Let Edward Carve the Christmas Turkey

I still remember seeing the trailer with my dad at the now gone Southbridge Theatre in Littleton, Colorado. A man with long, intimidating scissors for hands is welcomed into a neighborhood, falls in love with Winona Ryder, and tries not to slice the locals during the introductory handshake.

After the preview, my dad was quick to respond, “That looks stupid.” I agreed.

Several months later, our opinions changed when we rented the film on VHS and found ourselves mesmerized by Director Tim Burton’s vision and Johnny Depp’s portrayal as outcast Edward Scissorhands. Both can only be described as hauntingly beautiful.

Believe it or not, in 1990, no one really knew who Johnny Depp, aka Jack Sparrow, was. Burton just broke eccentric ground with Beetlejuice (1988), and Hollywood ground with Batman (1989) directly after. Winona Ryder turned down the role of Michael Corleone’s daughter in Godfather Part III (1990) to play Edward’s unlikely lover.

Edward is the creation of a semi-mad scientist played by renowned actor Vincent Price. The inventor dies just before he can replace Edward’s sheers with synthetic hands. Without his master, Edward agrees to live with a visiting Avon lady (a sweet but ditsy Dianne Wiest) and her family, including the remote yet alluring daughter (Winona Ryder).

It’s the Ugly Duckling story set in the pastel suburbs. Maybe Edward’s topiary gardening and hair styling skills can help him gain acceptance.

Why does this make the perfect Christmas movie?

Aside from taking place during Christmas, there’s the monumental scene that won me over: Edward carves an angel out of an ice block with his scissors, shedding small snowy fragments over Winona as she dances in her backyard. Danny Elfman’s wondrous motif climbs to an apex, Winona smiles out of an unleashed innocence, and the darkness of the night doesn’t seem so dark anymore.

As with any Tim Burton film, it’s better to watch and listen than to analyze the oddball plot line. Simply replace “nightmare” with “dream” in The Nightmare before Christmas, and you’ll get it.

To this day, Dad and I still talk about Edward, his struggle, and the enchanting mystery behind it all.

Edward Scissorhands would later be turned into an unfortunate musical parody, Winona has been revitalized through Stranger Things, Tim Burton is now a household director name among the greats, and Johnny Depp…

Who knows where his head has been for the last decade.

Perhaps Edward could help sew it back on.

Edward Scissorhands (1990) **** out of *****

16 thoughts on “Let Edward Carve the Christmas Turkey

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  1. Hey Bern! Your memory is perfect ( seeing the preview and thinking…. so stupid… but then seeing the film … WOW! Just wonderful !)
    You may not remember that I produced a Carpet Exchange TV commercial directly stealing from this movie. You could never do this today. It only ran for a week on Denver TV stations. Dennie Odette, the owner of Carpet Exchange, stood in front of rolls of carpet, wearing my black ski gloves, with cut out swords of cardboard, painted silver, resembling Edward ‘s. Scissorhands . I was in the background, holding a bag of spoons forks and knives. I shook the bag a bit every time Dennie moved his “ Scissorhands “. Hi… I ‘ Dennie Odette… and at Carpet Exchange this week, we are SLASHING carpet prices!!! He swings down his hands, I shake silverware bag. It was a total ripoff of the movie and if done today, there would likely be legal consequences. Anyway, this is a great film in many ways and glued my respect for any Tim Burton film. It’s a “dream like touch”. Love you, Man! Y O D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dad! He does have a “dream like touch!” And, I totally remember that commercial! How did they not get accused of copyright infringement? I remember the “Johnny Depp” actor was creepy looking, hahaha!

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  2. This is one movie that I love the “look” of… Pastel is the right word and then you have Edward’s home to counterbalance the look.
    The suburb looked like it was out of a dream as people think one should look like.

    Depp made some really good movies back at this time…this one and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape are two that come to mind. Then the Pirate movie came and things changed a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it was creepy that a lot of the 80s-built neighborhoods around where I lived actually looked like that!

      Yes, I think money and drugs got to Depp’s head. The Disney pirate movies were beyond extravagant and ultimate cash grabs. “Gilbert Grape” is among his best 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He had such a good eye for scripts…Benny and Joon…while not a masterpiece is a very cool movie if you are a fan like me of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.
        I had a friend in the mid to late nineties ask me who my favorite modern actor was…I said Depp and he couldn’t believe I would like some one so not well known…who was in “wierd movies”….after the Pirates movie…he was all about Depp…I told him…you are so damn Mainstream it isn’t funny.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I have a place in my heart for Benny and Joon as it was filmed at the Spokane Pavilion near Gonzaga, where I went to college. A great study of mental illness/obstacles probably worth seeing again today!

          Yeah, I’d say it was the eccentric, Tim Burton Depp that changed the moment he put on the pirate hat, and you couldn’t understand a word he said!

          My personal favorite Depp movie is Finding Neverland, which is a guaranteed cry for me…

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Benny and Joon was the first movie Jennifer my wife and I ever saw together…so it means something but yes it is a great study… love his routines in it also.

            He used Keith Richards as a model for the Pirate which made sense! Not saying he did a bad job but it changed after that.
            I haven’t seen Finding Neverland believe it or not…I need to.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Yes, the Charlie Chaplin/Buster Keaton appreciation is key 🙂 Thanks for bringing it up – I’m adding it to my review list. I miss this movie.

              I’m still a huge fan of the first Pirates movie (wow, that music!), but I find it shameless how many sequels and prequels followed. It’s the only part of moviemaking that I can’t stand.

              (That, and the excessive amount of CGI we see practically everyday!)

              Finding Neverland – speechless.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. “Finding Neverland – speechless.” lol I know I know…I’ve seen ALOT of his movies…NIck of Time…just a lot but how I missed that one I don’t know…I will though.

              Sequels…I don’t like them usually but I have a sickness…I can’t NOT watch them. It’s like I have to know…even if I know it will be bad…I have to watch the sequel.

              Bailey has told me that they are making a sequel to The Joker…if they do…I don’t think it will add up.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. No, haha, the movie itself left me speechless. It will for you too! The ending is so strong.

              Yeah, I have to watch them through their sequels too.

              Oof…Joker. I wasn’t a fan. It should have been called Joker Rips off Taxi Driver or Joker of Comedy, haha!

              Liked by 1 person

            4. I will watch it! I have some movies in line…observationblogger has mentioned some movies as well…I’m taking off a few days coming up so I will be watching.

              Yes, it ripped off Taxi Driver for sure…that is probably the reason I liked it lol. I like the setting…but a sequel will turn it into a regular superhero movie.

              Liked by 1 person

            5. Haha! This is the best time to catch up on movies. Today is my first day off for Christmas break. So many to see! I also like compiling my top ten list of the year. There will be a few in waiting like 1917 because of their later release in Denver, but it’ll be fun reflecting on the year. Happy watching to you as well 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

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