Written by Suze Kundu

Arts

Rated or Dated: Edward Scissorhands

25 years after its first cinema release, Suze Kundu revisits Tim’s Burton’s Edward Scissorhands to see if it still cuts the mustard ice statue.

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What and why

The story of a boy created by an amazing inventor in a mansion high atop a mountain that looks down on the most clichéd little suburban American town. Brought to life, bit by bit, Edward (Johnny Depp) has parts created for him until he is like a real boy. Sadly, the moment he is presented with hands and fingers, the inventor dies, and Edward continues his lonely and frightened life in the mansion with makeshift hands made of scissors.

Rated or Dated

Rewatching, I remembered how sad the story really is. When a plucky Avon lady (Peg Boggs) decides to go knocking on the door of the mansion, she finds Edward in the shadows. After coaxing him out, she sees his hands. “What happened to you?” she asks. “I’m not finished…” he says, with the cutest face you have ever seen. (If you, like me, had a thing for Goth boys back in your day.)

Avon Lady, or should I call her Brave-On Lady, takes Edward home where, I am thrilled to note, the entire neighbourhood embrace his differences, with one war veteran saying he’s the same as Edward, having been patched up after taking a shrapnel injury to his body.

Edward continues to impress with his skills in topiary, dog grooming and hairdressing.

Upon deciding that she and Edward should open a salon, a vile cougar of a woman practically sexually assaults him. He leaves frightened and shocked, while she moves from flirtation to bitchiness.

All this confusion coincides with the return of Avon Lady’s daughter Kim, played by an angelic-looking Winona Ryder. Initially terrified by Edward, she starts to warm to and care for him, despite the incessant taunting from her horribly spoilt jock of a boyfriend.

Edward Scissorhands

When The Jock enlists Edward to break into his father’s study, he agrees for Kim’s sake, but when alarms go off,  Edward is left to take the blame.

Edward returns home to the Boggs’ house. By now, Kim has fallen for him and he reciprocates by carving a block of ice while she iconically twirls in the resultant snow-like slush. Meanwhile the Suburban Nightmares have turned against him, led by Rejected Cougar. Edward is chased back to his mansion by the police but the mob don’t let him go so easily. The Jock attempts to prove his pathetic strength by taking Edward on, but falls to his death from a window. Kim says they killed each other, brandishing a scissored hand as proof.

“It showcases acceptance of people who are different, highlights the ignorance and stupidity of those who live regimented gossip-filled lives, and shows, underneath it all, love actually is all around.”

The mob retreats, leaving Edward to live alone once more in his mansion on the hill. Every year, however, he carves ice sculptures, the shavings falling on the town like snow, and reminding Kim of Edward Scissorhands.

From the moment the hauntingly dark and floaty music begins, Danny Elfman’s score sets the tone for this modern(ish) day story of a (Frankenstein’s) monster in suburbia and sucks you into its intriguing eeriness.

Admittedly, this isn’t your classic winter’s tale, but it is one I loved when I was younger – and continue to love. It showcases acceptance of people who are different, highlights the ignorance and stupidity of those who live regimented gossip-filled lives, and shows, underneath it all, love actually is all around. Hold up… I’ve heard that line in another movie.

The message remains true though. An inventor created a boy he loved – one who loved him back. A family welcomes a stranger into their home and cares about him and he reciprocates. A boy and a girl fall in love, and although the ending isn’t what you might call “happy’, they always remember each other as they carry on with their separate lives. That’s love, actually.

Edward Scissorhands remains 100% RATED.

@FunSizeSuze

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Written by Suze Kundu

Suze is a nanochemist, both literally and professionally, and a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Materials. Suze is also a science presenter, and loves dancing, live gigs, Muse and shoes. @FunSizeSuze