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New York City Constable Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp), detests the brutal punishments that characterise the penal system of 1799. His courtroom outbursts see him sent to the town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a serial killer, fond of beheading his victims. Crane's rational mind is seriously challenged when he learns that the townsfolk believe in the existence of the 'headless horseman' (Christopher Walken, when he still has his head). With the help of his new love Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci) and young side-kick Masbeth (Marc Pickering), Crane begins to connect the town leaders to an elaborate plot that has the horseman manipulated into the role of a 'hired killer'.

"Venture into the wonderful, eerie world of Tim Burton with the marvellous Sleepy Hollow DVD. The behind-the-scenes featurette takes us into the world of this macabre fairy-tale, which is in part a love story, horror film with supernatural elements but is coloured by a tongue-in-cheek tone. While the narration is a little over-the-top Hollywood, the actual content is fascinating. 'Tim Burton's films are visual and a little strange' says Christina Ricci, describing the gothic sensibility and attention to detail. Talking to Burton and Johnny Depp, makes us realise what a seemingly well-suited pair they are. This is their third film together, and Depp tells how the specially built village is exactly how you would imagine a Tim Burton village would be like. In fact he says wanted to live there. In the cast/crew interviews, Depp confides that he actually kept that weird device from the courtroom scene that encases a man with claws around him. (Wonder where he keeps it?) Actor Michael Gambon says 'We all look strange – I guess that's why we've been cast…'

We get a real feeling for being there as we visit the amazing set built in England, and talk to special effects crew who explain how some of the stunts and effects were created. Fascinating stuff. The windmill set was too big to be built on a sound stage, so it was built outside - all 4-5 tons of it with hydraulic motor. The stunts were sometimes easier than learning the lines, says Depp. And he says didn't mind being dragged by the horses; all he was worried about, was that they might relieve themselves! It sounds as though everyone kept their sense of humour on the set, and much is said about Burton's love for the unusual. Musical director Danny Elfman talks about working with Burton: Burton never talks in musical terms, but just how he feels. Elfman found the surreal quality of the landscape inspiring and enjoyed the intensity of the subject. We talk to Christoper Walken who admits he's not very good with horses, and we watch while his special contact lenses are inserted. Sleepy Hollow is one of those wonderful films, like Grimm's fairy tales that capture our imagination, and speak to the little child in us, that is afraid to go into the forest.

There's a photo gallery with 16 stills, the original theatrical trailer, and I haven't even mentioned the full-length director's commentary. Absolutely everything Tim Burton says is fascinating. Sleepy Hollow will satisfy your penchant for the bizarre: it will thrill you, scare you and thoroughly entertain you. When you've finished watching this DVD, you'll feel as though you've ventured far into Tim Burton's world."
Louise Keller

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CAST: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, Jeffrey Jones

DIRECTOR: Tim Burton

RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes

DVD RELEASE: July 18, 2000

DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment

SLEEPY HOLLOW on DVD is available at leading retailers
RRP: $34.95 *
(* suggested retail price only, prices may vary between retailers)


We gratefully acknowledge the complimentary use of a DVD player from Philips.


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