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Edward Scissorhands Analysis


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Edward Scissorhands Analysis

  1. 1. Edward Scissorhands is a mixture of horror, comedy, romance and fairytale. How does the Director convey these to the audience in the opening scenes? The opening titles of Edward Scissorhands show many genres merged into one. Horrors, comedy, romance and fairy-tale are all present during the opening sequences. During the opening titles of the film we see many conventions of a horror film. We see the Twentieth - CenturyFox logo covered in snow which again represents coldness and the possibility of a cold and scary plotline. The snow could also represent the winter and in particular Christmas which therefore could also show childish imagery, all children like the snow and especially Christmas so this could also be a link towards children. This is clever by Burton as it uses two genres in one for two different meanings, one person could identify this with horror films and feel scared by this opening, however someone also may watch this and pick up on the hint of Christmas and winter and feel happier. Christmas is meant to be a happy time and all Christmas films are filled with love and happiness, therefore the opening of this film could be shown as happy and warm or cold and scary. This uses interestingiconography for two very different meanings. The dark and drab colour scheme presented suggests sadness and coldness. This represents a possible horror theme right from the word go so people have an immediate understanding of what the film might be about. The creepy and eerie music right at the start of the movie also sets the tone and tries to portray the typical conventions of this film immediately so there is no confusion over the type of genres that are contained in this movie. The cobwebs shown over the strange objects we see could also prove a horror theme is shown as does the creepy castle on the hillside. This shows the viewer the potential dangers of this film for a younger audience. The conventions shown in these opening sequences are also typical of Tim Burton’s style of movie. When fans of Tim Burton saw this opening then they would know immediately that the film is from him as it contains many of Burton’s typical conventions. These are ways in which the director has conveyed the horror genre in the opening titles of the film. Just when Burton is making the audience feel scared and threatened by the movie he tones it down by changing the type of music played. The creepy and eerie sounds are changed to a more light hearted and childish tone in order to appeal again to families. Next we see small gingerbread pieces falling which again show childish imagery to yet again appeal to a younger audience. The gingerbread pieces could also represent Christmas again which we talked about earlier. This sudden change in tone represents Burtons appeal to attract a younger audience as well as appeal to adults and teenagers. The horror conventions would entice teenagers to watch the film; however the reflections on Christmas and using childish imagery would help entice younger viewers and families into watching the film. These are ways in which the director has conveyed the fairytale aspects of the film. Confusion is also a key theme throughout the opening titles of Edward Scissorhands. The disorientation of the titles and the representation of scissors during the titles are generated to confuse the viewer and make them feel disorientated this would also have links with the horror genre. Confusion could make the viewer’s feel vulnerable and threatened which could add to the suspense of the opening and make viewers slightly scared. This would therefore have links with the horror genre and shows one way in which the director is conveying the horror genre in the opening titles. During the House on the Hill and Grandmas house scenes horror is again a main theme. The blue haze around the gothic castle suggests it is of immense importance as the light looks as if it is highlighting the castle. The Archetypal (Traditional Style) gothic castle is also meant to add suspense to the scene. If we pictured a traditional style haunted house then this would be it so therefore adds a level of horror to the scene. Viewers would see the castle and would automatically picture scenes of horror so adds to the dramatic notion of the opening sequences. This is one way in which the director has portrayed horror during the opening sequences of the film.
  2. 2. The scene also shows many aspects of warmth and love, this si contrasted to the gothic castle on the horizon which shows many aspects of a horror film. The bedroom shows warm colours and a nice fire burning in the corner. The over exaggerated bed effectively drowning the small child and the comfy chair for Grandma are all typical conventions of the fairy-tale genre. The scene could almost be a mirror of the story Little Red Riding Hood as it suggests many of the conventions of the story. This therefore shows the fairy-tale genre is present during these scenes. The music also changed throughout this scene meaning it is lighter hearted and warm for younger viewers. The content in this film would entice younger viewers and families back into the film as they may have been put off by viewing the earlier sequences of the film. The warm mise-en-scene enables the viewers to see the next genre present in this film. The relationship between the little girl and her Grandmother suggests the romantic side to the film. This shows another genre present during the opening sequences. The warm colour scheme could also reflect the love in the area which again reflects romance and the fairy-tale genres. These are ways in which the director conveys the romantic and fairy-tale genres. The next scenes show us the perfect neighbourhood and the gothic castle in the background. Horror is yet again a recurring theme throughout this section of the opening sequences. The castle is a juxtaposition of the perfect neighbourhood below it, at one point we see two themes in the same shot which is a clever shot from the director but this does break the verisimilitude of the scene for effect. In this scene we see a lot of the gothic castle in the background, the castle is dark and scary for younger audiences, however Burton covers this by including the perfect neighbourhood setting below. Inside the gothic castle we see many themes from a horror genre. The cobwebs, huge door and creepy stairs suggest the horror theme throughout the castle. The music adds suspense to the scene as well suggesting the horror theme and trying to scare the viewers. The use of shadows is also effective as they attempt to scare viewers without using a direct horror film. Fairy-tales are also a key theme of these scenes. The huge door and colourful flowers of the castle break verisimilitude and create implausible worlds. This is done for effect in order to make the film less scary and more appealing for younger audiences. This is also showing juxtaposition as the colourful outside compared to the dark and colourless castle is a complete contrast. This could also be shown to portray the fact that the film is not all scary. The child like imagery throughout these scenes is made to attract a younger audience to the film and to counteract any scary scenes that may have been previously shown.The neighbourhood is also one of a fantasy and a fairy-tale; the houses are painted with bright-colours and are made to look very childish, this could be to attract younger people to the film as well as show this film is not all scary. This neighbourhood is also showing Burton’s mediated version of the neighbourhood and would not be reflective of a real life neighbourhood. The scenes seem to typically flip between the horror and fantasy genres a lot to attract as much viewer attention as possible. This is how the director has conveyed images of fantasy throughout the opening sequences f this film. Comedy is also portrayed throughout this section of the movie. The fact that Peg has the confidence to go into the haunted castle is quite comical and shows the viewers that iof she is not scared then they shouldn’t be either. The way that she walks into the castle hoping for a sale on beauty products is laughable as well. The pink outfit from Peg and the dark castle she is in is a complete contrast; she is also made to look small compared to the castle through the camera shots used in the scene. This is comical as it shows that Peg is not scared in this scene even though she is walking into a haunted house. Comedy is also shown through the huge door and the flowers in the garden. It shows that although the house is scary, there are still some things which are quite funny about it. This is used in order to attract younger viewers to the film and show that if the main characters are not scared, than neither should the viewers. This is how the director has showed comedy during the opening sequences of the movie. I conclude that in the opening sequences of the movie, Edward Scissorhands, the director has conveyed the use of different themes, horror, comedy, fairy-tale and romance through the use of the mise-en-scene and music. Warm colours and friendly music suggests a sense of love and
  3. 3. warmth, whereas the use of snow, grey colours and slow music show a possible horror theme. Camera work is also important as where the camera is placed could very easily change the theme portrayed. This mediated version of events is key to what the finished product will look like.