Sleepy Hollow (1999)


Directed by: Tim Burton

Written by: Andrew Kevin Walker


Johnny Depp .... Constant Ichabod Crane
Christina Ricci .... Katrina Anne Van Tassel
Miranda Richardson .... Lady Mary Van Tassel/The Western Woods Crone
Marc Pickering .... Young Masbath
Michael Gambon .... Baltus Van Tassel
Casper Van Dien .... Brom Van Brunt
Jeffrey Jones .... Reverend Steenwyck
Christopher Lee .... Burgeonmaster
Richard Griffiths .... Magistrate Samuel Philipse
Ian McDiarmid .... Dr. Thomas Lancaster
Michael Gough .... Notary James Hardenbrook

Special Appearance:

Christopher Walken .... The Hessian Horseman

Release Date: Theatrical: November 19, 1999

*Images courtesy at:





Three people are decapitated by a headless horseman who was decapitated with his own sword and had his horse killed as well during a British war and their heads have disappeared in a town called Sleepy Hollow in 1799 AD so an eccentric policeman investigator Constant Icabod Crane (Johnny Depp) is sent there to put a stop to the horesman's evil deeds and brought back to his town for questioning. Ichabod falls in love with a young lady Katrina Anne Van Tassel (Christina Ricci) who has a secret ties to the supernatural power and has an aid of a young boy Young Masbath (Marc Pickering) to question some locals about the headless horseman and how to stop him as he seems invincible including a backwoods witch and to find any evidence as possible.


A terrific film to watch close to Halloween and loosely based on Washington Irving's book which was also made into a small Disney cartoon as I always enjoyed watching the Disney special close to Halloween. However, this film is not a comedy like the Disney special as it is very dark and gruesome. Lots of great effects and scenery throughout this whole film.
The beginning to this story was impressive revealing the Headless Horseman slaying off a head of one of the local village people trying to get away with his horses along with Ichabod Crane being sent on a mission to find out who is killing these locals as well as some strict townspeople which seemed to bring the stroy together nicely. The opening credits also looked nicely done showing the words appearing and fading away in a foggy type of fashion too which suited the film incredibly well.
There's a nice conversation between a constable commanding Ichabod on where he needs to go to about some unsolved murders which seemed strongly done and in a good serious matter too.
A good shot looking up on Ichabod trembling after what is told about the story of the Hessian Horseman which showed some good humor.
Many good flashback sequences as to when Ichabod was a child and revealing some pleasant and dark secrets about his family life as this was nicely written in to explain the story.
Then there's some nice romantic moments between Ichabod and a beautiful young lady named Katrina since the Disney version had something similar too. However, this one was way more detailed and more interesting too which makes you want to be a part of all this and the picture on everything looks very clear too.
There's a nice peaceful discussion between Ichabod and Katrina Anne Van Tassel while they explore a burned down home which their communication towards one another seemed naturally pleasant.
There's also a joke to the film which pays a tribute to the Disney version when Ichabod is nervous walking with his horse through the tunnel bridge and then what seems to be the Headless Horseman apperaing with a lit up jack o lantern and throwing it towards him. I was just thinking "What a perfect touch. Bravo!"
There's terrific suspenseful shots on Ichabod falling to the ground and trying to scramble away from the headless horseman after a head is decapitated which was highly energised.
Plus we get the odd nightmare sequence which is a real thrill for anyone who enjoys these types of horror flicks wondering if some of this will reveal later on too.
The Headless Horseman speeds through the wooded area as well as some misty parts too with some lightning which really spraks stuff up for the story in which the effects are amazing plus there's alot of horrific moments that Ichabod encounters this devilish ghost making you wonder if he will kill him too. The story does show the odd humoress moments to keep up with the Ichabod tradition like him quivering in his bed sheets or being scared of a spider and at the same time is done in a serious fashion too by not letting the comedy go too far.
Then while watching the film someone tries to kill this Headless Horseman and capturing him. Right away I was wondering if they will reveal this ghost or not since they are up close with him and also gives you the chills that he will be slayed like the rest of his vitims for messing with him too.
A real exciting plot that was put in is when Ichabod and a couple of other people go and visit an old creepy looking tree and spot blood oozing out of it. You really stay peeled to the set wondering what is behind all of that. There's also a note coming from Ichabod explaning about the tree leading to another world or dimension which is incredibly imaginative especially since it's very dark when they are there with mist surrounding it.
There's a good sharp argumentive discussion between Ichabod towards Katrina as well as a nice close up shot on her getting up on her horse and turning her head to him with a cold response which seemed very impressive.
There's a good shot on the headless horseman towards Lady Mary with a nice swing of his sword in the air towards her.
Nice dark discussions between Ichabod and Lady Mary Van Tassel in a backwoods cave with her acting crazy by making up a potion as well as her leaping on him pinning him down going wild which looked creepylike and gothic.
There's more terror and excitement with this Headless Horseman galloping to a church and wrecking havoc there which alot of great action is occuring in each little moment as well as many great suspenseful shots on people panicking and running into the cathedral as well as moments with Reverend Steenwyck going in a rage towards Baltus with accusations which looked well done too.
To top it all off there's a backwoods witch doing witchcraft as this is the perfect touch to the film and explaining on how this Headless Horseman always rises to create more killings by chopping off people's heads.
There's some good close up shots on Lady Mary slicing her hand and drawing blood to do a spell along with a nice cold and evil sneering discussion towards Katrina which was greatly done too.
Many terrific camera shots on Ichabod on a coachhouse battling against the Headless Horseman which looked powerfully choreographed along with the blocking too.
Great struggling moments between Ichabod and Lady Mary wrestling on the ground while trying to reach for a skull on the ground as this was incredibly powerful.
Bottom line is that this is a superb horror film and is what you picture in a dark spooky ghostlike story. For any fans who enjoy mysterious ghost movies who decapitate their victims this one is for you without a doubt. It works on it's own totally and quite original too while borrowing some of the similar chemistry to the Disney story.

