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Film / Edward Scissorhands

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"The story of an uncommonly gentle man."

To paraphrase Linus van Pelt, of all the Tim Burton movies in the world, this is the Tim Burtoniest. And we mean that in the best possible way.

This 1990 film was Burton's first after the mega-success that was Batman (1989), and with the rather free hand he was given, he decided to shoot for the moon with a serio-comic Fairy Tale. He came up with the concept and Caroline Thompson handled the screenplay.

The titular hero (Johnny Depp) is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a sort of android. His creator, a lonely inventor (Vincent Price, in what was his final film appearance), upgraded a robot from his assembly-line machinery in his gothic mansion on a hill until it finally almost completely resembled a young man - however, he died just before completing his project by giving Edward hands. Thus, he was left alone with the scissor-and-shear limbs he already had. Edward shyly, quietly keeps to himself, passing the time by tending the garden (in particular, sculpting the bushes into whimsical images) until one Avon lady comes calling. Peg Boggs is a resident of the 1950s-60s pastel suburbia that lies at the bottom of the hill. Realizing he is friendly and mostly harmless, as he understands the dangers his blades pose, she compassionately decides to take him to live with her family.


At first, Edward is welcomed by this community and he is quite happy to be of help to it; in particular, his talent for yard decoration progresses to dog grooming and eventually hairstyling. He's so fascinatingly alien that a local tart, Joyce, even tries to seduce him. Ironically, he falls in love with Peg's teenaged daughter Kim (Winona Ryder), one of the few who isn't immediately enamored with him — and who already has a boyfriend, the Jerk Jock Jim (Anthony Michael Hall). Jim decides to take advantage of her love for him to convince her to take advantage of Edward's innocent kindness, so he will help them commit a burglary. The consequences of this start a chain of events that lead to a most Bittersweet Ending.

While only a modest success at the time, in part because of the strange premise and perhaps because Home Alone effectively commandeered the holiday movie season that year (both were 20th Century Fox releases), it's since gained a large fanbase, and was the first of eight collaborations between Burton and Depp.


In 2005 the film was adapted into a ballet by British choreographer Matthew Bourne. Over 2014-15, a two-volume comic book Distant Sequel written by Kate Leth with art by Drew Rausch was published by IDW.

This film contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The ballet adds a lot of characters to the neighborhood that aren't in the movie, such as Esmeralda's husband and two children.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Edward has been speculated as being a metaphor for autism and related disorders. One particularly notable thing is the way the film portrays people's reactions to him. While one might see the fascination most of the neighborhood has with him as being parodic of the stereotype of 1970s suburbanites being closed-minded, it's also perfectly apt for the post-Rain Man world of the late '80s and early '90s, when there was widespread interest in the savant abilities possessed by some autistics.
  • Anachronism Stew: The whole town seems like some sort of 1970s suburban fairy tale, but Jim mentions his father getting a new CD player. There is a gothic castle atop the hill. Word of God says that these contrasts were done on purpose, with the seemingly idyllic neighbourhood Edward is brought into having a hidden dark side.
  • Androids Are People, Too: The entire film contrasts the genuine-if-awkward humanity of Edward, who started life as an assembly-line robot, to the artificiality and selfishness of the flesh-and-blood humans in the neighborhood.
  • Arc Number: Five is something of a recurring number in the film, likely because most of the drama is centered around Edward's lack of fingers. A disproportionately high number of characters have either five-letter names or names that start with "E" (the fifth letter of the alphabet), and the pivotal burglary scene has Edward donning a black baseball cap emblazoned with a "V" (the Roman numeral for five).
  • Artificial Human: Edward, but he is more of a homunculus than a robot or golem. In an interview, Johnny Depp once characterized Edward as a "creation" and left it at that.
  • Ascended Extra: Esmeralda has a slightly bigger role in the ballet. Instead of being a reclusive neighborhood crazy, she's the wife of the local preacher, Reverend Judas Evercreech, and she has two children (Gabriel and Marilyn-Ann Evercreech, a pair of stereotypical goths who hang out with Kim and her friends). Though she's just as nuts as in the movie, she's not as reclusive, and is seen mingling with the women of the neighborhood a lot more.
  • Asshole Victim: After every bitchy thing he does to Edward, Jim gets his life cut short (figuratively speaking) by Edward’s hands.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: The world beyond the castle is so foreign to Edward that he's fascinated by virtually everything he sees, and often gets distracted just as people are showing him around/leading him on. In particular, he seems intrigued by things he can use as material for his unconventional art (hedges, dogs, etc.) or remind him of his old life (in the salon, he notes a chair with a dryer mounted atop it, which vaguely resembles some of the castle machinery). Even when he participates in the robbery, Jim has to pull him away from the hedges by the front door!
