Written by: Mich Medvedoff
Before we wore clothes, before we drank milk, before we shaved… we told stories. And the same stories continue to circulate and confront us.
Like a cinematic Tootsie Roll pop, there is sometimes a hidden story inside the very movie you are watching.
Tim Burton’s 1990 flick, “Edward Scissorhands,” features Vincent Price as a Dali-esque inventor. Alone in his Gothic mansion, Price creates a leather-clad Pinocchio for companionship.
WHAT HAPPENS: Unfinished teen, Edward Scissorhands, wants to be included in the suburban life that buzzes below his Gothic manor of solitude. In Diane Weist, Edward finds his facialist, but what he really needed was a manicure. Edward is whisked away to the incredible world of Suburbia. Love happens. Then heartbreak. An angry mob chases Edward away and he finds himself right back where he started: Alone. Where he belongs.
Combine 2 cups suburbia, ½ cup teen-angst, and 2 tablespoons self-discovery. 30 minutes in the oven, and out pops Freddy. “Edward Scissorhands” is “Nightmare on Elm Street”.
SIMILARITIES: The leading men in both films are in major need of a nail file. But the story connections go much, much deeper…
Edward and Freddy are figments of the imagination. Sure, one cuts kids and the other cuts hair; but these two are really not that different. Both men want to be real and accepted by the community. Edward offers his talent in lawn topiary. Freddy specializes in infanticide (which actually was a very useful talent years ago. Poor Freddy was just born in the wrong era).
These lonely men want to go to the place where anything unpleasant is swept under the Berber rug: Suburbia. Where it’s manicured and clean and safe for a reason. Parents keep it that way. When they try to fit in, the parents banish them in the form of pitchforks and fire.
UNIVERSALITY: Adolescence is rough. Suburbia is rougher. If you want to be accepted in a community, you must diminish all that’s unique and special in you. Anything that doesn’t fit the mold must be exterminated. And scissors for hands doesn’t just break the mold, it slices it in half!
MESSAGE: Stories are social mirrors. Their purpose is to broadcast messages we can’t admit to ourselves. So why does this narrative recur in our stories?
People fear the unfamiliar. Whether you don a leather jumpsuit or a Christmas sweater from hell, if you have a special gift people treat you differently. They’re suspicious and maybe even jealous of your talents. If you’re not like everyone else, the tribe will make you suffer for it. Wield your claws too wildly, someone is going to get cut, and that someone is often you.