Living In: Sleepy Hollow


Okay—I’ve got a major bomb to drop. I’m not really all that into Tim Burton movies. I Know— something is clearly wrong with me. What kind of red-blooded American am I? What sort of human being can deny the sheer brilliance and artistic genius of Mr. Tim Burton? Me, apparently. I can absolutely see why everybody is so head-over-heels for his films and I do respect him greatly as an artistic talent. But, truth be told, the majority of his films just don’t do it for me… with one exception.

When I rented Tim Burton’s 1999 Sleepy Hollow years ago, I went in with the reservations and skepticism I often have when watching one of his movies. I was more than pleasantly surprised. The inspiration, Washington Irving’s classic tale of a school teacher and a headless horseman, seems perfectly suited to Burton’s dark, twisted, over-the-top aesthetic. Although Burton takes massive artistic liberties with Irving’s original story, the film perfectly and expertly captures not just the foreboding tone of its source material, but the more haunting and romantic aspects of the autumn season. Throughout the film, one is treated to stunning views of a fog-blanketed Hudson Valley, dark forests with mangled trees, and scarecrow-laden autumnal fields—all seen through Tim Burton’s slightly off-kilter lens. The movie makes for excellent fall movie nights and watching it has become a bit of an annual pre-Halloween ritual for me. It never fails to get me in the autumn mood! —Max


1. Riding Boots | 2. Gold Iron Lantern | 3. Flip-up Sunglasses | 4. Pewter Bird Feet | 5. Best-Made Axe | 6. Antique Doctor’s Bag | 7. Antique Apothecary Jars | 8. Thaumatrope Bird/Cage Illusion Necklace | 9. Antique Windsor Chair | 10. Leather-bound Journal

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1. Alexander McQueen Blazer | 2. Taxidermy Fruit Bat | 3. Glass Test Tubes | 4. Gold Skull | 5. Vintage Pewter Tankard | 6. Grey Taper Candles | 7. Delft Blue Teacup | 8. Chandelier | 9. Enamel Wash Basin | 10. Sealing Wax Kit

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Film: Sleepy Hollow

Year: 1999

Director: Tim Burton

Starring: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Richard Griffiths, Christopher Walken

Production Design: Rick Heinrichs

Art Direction: Ken Court, John Dexter, Andy Nicholson, Kevin Phipps, Leslie Tomkins

Set Decoration:  Peter Young

Costume Design: Colleen Atwood

  1. Jessica S. says:

    Oh. my. GOSH!

    No, I’m not “OMG”-ing the fact that you’re not an overall Burton fan. (Of which, I am, by the way.) I’m so excited that you/D*S finally featured this film on your “Living In” series! Seriously, I think my heart just jumped!

    Max – I think you, probably, love the style and tone of “Sleepy Hollow” for many of the reasons in which you and your fiancé‎ gravitated to Kingston. I see a lot of similarities between SH and Kingston. (Ok, maybe “Kingston – On A Really Cloudy Day”.)

    Anyways, thanks for posting this. And, if you do enjoy SH, you should check out “Big Fish”. It has beautiful visuals; and a wonderful storyline/script.

  2. Ali says:

    One of the best fall movies ever! I was in 8th grade when this movie came out and I may or may not have had a huge crush on the actor who played Young Masbath. Max, your “Living In” posts keep getting better and better.

  3. Ha ha! I ever thought a hatchet could look so sleek, but I did by a similar hammer recently, and was gushing from the beauty of it. ;-)

  4. Andrea says:

    Good lord, I must have seen this film more than 40 times. Absolutely amazing “living in” post!

  5. Great picks! Love this movie so cool that you found a bird in a cage necklace!

  6. super cool, i love the idea, very elegant and dark.
    if you want to participate in my tag #HORRORWS2013 during weekends you can share your scary movies


  7. I love Tim Burton, but I don’t know how much I would call myself a fan since I only watch his movies during Halloween. The flip-up sunglasses are amazing– they’d be perfect for a Halloween costume.