  • Author Appeal: Many of Burton's favorites show up: strange hands, dogs, German Expressionism, Vincent Price, snow, model-building... heck, the hero looks like him!
  • Bait the Dog: Joyce first acts very comforting and sweet to Edward. Unfortunately, that all changes when she slanders Edward as a rapist all because he became uncomfortable and ran away when she seduced him.
  • Beast and Beauty: Edward and Kim as the freakish "monster" and fair lady respectively. Played with in that Edward's personality is more akin to that of a Gentle Giant, and he isn't so much ugly as odd in comparison to the other characters, but he fits the "beast" role quite well when he kills Jim in the climax.
  • Berserk Button: In the climax when Jim hurts Kim, Edward immediately gets enraged and kills him literally with his bare hands. It also counts as Beware the Nice Ones.
  • Big Bad: While Jim is a smug jerk at worst in the early going, once he uses Kim to convince Edward to help rob Jim's house and refuses to rescue Edward when he's trapped inside it — thus leaving Edward, who doesn't want to get anyone else in trouble, to take the sole fall for the crime and to be seen as dangerous by the neighborhood that once was fascinated by him — he becomes straight-up villainous, especially as he realizes Kim is starting to care for Edward in the wake of the crises. He deliberately antagonizes Edward after the latter accidentally wounds Kim's hand, hoping to drive him away from her for good, and this snowballs into the climax.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Joyce first seems like a friendly woman who really likes Edward. However when Edward runs away from her after she tries seducing him, she shows her true colors as a spiteful and petty scumbag by spreading rumors that Edward raped her.
    • Also Jim first appears to be a decent guy, but he also shows his true colors when he tries framing Edward for stealing from his parents' house.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Comes very close to being a Downer Ending. Edward retreats back to the castle after a series of misunderstandings. Once Edward defends Kim by killing Jim, Kim tells the townspeople that Edward and Jim killed each other. The elderly Kim admits she never saw Edward again after that night. Edward still lives alone in the castle, and his ice sculptures are the reason it snows in town, but he's shown as being at peace.
  • Blood Splattered White Dress: Kim's lovely white dress ends up spattered with Jim's blood.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Picking on a guy with blades for hands? Yeah, real smart move. Jim's lucky Edward's so sweet-natured... until he isn't.
  • Bumbling Dad: Downplayed with Bill Boggs, a good guy who takes Edward's presence and strange nature too much in stride. He accidentally gets Edward drunk on "lemonade" while trying to talk him through the aftermath of Kim's panicked "introduction" to him, is blithely unconcerned with him revealing that Joyce tried to seduce him at the salon, and doesn't realize how serious his suddenly storming out of the backyard (after Jim has antagonized him badly) is until it's too late.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Many people seem to know a doctor who could help him get real hands, but they never seem to actually give the information of who or where. (This was resolved in the original script, but the sequence didn't make it to the finished film.)
  • Cassandra Truth: Subverted. Esmeralda, a fanatical fundamentalist Christian, believes Edward is evil and tries to convince her neighbors of this, but no one takes her seriously. Once Edward has been arrested for the burglary, thus changing their opinion of him, she's able to say she told them so. The subversion is that the audience knows all along Edward isn't evil.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Edward's ability to flawlessly pick locks with his blades is introduced as just another of his talents, but it gives Jim the idea to enlist him in a robbery.
  • Cherubic Choir: The score is arguably the modern popularizer of this trope, using it for both optimistic and creepy effects.
  • Cool Old Guy: The Inventor, who despite being a Mad Scientist played by Vincent Price is nothing but a kind, ingenious, and lonely old man.
  • Clingy Costume:
    • Both in-movie and on set. The leather stifled Johnny Depp so much in the Florida heat, that when he did the scene where Edward runs back to the mansion, he collapsed from heatstroke.
    • The outfit is always visible under the normal clothing that he is given to wear, implying that he might not have actual skin beneath it.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Edward lacks real hands, and thus must interact with extreme caution with all around him. On the other hand, having scissors for hands means he's quite skilled with all sorts of skills such as gardening or hairdressing.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The grim, gloomy, remote castle on the hill contains a lonely, kind-hearted Mad Scientist (played by Master-of-All-Things-Creepy Vincent Price, best known for his villainous roles) and his black-clad, well-armed, but ultimately gentle creation.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Peg tells Kim she didn't think about what would happen when she brought Edward home with her.
