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Oh, The Horror! #1: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Written by Greg Anderson-Elysee on Sunday, September 07 2008 and posted in Columns
Well, many people know that I am a fan of horror. It brings happiness. Also, I am a film-maker/actor. So as a new feature of "Face To Greg" you'll be getting some reviews of horror movies I've watched and all. Plus, how long ago since my last column update? Sheesh! But yes, without further ado...

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

You've no idea how much fun I have watching this movie! I saw it when it came out in theaters and truly felt it was probably Tim Burton's masterpiece, and I say that as a Tim Burton fan since I was in Junior High. It was Burton who got me interested into film and whenever I'm in a bit of a rut while filming, I think of Burton films. He truly is an insp
iration when I'm behind the camera doing something. But I digress. Edward Scissorhands will always be my favorite movie hands down, but Sweeney Todd is Burton's masterpiece in my opinion. The way I see it, all of Burton's previous films, most notably Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Nightmare Before Christmas, etc, were all practice leading to this! A truly bloody horror musical! And I LOVE musicals. You can ask my buddies. So a horror musical directed by Burton. That's definitely asking for my approval as a great film and darn good time.

The mood and atmosphere is very gloomy and lovely. Like a lot of Burton's film, although there's color, it's still gives a sense of watching an old black and white film. But with this movie also, the make up helps us imagine it also as a bit of a silent movie setting, the way certain shots are, the way the characters look and react, etc. Then all you need is the lovely musical scores and numbers by Stephen Sondheim and voila. We have a work of genius in our hands! And the way the blood is used is an extra goodie treat! It's so over the top and adds some nice humor as Depp, as the demented barber, is singing a love song of his daughter while slicing the necks of his customers. And Helena Bonham Carter is wonderful as Sweeney's partner in crime, Mrs. Lovett. As Mr. Todd kills his customers, Mrs. Lovett takes the body and turn them into successful pies. Yum-my!

I have to also say this is certainly one of Johnny Depp's best performances. It's great hearing him belt out in song but his look and anger through the movie and those eyes of pain and hate just puts a smile on my face as an actor. As an actor, I actually get typecast as the evil, demented, or plain evil or weird guy and this is certainly a role that I applaud as it's a role I would certainly love to reenact. Heh, first I gotta complete those singing lessons I stopped doing a few years back. But it truly is a lot of fun seeing Depp fall into this character and like Burton, also inspires me in an actor side mostly due to him picking to play actors that aren't formulaic. I mean Captain Jack Sparrow, Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd, Willy Wonka. The guy's an artist genius. Thank you both Burton and Depp for the inspiration.

Posted originally: 2008-09-07 00:49:50

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About the Author - Greg Anderson-Elysee

Gregory Anderson-Elysee is a Brooklyn born and based filmmaker (director and editor), playwright, comic book writer, model, and part time actor. He was one of the first writers and interviewers of The Outhouse. He is the writer and creator of the upcoming book Is'nana the Were-Spider. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

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