By Penny Theodorakopoulou,
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope this year to be the best you have ever lived!
But for now, let us start from where we left things off. In the previous part of the homage to Tim Burton, I talked about The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), since Halloween was near. This time, still exploring Tim Burton’s gloomy and goth style, we will discuss another quite popular movie of his, Edward Scissorhands (1990).
Directed by Tim Burton, Edward Scissorhands is a fantasy/romance movie that was released in 1990. Yet, the element of the goth/emo culture is more than present and visible throughout the events of the movie. Tim Burton wrote the movie in collaboration with Caroline Thompson, as well as producing alongside Denise Di Novi. Although it is considered a not-so-modern movie, since it was released more than three decades ago (32 years, to be exact), it is considered a classic favorite — be it a Tim Burton fan or a regular movie enthusiast. It is worth noting that Edward Scissorhands has won the Saturn Award in the category Best Fantasy Film.
The plot of the movie revolves around Edward (Johnny Depp), a humanoid, whose hands were scissors. Edward’s Inventor (Vincent Prince) created Edward with — almost — every feature a person has: organs, a brain, a heart, and consciousness. However, before he could give Edward real hands, he suffered a heart attack, leaving Edward “incomplete” and all alone.
Many years later, Peg Boggs (Dianne Wiest) is a local saleswoman for Avon. Having no luck selling anything, she decides to go to the goth-looking mansion on top of the mountain of her hometown, in hopes of doing the first sale of the day. To her surprise, she comes across Edward and is at first startled by his scissor hands. But after noticing that he has a gentle soul, she decides to take him back to her house. There, she shows him pictures of her family: Bill (Alan Arkin), her husband, Kevin (Robert Oliveri), her son, and Kim (Winona Ryder), her daughter, with whom Edward is in awe by her beauty.
Seeing Peg bringing a guest with her, the whole neighborhood started gossiping around about who that mysterious guest was and why Peg has not yet introduced him to the rest of the neighbors. Curious as ever, they told Peg in a not-so-discreet way to organize a barbeque party. Everyone in the neighborhood adores him, except the overly religious neighbor, Esmeralda (O-Lan Jones), and Jim (Anthony Michael Hall), Kim’s boyfriend.
Edward then trims the whole neighborhood’s hedges into topiaries, as well as helping them with anything else they need (grooming dogs and styling the neighborhood’s women’s hair). Kim, too, was afraid of Edward at first, but as she realized that he was kind and generous, she began to change her opinion about him. Edward, on the other hand, falls in love with Kim every time he lays his eyes on her.
Appearing on a TV show and being suggested to open a hair salon, Edward proceeds and does so. Joyce (Kathy Baker), a neighbor, shows him around the salon and tries to seduce him, but scares him away. Then Bill informs Edward that he needs to go to the bank, in order to get a loan so he could buy the hair salon Joyce showed him and start his business. However, his request gets declined, due to the fact that he has no background or financial history, not even a social security number.
Later, Jim tells Kim that he wanted Edward to help them steal some money from his dad’s room by lock picking the door so that Jim and Kim could buy a van that they wanted. However, they locked him up and left him alone in the house. When the police arrived, they arrested him, but he went back home the next morning. Kim is furious with Jim and Edward gets jealous because he thinks that Kim chose Jim over him.
The Boggs family is organizing their yearly Christmas party, so a plethora of preparations take place. Wanting to assist the family with the Christmas preparations, he carves an angelic ice sculpture that resembles Kim. However, he accidentally scratches her and Jim was there to witness that. He threatens Edward to kill him if he dared touch Kim again, then tells him to leave the place. Edward, angry and unwanted, goes around the neighborhood and destroys the topiaries in his way. While Kevin is returning home from his friend’s house, Jim and his friend drive to Kim’s house to find Edward, almost running over Kevin. Fortunately, Edward saves him but injures Kevin’s face with his scissors.
Kim tells Edward to run, who ends up at the mansion he used to live in. Kim follows him and talks to him until Jim showed up with a handgun, in order to kill Edward for ruining everyone’s lives and for being responsible for his break-up with Kim. After Jim beats up Edward, Kim tries to defend Edward but Jim slaps her and pushes her back. Feeling infuriated and desperate to protect her, Edward eventually kills Jim and bids farewell to Kim. Once the neighbors arrive at the mansion, Kim tells them that the two men killed each other, so no one would bother Edward ever again.
It is needless to say that Edward Scissorhands is considered one of Tim Burton’s masterpieces, even though it has not had the reputation it should have by awards. However, a variety of critics and cinephiles around the world appreciate the movie and always go back to watching it — myself included. It is definitely a movie for all ages and a great start to the Tim Burton universe. The most important message that the movie conveys is to “never judge a book by its cover”. Edward might have a “unique” look and, at first, might be considered scary, but his heart and soul were so pure and kind; we should all try and be like Edward.
Tune-up for the next part of the Tim Burton homage! I promise it will not take that long!
- Edward Scissorhands (1990), imdb.com, Available here
- Edward Scissorhands Movie Review, commonsensemedia.org, Available here
- Edward Scissorhands Movie Review (1990), rogerebert.com, Available here
- An Analysis on Edward Scissorhands, scottbarnards.wixsite.com, Available here
- Edward Scissorhands: Tim Burton’s Timeless Masterpiece, filmiquiry.com, Available here