  • Disney Villain Death: Downplayed. Jim is pushed out the window of the Inventor's house after being stabbed by Edward.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Along with the break in, the main reason everyone turns against Edward was because Joyce, after Edward did not reciprocate her advances (though, Edward didn't even understand what was going on), she spreads the word that he tried to rape her. Essentially, she utterly destroys the reputation of an utterly Nice Guy with the emotional age of a small child, simply because he didn't understand the concept of sex. It's apparent that most people in the neighbourhood are well aware that Joyce is a Cougar, so it's likely that no-one really believed that he tried to rape her, they simply wanted an excuse to ostracise Edward.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Subverted. When Joyce first tries to seduce Edward, who can't consent because he has no idea what she's doing, it's played for laughs, but Joyce spreading rumors about him raping her is portrayed as cruel.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Edward gives Joyce a haircut for the first time, she acts as though she's having an orgasm.
  • Dreaming of a White Christmas: Averted and then played with. There's no snow at all in this town and Bill Boggs staples fake snow on the rooftop of their house to prepare for the Christmas party. However, Edward essentially brings this to Kim when he carves the ice angel, and continues to bring snow to the entire town even when he's once more confined to the castle at the end.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Edward is ghostly white, with huge dark shadows under his eyes and wild oil-black hair. His demeanor is both childlike and spooky.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: Almost completely averted for everyone who is introduced to Edward. People are either fascinated with Edward's hands or perceive it as just a very minor quirk. Bad first impression notwithstanding, Kim is the only one who feels awkward after being formally introduced to him.
  • Everytown, America: Save for the castle on the hill, the town is a throwback to 1970s suburbia.
  • Fairy Tale: Elderly Kim tells the story to her granddaughter as the fable of "why does it always snow on Christmas in this neighborhood but nowhere else around it."
  • Fetish: Edward is heavily viewed as some sort of sex machine by the women of the street.
  • First Law of Tragicomedies: The first half is mostly comic, an Affectionate Parody of suburbia. The humor gradually disappears as Edward's situation deteriorates. Even the soundtrack album acknowledges this by dividing the tracks between two "acts", one with the upbeat material ("Edward Meets the World"), the second the bittersweet and tragic stuff ("Poor Edward!").
  • Flashback : Edward's creation and life before Peg found him is elaborated upon in three flashbacks. The first two, which alternate with his introduction to the neighbors, reveal in turn how the Inventor was inspired to create him and then his schooling Edward in both manners and art. The third, which comes as Kim embraces Edward, reveals the exact circumstances of the Inventor's death and just how close Edward was to being "finished".
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: A single bell chimes six times when Jim falls to his death after being stabbed by Edward.
  • For Happiness: Effectively Edward's guiding principle in life. If he can bring happiness to others by helping them or making their world more beautiful, he will do it without question or hesitation. Unfortunately, because he doesn't have a conventional understanding of right and wrong, this means he is even willing to do illegal things.
  • Foreshadowing: A subtle example courtesy of background detailing: The bedroom of the little girl the old woman is telling this story to is decorated with, among other things, snowglobes and a few stuffed toys. It's easy to miss, but they turn up in the main action in Kim's bedroom, which means...
  • Framing Device: The film is framed as an old woman who turns out to be a much older Kim telling her granddaughter this story.
  • Freaky Is Cool: Used in-story: At first, Edward and his talents are warmly welcomed by most of the neighborhood because they're refreshingly unusual.
  • Freudian Excuse: Jim's father might be an even bigger asshole than Jim is. Judging from what Jim says, he's a very selfish and ruthless hardass (ruthless enough to prosecute his own son for breaking and entering, and attempted theft), and at times Jim seems almost afraid of him. This may explain why Jim turned out so bad.
  • The Fundamentalist: Esmeralda instantly assumes Edward is evil and unnatural and encourages the neighborhood women to flee him. The interior of her house is covered with a huge number of crosses and works of religious art, and she has a personal church organ. Even the shape of her living room ceiling resembles a chapel.
  • Genre Blind: A question: if you're an Avon representative and see a big, ominous-looking house on the top of a random mountain, and the sky over it looks overcast, and the inside is empty and dusty, do you go in? 'Cause that's what Peg does in the beginning! Nothing bad comes of it, but if this were the case in a horror movie, she'd be Too Dumb to Live.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Some stuffed animals and dolls are arranged on Kim's waterbed; these draw Edward's interest when he's allowed to use the room upon his arrival at the Boggs house (as Kim is away on a camping trip at the time).
