(“Sleepy Hollow” was perhaps the most beautiful and lush version of the legend with all the ambiance and feel of the original story, but what was done to the plot and script was such an abomination that it taught me the very important premise that no matter how beautiful something looks, whether it’s a bimbo on a reality show or a Tim Burton piece of work, if there’s nothing on the inside, it bores you very quickly. Tim Burton is an amazing artist and just a miserable writer and director. I wish he’d just focus on art direction for movies before he ruins anything else from “Willy Wonka” to “Planet of the Apes,” “Alice in Wonderland” or the upcoming “Dark Shadows” which I can already make some assumptions about).
If I were to take everything I believe about Halloween and wrap it into one symbol, it wouldn’t be candy corn, plastic Jack O’Lantern baskets filled with candy, chimney smoke, or skeletons. It would be the Headless Horseman.
The first time I heard the story in grade school, I was completely mesmerized. Not so much by what the story said, but what it didn’t say. It left my mind galloping like the Hessian’s horse into a dark leaf-littered forest. In that moment, every symbol that would some day define me rushed to my mind and I knew right then and there that was an autumn forest.
In the midst of the autumnal death of the forest there emerged a phantom on horseback offering up the death of the humans, as well, crashing through crispy, curling, mildewed leaves and crackling splintering tree branches to feed the coming winter’s blight. (Autumnforest)
As a short story writer, I always scoff at the concept that anything written in a short story could influence and impress people for decades and even centuries, but “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving was written in 1820! The story took place in the late 1700s in a Dutch settlement. Ichabod Crane competes with a local man for a young woman’s hand. Ichabod goes missing and it’s believed his head was taken by the headless horsemen (the ghost of a Hessian trooper).
A lot of classic stories have been repeatedly portrayed in plays, musicals and movies such as vampires and Frankenstein, but the headless horseman is another very near and dear favorite for all, especially around Halloween time. It’s always been my dream to experience a Halloween event in the woods in the Northeast when someone rushes out on horseback in the headless costume and I get to experience the pounding of the earth, the kicking up of leaves, and the sinister laughter of my pursuer.
If Halloween could be orgasmic, that dream encounter just might be the “screaming” one!