Discuss how the climatic scenes from Edward Scissorhands and Sleepy Hollow make use of similar cinematography in order to communicate the gothic nature of the narrative Both films, Edward Scissorhands (1990) and Sleepy Hollow (1999) are directed by Tim Burton. They are both of the Gothic fantasy genre so will use very similar techniques for the films, e.g. lighting, colour, camera angles etc. Sleepy Hollow is a film about a town which is haunted by the headless horseman.
Ichabod Crane is sent from New York to investigate the goings on. Edward Scissorhands is about an unfinished scientist’s creature with scissors for hands. The scientist who created died before he was finished leaving the creature (Edward) in the isolated house on the top of a hill overlooking the town of suburbia. Edward is found and brought down to live with them. Johnny Depp features in both of these films as the main characters, Ichabod and Edward. Johnny Depp has featured in other films for Tim Burton like the 2005 re-make of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.Order now
Tim Burton uses montage editing to create panic, drama and terror. In Sleepy Hollow the film cuts from Katrina and the Stepmother in the windmill, to the headless horseman who is racing toward the windmill, and then to Ichabod who is similarly racing towards the windmill in order to save Katrina. The images are brief, this helps speed up the action and to create tension in the audience. There is tension because the audience do not know if Ichabod or the Horseman will get to the windmill and essentially Katrina first, because the Horseman is only after Katrina. However the Horseman is prepared to kill anyone who gets in his way. It also informs the audience of the various narrative strands, linking them together for the climax of the film.
Montage editing is used in a similar way for Edward Scissorhands. The film constantly cuts between Kim, Edward and Jim. Each clip shows us the reaction from each character in the fight. This creates panic and tension because when the camera is on a close up of one character, we cannot see what the other characters are doing. So when one thing happens to a character, like Kim being thrown against the wall, we do not know if she is ok until the camera cuts back to her later. When you do see the characters though, they’re only brief close up cuts and this means the audience can’t see the whole scene. However it is easy for the audience to understand what emotion each character is having because the shots are close ups.
All this montage editing happens constantly until the climax, where Edward stabs Jim and he falls out of the window. Tim Burton uses camera angles a lot in both films to change the way the audience perceive the gothic nature of each film. An example of a very good low angle shot in Sleepy Hollow is when Katrina is just waking up after being taken to the windmill by her Stepmother. The camera is looking up from the floor past Katrina and focusing on the stepmother, this gives a very good effect as it makes the stepmother seem superior and in control, which she is. It makes Katrina seem very vulnerable and innocent because the stepmother is above her menacingly and takes up a dominating part of the frame.
A good example of a low angled from Edward Scissorhands is the establishing shot of Edward’s house before the climatic fight scene. The camera is also on a tilt, this way the audience can see as much of Edward’s house as possible, it also slightly distorts the shot so the audience aren’t quite sure on what they are seeing. In both shots the same camera angles are used but to illustrate different bits of the gothic nature of each film, in Sleepy Hollow it’s the vulnerability and innocence of our Heroine and in Edward Scissorhands it’s the way the audience perceive Edward’s house.
Another type of shot used well in both films is the crane shot. In Sleepy Hollow the good crane shot is used when the horseman’s body is being lowered into the grave. The colours used in this scene contrast well as the scene is very white and pure and the horseman’s body and grave are very dark. It is as if the horseman’s body taints the pure scene, which later on it seems to as he comes back to haunt the town. A good crane shot in Edward Scissorhands is when the camera is looking down on Jim’s body after he fell out of the window.
A camera angle used specially in Edward Scissorhands is the technique of a frame within a frame, which we don’t see in Sleepy Hollow. An example of this is when the camera looks up at Edward after Jim fell out of the window, Edward is framed by the broken window as if he is some gothic painting. A camera angle used very well in Edward Scissorhands is a close up slant shot. It is after the stepmother chopped her sister’s head off. The camera is focused on the head with the stepmother in the background, out of focus. The camera is slanted, slightly altering the way the audience see the frame.
The head takes up about two thirds off the frame with the stepmother in the other third, a technique used regularly by Tim Burton. The colours contrast as the head is full of dull muted colours where as the scene itself is full of browns, reds and yellows of all the leaves. All of these examples show that the way Tim Burton uses camera angles, changes the way the audience see and perceive the gothic nature of each shot.