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Edward has many small scars on his face, due to his own hands and having no one to tend to him after the Inventor's death.
  • Gossipy Hens: The housewives in the neighborhood can't help themselves from gossiping about Edward as soon as they first see him being driven by Peg to the Boggses' house!
  • Hate Sink:
    • Jim is Kim Boggs' boyfriend, who gets violently possessive when the childlike Edward is brought home by her mom. He decides to manipulate him into picking a lock for his gang to rob a place, leaving him to be arrested when a burglar alarm goes off. When Kim dumps him over this, he drives around in a drunken rage and almost runs over her kid brother. He then blames Edward for a scratch the kid got from being rescued and leads an Angry Mob to kill him, eventually slapping Kim when she tries to stop him.
    • Joyce is a bored housewife whose interest is piqued when Edward arrives. She offers to help him use his scissor hands to open a salon, but this is a front to seduce him. When he resists, not understanding what's happening, she tries to force herself on him. Edward successfully escapes the assault, but Joyce uses a scratch she got in the process to claim he tried to rape her.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Edward by the end of the film thanks to a chain of events caused by an attempted burglary that is never cleared up for the public.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: If not for his innocent childlike demeanour, Edward would be pretty terrifying, and while it's only reasonable to be cautious around somebody with a collection of razor-sharp blades where his hands would be, the behaviour of the people in the suburb rapidly descends into unreasonable suspicion to downright hatred. Edward, meanwhile, becomes more and more alienated and frustrated and starts acting out, only prompting more fear and loathing from the population, culminating in Jim's death at Edward's hands (admittedly in self-defence). All of this could have so easily been avoided had only people had been nicer to him and been prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Edward doesn't angst about it, but he definitely implies that he'd rather be normal.
    • In the third act, it becomes clear poor Peg wants things to be normal again as the neighborhood turns against Edward and by extension her and her family, which is one reason she goes ahead with the Christmas party they throw every year. She eventually realizes that having Edward return to his old home is the only way to ensure this.
  • Innocent Inaccurate:
    • Edward - who is himself apparently immortal - doesn't understand what's happened to his 'father.' When Peg inquires about him, Edward replies simply, "He didn't wake up."
    • There's the scene following Joyce's attempted seduction in which he pleasantly tells the family that she took him into the back room "and took off all her clothes". None of the family seems particularly surprised by this revelation, perhaps reinforcing this part of Edward's character.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: During Edward's television appearance, a female audience member asks "Do you have a girlfriend?" and the host encourages him to say if there's "some special lady in your life". Edward stares into the camera for a moment, and Kim — watching this at home with Jim and Kevin — realizes that he's thinking of her. Unfortunately as Edward leans towards the microphone to answer, one of his blades touches it and he receives an electric shock that throws him, chair and all, backwards, completely ruining the moment.
  • It's All My Fault: Peg mistakenly blames herself for inspiring Edward to attempt to burgle Jim's house. Why? When the bank turned him down for a loan to buy the salon, she had assured him that they would find another way to pay for it. Earlier than that, when Jim was a guest at dinner she had cheerfully remarked "It must be nice to be so rich" as he talked about what his parents had recently purchased; as she tells Edward, "You saw how I envied Jim's parents their money." Thus, she assumes Edward was going to sell the stolen goods to pay for the salon.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • Variation, when Kim learns Edward knew whose house he was robbing, when he seemed to have been tricked into thinking they were retrieving stolen goods.
      Kim: Then why did you do it?
      Edward: Because you asked me to.
    • Even though Peg loves Edward very much as a friend, she eventually realizes that bringing him to live with her family was a mistake, and that it would be better if he lived in his tower where he's safe.
  • Jerk Jock: The burly Jim, seemingly the ideal counterpart to sweet cheerleader Kim, doesn't seem so bad when he's first introduced — he's occasionally insensitive but seems friendly and polite enough, especially around Kim's parents — but it doesn't take long for him to start looking down his nose at Edward as someone "less than" and who can be taken advantage of. On top of that, he manipulates Kim into convincing Edward to help them rob Jim's house, and when Edward ends up trapped inside coldly abandons him to Kim's horror and attempted resistance. As Kim comes to care more and more for Edward, Jim becomes more and more bitter and eventually murderous.
