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Sleepy Hollow

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Analyse the way the opening of 'Sleepy Hollow' creates expectation in the audience. In this essay, I intend to explore several different aspects of 'Sleep Hollow', and how they create expectation in the audience. The film follows the horror genre. It cannot be forgotten that Tim Burton, the director of 'Sleepy Hollow,' also worked for Disney, and has persistently demonstrated a unique perspective on comedy, fantasy, and horror. He has created a very distinctive style. The story begins in 1799. It is set in and around New York, and in particular, the village of 'Sleepy Hollow,' where there has been a series of gruesome murders by decapitation. Icabad Crane, (who in this adaptation is a police officer rather than a school teacher) is sent to solve the mystery. His rational world view is immediately challenged by the superstitions of those around him and he is slowly and reluctantly forced to accept the reality of the occult. Later, we learn his scientific morals are based upon the trauma of seeing his mother murdered by his father for being a Witch. The plot involves Icabad solving the mystery of the headless horseman and exposing who is really behind the murders and their motives. When the opening credits begin, slow, mysterious Gothic sounding music introduces this Horror genre. A grey swirling mist surrounds the opening credits, against a black background. ...read more.


The city is seen to be safe in contrast to the country. The lack of frightening music is to me the most important reason for this becoming a safer scene for the audience. They can relax. The tension was broken in the previous scene. It is mainly the music, sound effects, and fearful faces that get the audience's heart beating faster, as they are useful devices to build tension. In the courtroom scene when the judge mentions 'Sleepy Hollow,' the expressions on his and Icabad Crane's faces become some how more mysterious, dark shadows are cast upon their faces. Even the mention of the town creates fear. The music here is eerie, and begins to create tension again, as the judge, played by Christopher Lee, explains the Crane's mission. Christopher Lee is an iconic actor for playing "Dracula" in Hammer Horror movies, in Sleepy Hollow, as is in "Star Wars" (episodes II and III.) and the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy he introduces a sinister, menacing aura and thus helps to convey to the audience what kind of film this is going to be. The close up shots and point of view shots and help us to identify with the main character Icabad Crane, as we see his facial expressions and body language more clearly, and know what he is thinking, by knowing what he is looking at. ...read more.


This music helps add a feeling of anxiety, and suspense, along side the grey and misty set. These make Sleepy Hollow a bleak and desolate ghost town setting. Even a minute from watching this film, a view could workout what type of film it is. Those that know more about the actors and director could look at the opening credits, and immediately know a little about what to expect in the film. The already mentioned actor, 'Christopher Lee' may create expectation in the audience even before watching. The use of 'Johnny Depp', who plays Icabad Crane, is a well known popular actor, and he will probably attract a big variety of people to the film, whether or not they are keen on its genre. There are usually high expectations from the audience with the use of these actors. Even though the film follows the horror genre, it has some comedic elements. We see comedy when people are decapitated by the headless horseman, and special effects are used to makes there head spin round in a very unreal manner. This helps lighten the film slightly, and stops it from becoming too dreary, and too serious. Very occasional humour is used as comic relief, to break tension. Overall, the opening of 'Sleepy Hollow' creates expectation in the audience by creating fear, tension, mystery, and introducing the audience to a world that is visually and emotionally, a lot different to our own. - 1 -Elizabeth Gear 20/10/2008 ...read more.

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