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New article in Splice (Auteur Publishing) the Tim Burton issue – Sleepy Hollow a must see and a must read – Puritans, Witches and Hessian! 

If There’s Only One Film …. Make It Sleepy Hollow



The Story: History and the Horseman

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that the general myth of a headless horseman, that is so much a part of the legend of Sleepy Hollow, a real town1 in New York state, has been adopted by American cultural history and associated very strongly with the history of itself as the emerging independent US of A. The origins of Sleepy Hollow’s Headless Horseman may date back much further than the story told by Washington Irving, but  since then, he has become an integral part of American mythology, a true monster of their own. Washington Irving’s initial short story, has engendered a true modern myth, with films based on the story and the place dating back to 18962. Thus, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Tim Burton’s interpretation of that story have done much to put the Headless Horseman on the American mainland’s map.

However, no self respecting myth is confined by the boundaries of nationality and the Headless Horseman has himself a history in European culture, Dutch culture, in fact, which is why  Washington Irving to set his classic in the Dutch community of Sleepy Hollow some few miles north of the city of New York.

Read more in Splice

Click here for a link to the publisher

Game On: The Hunger Games

Splice Cover 6-2 v1.inddNEW FOR SPLICE


In 2003, allies led by the US and the UK invaded Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction, the invasion was televised… live. We watched it, we watched it in our home, the television in the corner, the kids (then aged eleven and thirteen) on the sofa. We watched for a while as truck after truck, tank after tank rolled down the empty highways of Baghdad, conducting what appeared to be a bloodless liberation. Accompanying them were embedded journalists who described the “action” and in the studios of television channels, anchor men and women connected images and commentary via the wonders of live satellite broadcasts. It was, for the most part, a boring curiosity: soldiers smiling and waving at the cameras, apparently encountering no resistance. It looked like it would be a walkover, a genuinely popular liberation from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, until one jeep, the camera was embedded with, came across a car containing unidentifiable local passengers who, seeing the tank column, attempted to turn round and get away. I think someone got out, I think that someone was armed, the jeep drew closer, weapons were levelled and the excitement amongst the US soldiers grew so we switched over. I have no idea what happened that day to those people or those soldiers: whether there was a peaceful surrender or a bloody shoot out; nor do I know how much of what followed was broadcast. It could be that they switched back to the studio when the executive producer sensed oncoming violence, or maybe they followed through in the name of public interest and ratings. The truth is I did not want to know, more to the point I did not want our children to witness live, the first slaughters of the Iraq war. On that day in 2003, at some point in the viewing of that event, we all grew uncomfortable. It was beginning to look like shooting fish in a barrel, it was beginning to look like watching live warfare for entertainment.

Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, (Dir: Gary Ross, 2012) and writer of the film’s screenplay, had much the same experience. She too was channel surfing on that day and switched from a TV reality game show to live coverage of the invasion “I was tired, and the lines began to blur in this very unsettling way”  She told Publishers’ Weekly⁠1. It was that blurring of the lines between serious reportage and entertainment that gave her the idea for The Hunger Games.