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Headscratchers / Edward Scissorhands

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  • Just why exactly did Edward wind up with scissors for hands? I understand that the inventor never got around to building Edward proper human-like hands, but why the hell would he put scissors on him in the first place? Even if Edward was supposed to be a gentle soul, building a Frankenstein-like artificial human with deadly metal blades for hands is a pretty big risk for an inventor to take—what if he ever went rogue? And if he just didn't have time to build hands, wouldn't it have made more sense to give him grasping claws that he could actually hold things with? Or better yet, he could've just not bothered with putting anything in place of hands until he was ready to give Edward the real thing. As we see in the movie, scissor-hands are very handy for cutting hair and bushes, but they're pretty much useless for anything that you would ordinarily use hands for. It seems like the scissor-hands caused much more trouble than they were worth.
    • Edward started out as a (presumably mindless) machine used to cut things up. When the inventor built that, he never intended to eventually make him into a human/android. Eventually he got the idea to do just that, but again, it's not like he started out creating a human robot and kept the scissor hands for the lulz. He did intend to give him regular hands, just died before he could do it.
    • They actually show the hands Edward would have gotten; but the scientist dies literally on Edward's hands; and Edward can't do anything to help him and may have in fact killed his own father; the hands are shown to have been damaged well beyond repair and the film is not clear on just how much time has passed between that accident and the current day; but it's safe to assume it has been years and years; we are shown at the end that Edward doesn't age and is still very functional.
      • I'm not sure where that was stated in the movie, but it would explain Edward's supernatural haircutting and hedge-sculpting skills.
      • I think the hands presented to him in the box are largely meant to be symbolic, an idea of what the inventor will be giving him. I also don't think Edward actually kills the inventor - all he does is touch his face with a blade and he doesn't react - As Edward later tells Peg, "He didn't wake up,". At some point in the film we also see some pages and overlays for Edward's design, which appear to suggest that he was basically a modified version of one of the chopping robots we see.
      • As is presented in the film, it is pretty evident those were meant to be the actual hands that the inventor made for him.
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    • Don't forget that while he may be a kind mad scientist, the inventor is still a mad scientist.
    • Well, Edward started out as a cookie cutter. I always assumed that the inventor added to the cookie-cutting robot over time to create Edward, hence his scissor hands.
    • What's really odd is that the inventor was able to design a synthetic skin that could heal and scar, but saved something as simple and practical as fingers for last.

  • Was anyone else bothered by Edward killing Jim? Yeah, he was a dangerous, dangerous Jerkass, but Edward stabs him, gives him a cold stare, then throws him out of a window. Is that not a little overkill?
    • Beware the Nice Ones. It was shown earlier in the film that Edward has a darker side that comes out when he's angry. It could be argued it was a case of "him or me" since Jim seemed willing to kill him.
      • Jim was actively trying to kill him. Edward didn't seem like he was really trying to fight back until Jim hurt Kim, but I think it could easily be considered self-defense.
    • The fall would have killed him much quicker than the stab wound. Throwing him out the window was essentially a mercy kill.
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    • As added to the YMMV page, the 'Burton on Burton' book of collected interviews published in the 90's suggests that, for Burton, there is a small element of revenge fantasy in that scene, perhaps making it slightly less palatable. Jim's still a sadistic creep who nearly mowed down Kim's brother, probably could have killed her, and tried to kill Edward, but even so.

  • So in all the years of the town living down below, nobody ever visited or was even curious about the highly visible creepy mansion on the top of the hill?
    • It's possible that a few people came up to the creepy mansion, but screamed and ran away at the sight of Edward.
      • But they all seemed pretty happy to meet him. And no one gave any sign of recognizing him.
    • Simple: The big creepy mansion is private property. They don't go up there because they're not invited.
    • They assumed it was deserted. You naturally would do when faced with an aging, decrepit mansion that nobody has ever claimed to have lived in. Remember it took a desperate salesman to finally go up there.
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    • Just because they think it's deserted doesn't mean they wouldn't be curious about visiting it. And said salesman didn't think it was deserted if she was going up there. She was hoping to find a customer.
    • Kim's granddaughter says that she heard it was haunted. Given the exclusive nature of the neighbors toward anything diverse or outstanding, it's not hard to imagine that negative rumors like that had been around since the mansion was built. Everyone keeps away because they don't like how nonconformist it is.
    • We actually had one of those places in my town until it was torn down. And no. During the time I've lived here, I'd never heard of anybody going there. The Fell Mansion I think it was called.