  • Kick the Dog: A literal version! It's easy to miss, but when Joyce is chatting with Edward in her garden and her dog is continuously yapping over their conversation, she casually back kicks it to shut it up, demonstrating to the audience that she's not a very nice person.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Esmeralda spends the entire movie accusing Edward of being a satanic creature. When Edward gets pissed after Jim tells him to go away one of the things he does is re-trim her hedges to resemble a devil staring at her window.
  • Logo Joke: The 20th Century Fox logo is recast in a dark wintry setting with snow falling upon it.
  • Looks Like Cesare: Edward, with his wild black hair, chalk-white and scar-covered face, deep hollows under his eyes, and his skintight costume, which appears to have been buckled and patched together out of dozens of black leather straps.
  • Love Epiphany: Kim slowly becomes more accepting and sympathetic towards Edward after realizing he became a Hero with Bad Publicity because he cares so much about her, but this trope kicks in when she actually sees him at work for the first time. As he carves the ice angel and inadvertently creates "snowfall", the extraordinary beauty of the scene causes her to impulsively twirl in the flakes with joy as she fully realizes how wonderful he is.
  • Love Triangle: The story ultimately hinges on TriangRelations Type Four: Edward loves Kim, who loves Jim. Jim decides to take advantage of the situation upon realizing it by convincing her to ask Edward to help rob Jim's house.
  • Manchild: Edward resembles a full-grown man but has never had any experience with the outside world, making him both dangerous to himself and others, and also vulnerable to manipulation. His childishness is underscored by his nervous, hesitant way of moving and the fact that he rarely speaks, and then only in very short sentences.
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: You'd think a guy with scissors for hands would do something with his hair...
  • Nosy Neighbor: The entire neighborhood, particularly Joyce, constantly bombard the Boggs' home once they realize Peg's hiding someone there. Eventually they pressure Peg into throwing a backyard barbecue so that they can finally meet Edward.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Kim; for the first half she's the only one that sees Edward's condition as odd (which, in reality, it would be), and for the second half she's the only one (along with her parents, and possibly Officer Allen) who doesn't perceive Edward as a malicious man, and in fact is the only one who comes to fully understand his For Happiness nature.
  • Kim's friend at dinner who won't accept the roast because Edward "...used his hands. I don't think it's sanitary." She's got a point - his clippers have trimmed bushes and hair and are only cleaned with oil out of the garage. No one else at the table seems to mind.
  • Pet the Dog: Officer Allen in the early going of the climax: When Edward flees back to the castle, Allen is the first to reach the outer gate. He fires into the air and says "Go on, run." As the crowd arrives he tells it to disperse, that it's all over. He clearly wants Edward to get away, but after he leaves most of the others venture up to the castle anyway — Kim out of fear Edward was killed, Jim to finish him off, and the mob to capture him.
  • Pinocchio Syndrome: Edward's odd hands mean he is unable to touch others physically, which becomes a problem when he falls for Kim. The film suggests there are ways he could gain ordinary hands, but that never comes to pass. Ultimately, it matters more to him that she understands and reciprocates his love.
  • Please Wake Up: Edward tells Peg, when asked about his father, "He didn't wake up."
  • Protagonist Title: Edward Scissorhands is, of course, the protagonist.
  • The Quiet One: Edward only speaks 169 words throughout the entire film!
  • Quirky Town: While few go near it, and most believe it to be haunted, apparently no one minds the sheer presence of the castle on the hill.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Officer Allen, who worries for Edward's well-being after realizing his situation and actively doesn't pursue him when he retreats into the mansion.
  • Recycled Trailer Music: Danny Elfman's much-recycled/imitated music is one of several scores that provided this trope with its original name "The Elfman Effect".
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Edward can eat, bleed, and even fall in love. This despite the fact he's basically the final iteration of a line of machines originally designed to make cookies, more like a homunculus than a robot.
  • Scars Are Forever: Played with: One of the first things Peg does when she meets Edward and realizes he's friendly is tend to the many scars on his face so they won't get infected. She later uses makeup — she is an Avon lady after all — to help conceal them, as well as to counteract his pale skin.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • The neighborhood consists of brilliant emerald-green, perfectly-manicured lawns, identical houses in a narrow range of pastel colors, all under a perfect blue sky...all to underscore its pleasant outward appearance against the not-so-nice behavior of its residents.
    • Edward's ice-sculpture garden looks like carved diamonds set under a starry sky and dancing snowflakes. It's a gorgeous combination of dark blue, gleaming white, and shining ice, all set off by deep green hedges.
