sweeney-todd-posterby Alicia Glass, contributing writer

A falsely accused and rather mad man comes home after fifteen years, he and his trusty pure-silver razor blades, to take revenge on those who wronged him, his wife and his daughter!

This remake, starring Johnny Depp as Todd himself, all but instantly catapulted the story into the Halloween hall of fame! It’s a classic tale, full of delightfully vengeful cannibalistic acts and revenge at the end of a razor-sharp blade. It sure doesn’t hurt that in the role of Mrs. Lovett, baker and co-conspirator of Mr. Todd, is, of course, Tim Burton’s wife Helena Bonham Carter, nor that the role of the Judge Turpin who did all this to Todd’s family is everyone’s favorite blackbird, Alan Rickman. In yet another Harry Potter crossover (besides Rickman), the Judge’s right hand man, the Beadle, is Timothy Spall, who was a rat before and does it quite well in this role, too!

So his name was, once upon a time, Benjamin Barker and he had a lovely, innocent little wife with yellow hair, this is all explained in song a few times. Judge Turpin, a man not used to being denied anything, takes a fancy to Lucy regardless of her infant daughter and husband, and arranges for Barker to be taken out of the picture so he can pursue her freely. None of this goes well and Lucy turns to arsenic after a night of torture at the hands of the Judge and his friends, leaving her daughter to his tender mercies.

Fifteen years later, Barker has all but disappeared, leaving in his place a bitter man who adopted the slave-like name Sweeney Todd to come back to his home and set things right however he might. Taking up with Mrs. Lovett (after all, her bakery is in what was once his shop), Todd begins his shaving business after a grand demonstration contest against Pirelli, where he demonstrates clearly that the sharpest razor will always win. Mrs. Lovett, desperate to get her pies away from “the worst pies in London” reputation, strikes a deal with Todd after he slices his way through a blackmail attempt, turning “found” not-long-pig into pies that everyone loves!

Judge Turpin decides, in order to shield her from the evils of this world he says, to marry his ward Johanna, Todd’s long-lost daughter, and this we simply cannot have. Anthony, a shipmate of Todd’s who was more or less a friend and had taken a fancy to Johanna, decides to spirit her away before that kind of evil can happen to her. But time is running out! The orphan Toby whom Mrs. Lovett puppy-adopted is growing suspicious of where the meat for her pies is coming from, and Turpin decides if he can’t have Johanna he’ll stick her in the nut-nut factory and be done with it. Darkness is closing in all around, and the oddly familiar beggar woman on the street will disclose the last secret that drives Sweeney Todd into a final bloody act with those precious silver razors!

Based on a very old and widely popular musical, the Tim Burton film version is a great, bloody, dark romp of the story. A staple of Victorian Horror and dark dramatic Fantasy, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is an absolute must for every Halloween movie fests!

-30-