Film Review: Edward Scissor hands

Fig 1. Edward Scissorhands poster (1990)
Edward Scissorhands is one of Tim Burton's most iconic films to date. As the title suggests the film is about a man named Edward how has scissors for hands. The film shows a modern take on the familiar fairytale of Beauty and the Beast (1946) and also has been inspired by films such as Frankenstein (1931).With a mix of comedy, romance and fantasy, this is an all round good film. "Edward Scissorhands isn't perfect. It's something better: pure magic" (Travers, 1990)

Fig 2. Suburban housing
The film is set in the early nineties but has a fifties suburbia twist to it all. During the fifties it was all about people consuming products, as the US was in a pretty good state after the war. So people had money and were able to buy new household appliance's and have other commodities. Company's were producing products that could be bought in different colours, so in reality it was more like mass consumerism. As these products were affordable everyone would have them.
Burton shows this really well in his film with the suburb that has all the same houses just in different colours, and the same with the cars. That all the people that live here are consumers and thinking that they are all individual, but in reality they are all the same just in a different colour. "The movie takes place in an entirely artificial world" (Ebert, 1990)

Fig 3. Edward Mansion
The only thing that makes this suburban area unique is the huge mysterious mansion that overlooks the area. The mansion really stands out between the surrounding neighbourhood. There is a huge contrast between the pastel housing and the dark fog and dead trees that surround the mansion.

Fig 4. Staircase
When first seeing inside Edwards mansion we can see the similarity's to films such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). If we look at figure 4, you can see that the walls are not straight and how the high and low lights make the scene feel like this dark lifeless place but also full of mystery.

Fig 5. Edward and Peggy
Even when we see Edward for the first time, there are resemblances to both Dr. Caligari (1920) and Frankenstein (1931). He has this strange look compared to what the other characters are wearing in the film, like a leather suit with added belts and braces. This makes him stand out among the characters. And even when they do try and make him more normal in some over sized shirt and trousers, his pale completion, wacky hair and scissors for hands still make him stand out.

When Edward first comes to the neighbourhood he is the talk of the town, the woman cant get enough of him, and is nothing that they have ever seen before. It's not long until Edward is everyone's favourite, with him creating imaginative bush and hair styles for the neighbourhood. It doesn't take that long for everyone to turn on him. "...the outsider soon becomes the outcast..." (Travers, 1990)

The film shows that people love the things that are unique and different, but cant wait to destroy it and commercialise it. They then ruin this one thing that was one unique.

Illustration List:

Figure 1: Edward Scissorhands Poster (1990) [poster] At: (Accessed on 10.11.15)

Figure 2. Suburban housing (1990) [film still] At: (Accessed on 17.11.15)

Figure 3. Edwards Mansion (1990) [film still] At: (Accessed on 24.11.15)

Figure 4. Staircase (1990) [film still] At: (Accessed on 24.11.15)

Figure 5. Edward and Peggy (1990) [film still] At: (Accessed on 24.11.15)

Ebert, R (1990) Edward Scissorhands. At: (Accessed on 24.11.15)

Travers, P (1990) Edward Scissorhands. At: (Accessed on 17.11.15)


  1. Hi Hannah,

    Be careful with your use of apostrophes and plurals... for example, you have 'appliance's' which should just be 'appliances' (plural, without the apostrophe), and 'company's' and 'similarity's' which should be 'companies' and 'similarities'.

    Try and introduce your chosen quotes so that they are really working for you, rather than just plonking them in. So you could say for example,

    It doesn't take that long for everyone to turn on him; as Peter Travers in RollingStone describes, "...the outsider soon becomes the outcast..." (Travers, 1990)


    That all the people that live here are consumers and thinking that they are all individual, but in reality they are all the same just in a different colour. Roger Ebert notes that, "...the movie takes place in an entirely artificial world" (Ebert, 1990)

    When writing about the characters in the film, in this case Edward, you don't need to italicise the name (just the film titles).


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