    • The Inventor's castle is everything you'd want from a creepy castle: grey towering spires topped with fantastical gargoyles and surrounded by twisted, naked trees. It's only when we see past its outer walls that our expectations are subverted by the perfectly kept green gardens with their whimsical array of topiaries and flowers.
  • Sent Into Hiding: At the end, Edward retreats to his castle at the top of the hill. He ends up killing Jim in a confrontation to protect both himself and Kim, and she tells the townspeople, who have come to want him captured if not worse, that Edward died too.
  • Snow Means Love: One of the most literal applications of this trope ever, stemming from how Kim has her Love Epiphany when she sees Edward carving a magnificent ice angel for the Christmas party, which creates a snowfall of sorts with the flakes of ice sent flying. After they are forced to part forever Edward continues to create ice sculptures in the attic of his mansion, positioning his work near a window so that the "snowflakes" will drift out over the neighborhood. And since, according to the elderly Kim, "before he came here, it never snowed", she recognizes this as his work, an expression of literally (since he's apparently immortal) undying love for her.
  • Suburban Gothic: The film marries Suburban Gothic with traditional Gothic tropes to explore the themes of suburban conformity and mistrust of anything different.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Played with extensively in the third act, "helped" by the fact that Edward doesn't have a conventional sense of right and wrong. Because Edward will not reveal why he attempted to burglarize Jim's house (because Kim asked him to, and he wants to make her happy), the entire neighborhood begins to fear and shun him. After Jim drives him out of the Boggses' backyard after Edward accidentally slashes her hand, declaring him a "freak" who "can't touch anything without destroying it", Edward storms through the neighborhood vandalizing the topiaries he carved for the neighbors, puncturing the tires of a random car, and even scaring Esmeralda (who insisted all along he was evil) by turning a hedge in front of her window into a demon face! He also tears off the "normal" clothing he'd been politely wearing since arriving in the neighborhood, revealing his more menacing true appearance. But this is just a tantrum — when next seen he is gloomily, guiltily sitting on the edge of a driveway. Of course, the neighbors fear him more than ever, and even after he risks his life to save Kevin's his actions are again misinterpreted. After this he flees back to the castle on the hill, and Officer Allen lets him get away because he knows Edward isn't evil, but Jim ambushes Edward and Kim in the attic with the intent of killing the former. Edward finally has enough and kills Jim with full knowledge he has sealed his fate. To protect him, she convinces the mob that Edward also died, which allows him to be left alone in peace but with his reputation completely ruined for all but her.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Edward is too gentle, kind, and unique to live among the humans who will never understand him, and who will always either exploit him for his gifts or shun him for his appearance. After his failed experiment in living with people, he retreats to his castle and remains there forever.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Peg's plan to open a beauty parlor built around Edward' haircutting skills hits a serious snag when the bank sensibly points out that he's a huge financial risk, considering he has no previous work experience and not even a legal identity.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The mob doesn't have these items specifically, but as Burton notes on the DVD commentary, they fit this trope otherwise.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailers gave virtually the whole story away. This may have been to make sure people understood this wasn't a horror movie, but a tragicomic fantasy.
  • Travelling Salesman Montage: Peg repeatedly strikes out while perkily trying to sell Avon products to her neighbors in a sequence that serves as the Establishing Character Moment for her and several of the neighbors. After having yet another door shut in her face, she gets the idea to drop by the creepy castle on the hill.
  • Truly Single Parent: The unnamed scientist creates Edward from a machine in his factory, then proceeds to treat Edward like a small child as he teaches him about the world outside. It's strongly implied that the inventor's urge is born partly from curiosity and partly from loneliness.
  • Truth in Television: The subdivision wasn't a set built for the film. It's a real subdivision that was repainted shortly after construction. It was "restored" after the film and is a normal subdivision named Carpenter's Run in central Florida now, sans castle, of course. It's pretty typical of the sort of bland, repetitive, carbon-copy, subdivisions that sprung up in the housing boom in Florida from when the film was made until the early 2000s. It's exactly why Tim Burton chose it to represent the kind of bland, repetitive, carbon-copy, Anytown USA stereotype.
  • Twisted Christmas: The climax takes place on the night of a Christmas party.
  • The Unsmile: When the inventor reads Edward a limerick, Edward takes a first attempt at a smile. No, it isn't pretty, but he tries!
  • Woman Scorned: Joyce spreads nasty rumors about Edward after he rejects her attempt at seduction.
  • World of Jerkass: Excluding Edward, Kim and her family, and Officer Allen, nearly everyone else is shown to be judgmental, nasty, vindictive and even slanderous.