Johnny Depp, Sleepy Hollow

The new Sleepy Hollow DVD (1999, Paramount, 105 mins., R, $29.99) came galloping into stores last week with a few frighteningly cool special features. It’s always a privilege to be let inside Tim Burton’s complicated mind, which is why the director’s commentary is so compelling. Burton details the struggles, both technical and personal, of making a horror movie as elaborate as this. ”Sometimes we felt like we were making a really bad Merchant Ivory film,” he admits. ”I never thought I’d find myself directing a film where everybody’s dressed like George Washington.” Leave it to Burton to come up with a disembodied mantra: ”Let the wigs do the acting,” he says.

Having horses gallop full speed through indoor soundstages was challenging, but as we learn in the way too long ”Behind the Legend” featurette, filming the animals outdoors was tricky too. Manhattan boy Christopher Walken, who plays the horseman in, um, headier days, was so freaked by riding that the production crew had to build a radio controlled mechanical steed for him, modeled after an electric horse built for Liz Taylor in ”National Velvet.” It’s hard to get a read on Johnny Depp’s attitude toward the quadrupeds (in fact, it’s hard to get a pulse on him here too; he’s so low energy), but he does get dragged by the reins through a soundstage. Yes, that’s really him, albeit with bulletproof underwear, as we learn in the minidoc.

The other features are pretty lame. There are two trailers, cast and crew interviews, and a rather dull photo gallery. But the behind the scenes access is cool enough. If nothing else, it’s worth checking out the special features just to see how they created all those hacked off heads.

Subtitles, scene selection, selected cast biographies. Jack-o-lantern sold separately.

Sleepy Hollow (Movie)
  • Movie
  • 105 minutes