Tim Burton’s Film Edward Scissorhands

We follow our flawed hero Edward, a half man/half machine whose inventor had died before finishing him (leaving him with only scissors for hands) struggling to blend into the brightly colored lives of everyone living in the town below him. Peg Boggs, a kind woman living in the town below Edward’s mansion finds him and tries to help him conform to her suburban society who takes an immediate fascination with him. However, the town ends up turning on him and he is forced to flee back into isolation in his abandoned mansion to live on his own.

Tim Burton intentionally introduces his viewers to Edward in a way that does depict him as a monster. Screenshot A is the first time we meet Edward and he is hidden in the dark, hiding everything about him except his terrifying figure. We’re meant, even in these few seconds, to jump to the conclusion that we are supposed to be scared of this creature.

Even the suspenseful music in the background pairs well with this frame to instill just a little more fear into the viewer before moving Edward a little closer to the camera, bringing him into the light. The differences between screenshots A and B are subtle but overwhelming. Edward isn’t nearly as intimidating the second you see his face. Suddenly his stance doesn’t look quite as threatening and instead of perceiving the darkness around him as something that he intentionally hides in it instead is viewed as something that hides him from the outside world.

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But the opening frame was intentional to get the reader to make that assumption about Edward: he’s a monster.

Although initially appearing terrifying, Burton uses many close-ups of Edward’s face (like the screenshot above) – particularly focusing on his eyes- to portray his innocence. This indirect-subjective shot allows us to see a little deeper into the personalities of both of these characters. We can still see Peg in the frame taking care of Edward, trying to help him clean and cover his scars making her feel motherly and caring which then allows us to start to see Edward how she may be seeing him – someone who needs nurturing and taken care of.

In the screenshot above, Tim Burton uses an objective shot that forces the viewer to look at Edward and Peg as equals. Everything about Edward; from his scars down to his literal scissors for hands – conveys him as your traditional monster, however, this shot portrays him as just the opposite: timid, uncomfortable, but almost happy – all emotions not usually shown by your stereotypical “monster.” However, Edward still sticks out like a sore thumb; not just in this shot but through the whole film. Burton uses the drastic difference in color to single out Edward in this cookie-cutter community that he has been brought into. This singled-out feel directly contrasts how inviting Peg is and reveals how she is able to see past his intimidating demeanor, but still trying to get him to conform to her own suburban way of life.

It’s interesting trying to categorize the genre of this film; judging based on just the title, it can reasonably be assumed this movie would be classified as a horror film, however it is almost the opposite. Almost nothing about Edward is horrifying (other than his scissors for hands), but his gentle personality and curious nature prove just the opposite. The movie slowly starts pushing into the romantic genre of the film once Edward meets Kim, Peg’s daughter. He often uses close-ups of both of their faces which allows the outside viewer to feel a deeper emotional connection between the two than we would for the other characters who are generally filmed from a further perspective. Despite the somewhat sad ending of the film, Edward’s memory not only lives on through Kim’s stories, but he also changed some of the towns as well, leaving it to snow even years after he had left, does leave the story with an overall romantic aspect.

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Tim Burton’s Film Edward Scissorhands. (2022, Feb 24). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/tim-burton-s-film-edward-scissorhands/

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