by Christopher Papaioannou
Year 12


A 90s German expressionistic unorthodox horror


With its colourful sets and fable-like story, Edward Scissorhands is truly a magical film.
Visually and stylistically, the film displays aesthetics of both German expressionism and a pastel-coloured child whimsy.      As such, the neighbourhood’s visuals are clearly designed to appear as if we are seeing it through Edward’s eyes. 

Knowing the German Expression style, it is clear that Tim Burton has drawn upon such as inspiration in creating his vision. 

The use of sharp and jagged lines within the film’s sets, as well as Edward’s gothic outfit and pale skin, creates for a feeling of isolation and disconnect from the world around him.

This contrast of Edward’s gothic world, with the sunny, glamorised representation of suburbian life further creates an image of suburban fantasy, highlighting the presence of institutional segregation within it.   This contrast provides a social commentary on humankind’s prejudice against anyone considered different.

Johnny Depp, who has little dialogue, gave an extraordinary performance, portraying Edward with a childlike wonder and true innocence, very much displaying a child in a man’s body.

Depp, relying mainly on his facial expressions (due to his lack of dialogue, as well as hand movement), displays a vast number of emotions, from joy to distressing anger.

However, over the course of the film, we see that this innocence that Edward posses, is corruptible, just as a child’s is, in which we see him unsympathetically used by the majority of the townspeople.
Edward, with his gothic outfit, and razor-sharp hands, is not the real monster, but the members of the neighbourhood are.


Edward Scissorhands is a tragedy of being misunderstood, ending in the loss of Edward’s innocence. The film incorporates a number of enchanting set designs, as well as a wonderful German expressionist costume for Edward himself, and is without a doubt, a magical movie.


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