Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands brilliantly showcases Tim Burton’s ability to seamlessly blend the fantastical with the mundane, as a bizarre humanoid invention named Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp) ends up venturing into suburbia. Edward had been invented by an unknown old man simply called “The Inventor” (Vincent Price), who had temporarily given Edward (you guessed it) scissor blades for hands and died before he could invent some real hands.
Why potentially deadly scissor blades? Well, let’s just say The Inventor is a creative genius, and those types are known for quirky decisions if not mad science. Either way, now without his father figure, Edward is left in the old, decrepit mansion for quite a while. Years later, an “Avon lady” named Peg Boggs (Dianne Wiest) discovers Edward Scissorhands and brings her back to her family home. Not surprisingly, everyone takes an interest in Edward, seeing his personality and existence almost as a fun jigsaw puzzle. Plus, they discover he’s very talented with his hands.
Okay, But Really: Why Give Edward Scissorhands…You Know, Scissor Hands?
At first, Edward Scissorhands isn’t particularly liked by Peg’s daughter, Kim (Winona Ryder), but the two become quick pals once she gets used to his quirky ways and outlandish appearance. Neighborhood women are attracted to Edward, and some get competitive over the attention he received. In fact, Kim’s boyfriend, Jim (Anthony Michael Hall) becomes jealous of Edward and things escalate there. So, of course, Edward’s father’s plan of building strange monsters for fun had backfired.
Practically any good story needs that specter of conflict and drama to creep into the story. Also, Ed, being a bit of a strange creature ultimately has the town turn on him; some tragic misunderstandings occur and Edward begins to flee (and at one point fight) for survival. There’s also a hint of revenge on the other hand…the other scissored hand, of course.
In truth, there isn’t any practical good reason The Inventor gave Edward Scissorhands those hands. However, it is good for the story, which definitely has some fairy tale vibes. At the same time, if one wanted to give The Inventor’s logic a more thorough dissection, one might simply assume there’s a bit of morbid curiosity; “What would he look like if I just put giant scissors there until I get him some hands?”
There are elements of foolhardiness to his decision, of course, but The Inventor seems to lack any malicious intent. Instead, he’s just a quirky guy making quirky things, assuming the best for his creation rather than the worst. So The Inventor may not be a bad dad per se, but someone who let his idiosyncrasies take charge, and creates an interesting character.
What are your thoughts on Edward Scissorhands and The Inventor’s strange design choice? Let us know in the comments!