The acting is superb. Johnny Depp (Ichabod Crane) who played the title role was spectacular and this is his best performance as his does so well with his English accent and even sounds different than how he normally talks. He is both witty and serious at the same time with his character. He works well with everyone in this film and knew his part inside out. Does well introducing himself to the townspeople and why he is there in which this almost seems to be in a similar style like watching a Shakespeare performance in which he performs this moment very strongly. Reacts well when he tries to not act grossed out while doing a test on a decapitated body kneeling down and just trying to get it together which looked crisply done. He shows great energy trying to cut deeper and deeper into a tree that is bleeding. Does well getting forceful and demanding towards his fellow actor. He hasn't acted in a horror film since he debut acting in A Nightmare On Elm Street. Good stuff Johnny!
Christina Ricci
(Katrina Anne Van Tassel) has a nice soft touch to her presence in the film almost like a Snow White type of fashion on how she came across with everything. She shows a nice girl type of appeal as well as being believeably charming in her role to top it all off. She expressed a great calmness to her role too. She's what you'd picture in a dreamkike fantasy by what she does.
Miranda Richardson (Lady Mary Van Tassel) shows a perfect versatality in her character as a calm and mello stepmom but yet shows a nice evil rage in her role as a witch. She knew on how to speak coldly and viciously in her part of the film as well as acting violent too. There's not a lack of energy coming from this person at all.
Michael Gambon (Baltus Van Tassel) shows a good seriousness and upfront behavior in his part of the film which came off fairly strong and he got into his role comfortably well too. A great shocked reaction on him after spotting a deadly incident. He was a nice drawing card to the story as one of the main village people in sleepy hollow and a true character actor too.
Marc Pickering (Young Masbath) brought on a nice clean cut type of charm to his role as the young teenage lad in the film helping out on the case which he seemed to come off nicely as those types that are ready for any types of challenge to what he had to do in order to help out. He seemed outgoing enough as well as bringing on a nice mature serious attitude too.
Michael Gambon (Baltus Van Tassel) was a great key role with his eccentric and mysterious type of personality as well as showing off well in his role. He brings some good emotions of quivering fear to what is brought upon him too. A great stunned reaction after he is stabbed with a wooden fence poll.
Christopher Walken (The Hessian Horseman) didn't have a huge role in the film but he was the main target in which I felt was necessary to mention him. He really knew on how to act monstrous performing a great outrage with everything that he did. I have never seen him play a role like this one and you will see what I mean when you watch him in his 4 minute entire appearance throughout the story.

Lots of depcapitations with plenty of blood.
A sharp fence poll stabs through a man's chest.

Danny Elfman performed great classical music in this film as it suits the flick very much so with alot of the heavy trumpet playing along with fast suspenseful violin orcestra music for alot of the suspenseful scene's. There's great heavy drum boomings along with the odd bell chimings and cymbals clashing too. The coalising chants were greatly done too which gives it a real chilling feel to the story.

Ichabod Crane: The millennium is almost upon us. In a few months, we will be living in the nineteenth century. But our courts continue to rely on medieval devices of torture.
High Constable: Stand down.
Ichabod Crane: I stand up for sense and justice.

Ichabod Crane: Villainy wears many masks, none of which so dangerous as virtue...

Ichabod Crane: It is truth, but truth is not always appearance.

Brom Van Brunt: We haven't heard your name yet, friend.
Ichabod Crane: I have not yet said it.

Lady Van Tassel: Watch your heads.

Katrina Anne Van Tassel: I have shed my tears for Brom... and yet my heart is not broken. Do you think me wicked?
Ichabod Crane: No... but perhaps there is a little bit of witch in you, Katrina.
Katrina Anne Van Tassel: Why do you say that?
Ichabod Crane: Because you have bewitched me.

Reverend Steenwyck: Their heads weren't found severed. Their heads were not found at all.
Ichabod Crane: The heads are... gone?
Notary James Hardenbrook: Taken. Taken by the headless horsemen. Taken back to hell.

