainment and poetic storytelling. Miranda Richardson, Casper Van Dien and Christina Ricci help make up an ensemble cast that, combined with the historically accurate village sets and dreamlike magic of the haunted Western Woods--created on the largest sound stage in film history--makes SLEEPY HOLLOW a visually stunning, gripping, and, at times, chilling film.
SLEEPY HOLLOW grossed more than $100 million worldwide.
The first two "Sleepy Hollow" films--both silent and based on Washington Irving's classic story--were both entitled THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW, and were made in 1908 and 1912.
In researching his role as Ichabod Crane, Johnny Depp said he wanted to recreate the acting style of old Hollywood horror films like FRANKENSTEIN and THE MUMMY. To create the decapitation effects in the film, each victim (aka actor) was cast in plaster from the shoulders up, then their likeness was recreated in the form of a severed head.
At times during filming, director Burton actually lent a hand in doctoring the set with paint, fake snowflakes, etc., and created his own detailed sketches of the sets and characters before filming.
Christopher Walken, who plays the Headless Horseman, admits he is not a good horseman himself, so for some of his more difficult riding scenes, a mechanical horse (the same one that was actually ridden by Elizabeth Taylor in 1944's NATIONAL VELVET) was used.
Director Burton admits he has a penchant for FRANKENSTEIN (a la James Whale) references. This is evident in the following of his films: in SLEEPY HOLLOW, when a sensational showdown occurs at a burning windmill; in FRANKENWEENIE, the windmill scene in FRANKENSTEIN is virtually duplicated; in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, a half-finished creature of a mad scientist lives in lonely isolation in a Gothic castle.
In fall 2000, Tim Burton premiered the first episode of his cartoons, STAINBOY, on the Internet. In addition to classic Burton touches, the short features a score by Danny Elfman.