  8. Thank you for this! I’ve been dying to visit Sleepy Hollow New York to indulge in a little historical creepiness, but just couldn’t make it this year – this is the next best thing :)

  9. 'Becca'lise says:

    Love this movie! I *was* a Tim Burton fan for many years, but after Big Fish he kinda lost his magic for me.

  10. rebecca mebane says:

    Now I’m inspired to watch this movie and get in the Autumn mood myself. Thanks!

  11. Marisa says:

    I love that gold skull! But the link doesn’t work! :(

  12. amanda says:

    this is my favorite!! movie that is… although the round up is seriously good – that mcqueen blazer is swoonworthy.

  13. This is one of my favorite Tim Burton’s as well – and we just watched it the other night! Seemed like the perfect get-in-the-autumn-spirit film. And that thaumatrope necklace is amazing!

  14. Christina says:

    I love the doctor’s bag… so creepy! And I do wish it was filmed in the Hudson Valley, my stomping grounds, but did you know it was really filmed in England? Bah! I like pretending though :)

  15. Mrs. Vallejos says:

    I adore this movie, and yes, once our indian summer quits, I’ll be able to snuggle in my chair and watch it. The creepy ness, the atmosphere – it all gets me. But what really sets my heart aflame is once the curse is lifted, the sun comes out, the valley is beautiful, and Katrina and Ichabod are happy in love. Seriously, that 5 second shot of gorgeous fall leaves just does it for me.

  16. Hi every one, here every one is sharing these kinds of knowledge, therefore
    it’s good to read this web site, and I used to pay a visit this weblog everyday.

  17. Maggie says:

    I LIVE in Sleepy Hollow for REALS! Great post. The spooks are in Sleepy Hollow and the antiques are in Tarrytown just next door. Everyone should watch the movie and then COME VISIT! It’s closer than you think.

  18. I too, am not a Big Tim Burton fan, but this post makes me want to check it
    (Sleepy Hollow) out ASAP! The Items you have chosen intrigue and after reading the other posts, I am thinking it will be a great movie for this time of year! “Living In” had always been my favorite feature! Thanks! PS I did Like Big Fish too.

  19. Lizzie says:

    Yes. I owned this movie on VHS and would watch and rewind for as long as my parents would allow. So. Good! Thank you for this amazing post :)

  20. Kat from Jersey says:

    I’ve been a Burton fan since “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure”, and I love that each movie is different, yet all have his signature stamp. This flick is gorgeous to watch this time of year, and has it all… Depp, Walken, Richardson, and a lot of Burton’s regulars. I’ve always coveted Christina Ricci’s striped gown. And yes, young Masbeth was a cutie!

  21. Plein Jane says:

    This reminds me of my time on-staff on the set of the PBS series “Wishbone.” We did a special version of “Sleepy Hollow” for Halloween. Not quite as spooky as Burton’s take (it was for kids, after all), but lots of fun to film. If you’ve never seen a dog bobbing for apples, it’s hilarious.

  22. Sophie says:

    WHAT Wishbone was my childhood! PBS had the most amazing kids programming.

  23. sara lovejoy says:

    I just chanced on this website by accident and I am so happy to see this film featured here. I did work experience on the movie and it was utterly magical and something I will never forget. Just beautiful.

  24. Ruth Vallejos says:

    I check this page out every so often. I was so enchanted by the movie I’ve been checking zillow for Hudson Valley area properties. Just a gorgeous part of our beautiful country! The scene at the end, when the wicked witch is dead, and they are heading for NYC – the leaves are aflame, the sun is out, but there is still that gorgeous grey/brown in the underbrush that makes the yellow leaves shine all the brighter. The art production and filming of this movie is just out of this world. You did know that Francis Ford Coppola was the Exec Producer, right?

  25. Art Donovan says:

    Late to the post.

    North Tarrytown was re-named “Sleepy Hollow” sometime in the late 90’s. It did wonders for the real estate and the town’s popularity and tourism. Located close to the City makes it even more desirable. Personally, I would LOVE to have Sleepy Hollow on my mailing address :)


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