Young Masbath: Is he dead?
Ichabod Crane: That's the problem. He was dead to begin with.

Katrina Anne Van Tassel: Good-bye, Ichabod Crane. I curse the day you came to Sleepy Hollow.

Ichabod Crane: You believe the father killed her?
Samuel Philipse: The Horseman killed her.
Ichabod Crane: How often do I have to tell you? There is no Horseman, never was a Horseman, and never will be a Horseman.
[Pulls a pendant off of The Magistrate's neck]
Ichabod Crane: What is that thing?
Samuel Philipse: It's my talisman. It protects me from the Horseman.

Ichabod Crane: It was a headless horseman.
Baltus Van Tassel: You must not excite yourself.
Ichabod Crane: But it was a headless horseman.
Baltus Van Tassel: Of course it was. That's why you're here.
Ichabod Crane: No, you must believe me. It was a horseman, a dead one. Headless.
Baltus Van Tassel: I know, I know.
Ichabod Crane: You don't know because you were not there. It's all true.
Baltus Van Tassel: Of course it is. I told you. Everyone told you.
Ichabod Crane: I... saw him.

Baltus Van Tassel: The horseman was a Hessian mercenary sent to the shores by German princes to keep Americans under the yoke of England. But unlike his compatriots, who came for money, the horseman came for love of carnage.

Ichabod Crane: We have murders in New York without benefit of ghouls and goblins.
Baltus Van Tassel: You are a long way from New York, constable.

Samuel Philipse: Five victims in four graves.

Ichabod Crane: Katrina, why are you in my room?
Katrina Anne Van Tassel: Because it is yours.

Ichabod Crane: [opens the book] It was your mother's?
Katrina Anne Van Tassel: Keep it close to your heart. It'll show protection against harm.
Ichabod Crane: Are you so certain of everything?

The Burgomaster: Remember it is you, Ichabod Crane, who is now put to the test.

Katrina Anne Van Tassel: Is it Theodore?
Ichabod Crane: No, pardon Miss, I am only a stranger.
Katrina Anne Van Tassel: Then have a kiss on account.

Ichabod Crane: [to the Western Woods Crone] I should like to say that I make no assumptions about your occupation nor your ways which... which... which... which nothing to me what if you are.

Ichabod Crane: Katrina, I might have killed you. Why have you come?
Katrina Anne Van Tassel: Because no one else would go with you.
Ichabod Crane: I am now twice the man, and it is your white magic.

Lady Van Tassel: Dear step daughter... You look as if you've seen a ghost.

Lady Van Tassel: The first part was the easiest. To enter your home as your mother's sick-nurse and send her body into the grave while my own into your father's marriage bed.

Baltus Van Tassel: If you are wise, you will leave this place.

Baltus Van Tassel: [to Ichabod] Young sir, you are most welcome, even if you are selling something.

Katrina Anne Van Tassel: I think you have no heart. And I had a mind once to give you mine.

[to the horse]
Ichabod Crane: Giddy Up... no, no this way... good horsey.

Lady Van Tassel: The Horseman comes. And tonight he comes for you.

Lady Van Tassel: Still Alive?
Ichabod Crane: Run, Katrina.
Lady Van Tassel: Yes, do run, and jump, and skip.

Ichabod Crane: [the decapitated corpse of Masbath has been found] You have moved the body.
Dr. Thomas Lancaster: I did.
Ichabod Crane: You must never move the body!
Dr. Thomas Lancaster: Why not?
Ichabod Crane: Because...

Dr. Thomas Lancaster: This is most irregular, Constable.
Ichabod Crane: I should hope so, Doctor, but in this case necessary. I shall need to operate.
Dr. Thomas Lancaster: Operate? She's dead.

Baltus Van Tassel: There is a conspiracy here, and I will seek it out!

Dr. Thomas Lancaster: Enough have died already. It is time we confess our sins!

Ichabod Crane: Once more, the neck wound cauterized. The sword thrust to the stomach... the same. But, to what purpose?
Dr. Thomas Lancaster: To what is your purpose is the question.
[Dr. Lancaster inquisitively looks at one of Ichabod's operating tools]
Dr. Thomas Lancaster: What manner of instruments are these?
Ichabod Crane: Some of my own design!

[Regarding a spider]
Ichabod Crane: Kill it! No, no! Stun it!

[On Katrina's apparent guilt]
Young Masbath: A strange sort of witch, with a kind and loving heart. How can you so?
Ichabod Crane: I have good reason.
Young Masbath: Then you are bewitched by reason.
Ichabod Crane: I am beaten down by it!

[to Katrina, who is apparently guilty]
Ichabod Crane: It was an evil spirit possessed you. I pray God it is satisfied now, and you find peace. The evil eye has done it's work; my life is over, spared for a lifetime of horrors in my sleep, waking each day to grief. Goodbye, Katrina.

Lady Van Tassel: You're just in time to have your head cut off.