EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. 1990. DIRECTED BY TIM BURTON. STARRING JOHNNY DEPP, WINONA RYDER, DIANNE WIEST, ALAN ARKIN, KATHY BAKER AND VINCENT PRICE. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
This is a visually stunning romantic fantasy film that I can never quite decide if I love or hate. Certainly there are elements in it that I love. Like the gorgeous gothic mansion on top of the hill where Avon Lady Peg Boggs finds Edward Scissorhands, the gently-spoken weirdo with actual Scissors For Hands. And the fact that the role of The Inventor, the lovely man who died before he could give his creation Edward hands, was specially written for an elderly Vincent Price.
I like Peg and her family too. Peg is a lovely warm mumsy type who takes Edward under her wing and does her best to make him feel at home in her pastel-coloured suburban box of a house. I love her firm, unshakeable belief in the power of a good astringent for the skin and the way in which she consults the Big Avon Book Of Beauty as if it's the Bible, which I suppose it is to an Avon Lady.
Did that practice ever die out, by the way, or are there still Avon Ladies working today? In this age of the Internet, selling beauty products to bored housewives door-to-door seems like such an outdated concept, but maybe the Americans still do it. If anyone out there actually knows, for God's sake let us know. That's going to drive me mad now till I know. Anyway, I do really like Peg.
Her hubby Bill takes to Edward with a surprising amount of tolerance. I even like Winona Ryder in this, an actress whom I normally find annoying. Remember Johnny Depp’s tattoo of her, by the way, WINONA FOREVER? And when they split up and he tried to eradicate the tattoo and he ended up with WINO FOREVER, for some reason? That’s a semi-amusing Johnny Depp/Winona Ryder story for all you movie buffs out there.
Anyway, I think it’s Edward I don’t like, believe it or not. I do love Johnny Depp, but only when he looks like Johnny Depp, haha. Not when he’s being one of his odd-looking Tim Burton creations, and Edward Scissorhands has got to be the ultimate weirdy-looking Tim Burton creation. It’s the kind of role that Johnny Depp seems to revel in and play really well, but I think I just find Edward too wishy-washy, wimpy and weedy and not what I would personally look for in a romantic hero.
Don’t mind me, though. The Desperate Housewives Of Suburbia are bored and horny and ‘desperate’ for distraction, especially Joyce, and they take to Edward like ducks to water. There are several funny scenes of Edward using his skill with scissors to treat the neighbourhood women and their creepy canines to bizarre new hairdos, which they seem to love but which are in reality hideous. Edward has a tremendous talent for topiary too, and the neighbourhood hedges and bushes are all soon sculpted into wacky shapes that have the distinctive Edward Scissorhands stamp.
Victoria Price, Vincent’s daughter, has a cameo role in the film as a news reporter. Did I tell you that I met her at the Irish Film Institute in the winter of 2015? She was selling her parents’ jointly-written cookery book for sixty quid a pop and she chatted away informally to the guests who’d turned out to meet her and told us anecdotes about her dear old dad.
I got to talk to her personally too and shake her hand a bunch of times, which was just wonderful. She stayed for the IFI’s screening of her dad’s film THE TOMB OF LIGEIA and I definitely count meeting her as one of my claims to fame. She’s the daughter of one of the most iconic horror actors of all time. If that’s not a big fat claim to fame, I don’t know what is, haha.
I feel like I should apologise for not loving the character of Edward Scissorhands himself, but I just can’t help it. I have plenty of love for The Inventor and The Avon Lady and even the Fat Horny Desperate Housewives of Suburbia, but just not for the metal-handed one himself. He’s just too darned pale. A pale, lack-lustre character that I can’t really dig. I’m so, sooooo sorry. Please forgive me, movie fans.
The film is worth a watch, though. The only thing it’s missing, really, is a messy-haired Helena Bonham Carter goth-ing it up as the kooky mother, auntie or sister to the Scissor-Handed One. Can’t you just picture it? Helena in a long shabby-genteel dress, trailing lace and voluminous petticoats and wisps of hair behind her everywhere she goes, lecturing us in her posh plummy voice about Edward’s back-story? She’d have been perfect for the role. Ah well. There’s always next time…
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can contact her at: