I used to tell people without hesitation that my favourite director was Tim Burton. It seemed like for a few years there he could do no wrong. I was a fan of Tim Burton before I even realized it. As a kid I loved Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, BeetleJuice and Batman but I didn’t put any thought into who was making those films at the time. It was probably Edward Scissorhands that really made me take notice. That surreal pastel neighbourhood with the crazy trimmed hedges contrasted by the creepy old gothic house at the top of the hill was one of the first visuals that made me say, whoever filmed this has a very distinctive vision. Once I became aware of Tim Burton’s style I could spot it a mile away. This movie also made me appreciate the brilliance of Johnny Depp. Before Scissorhands he was just that guy from the stupid movie Crybaby that my little sister watched over and over again. (I later came to appreciate Depp’s performance in that film, as well as the trashy charm of the director of that film, John waters) Depp pulled off Edward Scissorhands so well that he officially became my new favourite actor. Sorry Christian Slater. I followed both Burton’s and Depp’s careers from there on out never missing a project. Each time they teamed up together was an absolute delight. Reunited first in the underappreciated film Ed Wood and then again in Sleepy Hollow.
This is where I would normally start talking about the Sleepy Hollow figure but I’m going to stay on (off?) topic for a second though. After what seemed to the perfect symbiotic Hollywood relationship producing great films together year after year in the 90s and into the 2000s what the hell happened to these two? Their latest offerings have been getting worse and worse that I actually think they should be banned from working together again. Corpse Bride? Weak: like Nightmare before Christmas’s red-headed step child. Sweeny Todd: Looked great, I’ll give them that, but the music…ugh. Charlie and the Chocolate factory: Gene Wilder any day please and thank you. Alice In Wonderland: Sucked. And now Dark Shadows is set for release soon and looks to be another train-wreck. Johnny still manages to sneak out decent movies here and there, Public Enemies and Rum Diaries but Burton seems to have run out of gas completely. I hope he proves me wrong someday, the sooner the better.
Anyway, this figure is from the last good pairing of the two: Sleepy Hollow. Depp was his usual quirky charming self and made for an excellent Ichabod Crane. The creepy gothic style of the town buried in perpetual fog was classic Burton. The Headless Horseman who is the ghoul at the heart of this tale was full on awesome. In the scenes where he had a head he was played by the ever-creepy Christopher Walken who’s even creepier with a mouth full of shark teeth. In the scenes where he was sans head he was played by the amazing Ray Park (Darth Maul/Snake-Eyes) which made for some sweet sword play. This figure by McFarlane toys is a great representation of the character. There was another version available, mounted on his demonic steed which was pretty cool but as is the problem with many McFarlane toys it was built almost more as a model than a toy. The horse riding version couldn’t be removed from his horse without having super weird looking horse riding leg syndrome. He would forever be cursed to ride that horse and isn’t this dude cursed enough already? I opted to go with this standing version. This figure really shows off the detail of the costume with its chainmail and leather. The Horseman came with everything you would want him to, a couple of heads to lug around, an axe, and optional heads to place on his shoulders, either that of Mr. Walken or a skull which represents the character mid-transformation. I wish he was more posable but at least his pose is nice and neutral and good for display. 6 out of 10