  • Why did Edward never see a doctor? It was mentioned several times in the film that he should see a surgeon about getting prosthetic hands, and one time he actually said he'd like the name of one when offerred, but we never saw any follow-up on the subject.
    • One possible explanation is that there's a theme of misanthropy throughout the film. The townspeople are happy to be entertained by Edward, but they never truly try to help him, they just condescend to him, and then feel better about themselves for it like they just did him a favor by acknowledging he exists. They want to look compassionate without being compassionate. It's easy to mention you know a doctor, it's quite another to see about actually putting Edward in contact with that doctor.
      • And in all honesty, if you were Edward, would you be roaming around asking people for a surgeon? I think not.
    • It was also mentioned that he considered it, but didn't want his gift of styling and sculpting taken away. Still that makes both more and less sense since maybe he coulda made the normal and scissor hands interchangeable after the procedure was finished. Or say the least have one normal and the other scissored.
    • A deleted scene with Edward in the hospital after his shock from the talk show had him ask a nurse about the doctor that could help him, only to be told there was no such person. Burton said this wasn't needed, as well as Edward's make-up being different since it was the first day of filming.
    • There is the little fact that hand/arm replacement is the single biggest challenge for the medical prothesis industry, there have been plenty of breakthroughs recently but we are still not quite there. Back in 1990 there was nothing available in the market that even approched the level of finesse and control that Ed had with his scissors.

  • Here's one that's bothered me. The ice blocks Edward uses to create snow, where did they come from?
    • The neighbors loved his plant sculptures so much they all chipped in to have the ice delivered just so he could sculpt it.
    • I always assumed they came from the castle. The Inventor seemed to like making foods in bulk, so he probably had some kind of cold storage room where the ice blocks could have been kept.

  • What's the deal with Edward's hair, anyway?
    • He's not dextrous enough to cut his own hair.
    • I figured he had been cutting it, but kept botching it, along bed-headedness. Hence why he has all those scars on his face.
    • Edward cares for others much more than cares for himself. He doesn't bother with cutting his own hair because he doesn't need to. When the townsfolk showed interest in having their hair styled, he complied because he figured it would make them happy.

  • Am I the only one who found Kim's decision to never go visit Edward to be pretty selfish?
    • She didn't want people knocking at his door should they catch her sneaking off to the mansion. Aside from that, she said to her grand daughter that she wanted Edward to remember her as she was when he met her. After seeing his "father" die of old age, he probably couldn't bear seeing the same happening to Kim.

  • How did Joyce ever come to the conclusion that having sex with a scissor-handed man was a good idea?
    • I don't know, man. People are weird. Why do some women correspond and fall in love with death row inmates?
    • There's a Porn Parody of the film, Edward Penishands. Obviously some people find Edward sexually attractive (& he is played by Johnny Depp...).
    • Did he even have a penis anyway?
      • Arguably yes. The mad scientist wished to make a replica of a man he would consider his son, so it would be odd if he left something out.
      • ...Really? I mean, why would he think to add that on? Unless he's planning for Edward to then reproduce (and given that its unlikely he'd have the means to add in robot-DNA somehow, that's unlikely to ever be possible, even in a world where its possible to make a sentient scissor-handed robot), then I'd think it'd be far more odd for him to decide to give his robot son a penis.
      • I would say he didn't have a penis. It would not be very wise to give your blade-handed robot a penis before you gave it hands.
    • I don't think Edward can have sex (my impression was that black leather-like suit over his torso was closer to being his skin than just clothing). The inventor would've have to have had some really twisted priorities if "fully functional penis" ranked higher on his list of things to install than "hands."

  • This troper wonders, even though, it was obviously never done to keep the film going, why did they never just you know blunt/ cut a majority of the blades on his digits and place some kind of rubber/latex "tips"? if you look closely at his hands there are some joints in his "fingers" so simply reducing the size and shape probably would of made the whole "not cutting everything to shreds" thing a whole load more manageable.
    • One thing to understand is that with the exception of Kim, nobody in that town (yes, not even Peg) was really interested in helping Edward. For them, Edward was their own sideshow freak, a cool novelty to break the monotony of their little suburbia heaven.

  • Did the police really just take Kim's word for it that Edward and Jim were dead and never go investigate the actual crime scene?
    • Yes.

  • Peg and Bill's son was shown to have a bunk bed, and Bill had a pull out sofa bed in his den. Why stick the guy with blades on his hands on a waterbed?
    • They were probably just trying to make him feel comfortable and at home. Plus, Bill doesn't seem to be the sharpest tool in the shed.

  • If Kim liked Edward so much and knew that he was framed in the burglary, why didn't she come forward and admit that he was framed and that she was in on it the whole time?
    • Not many people could take the word of a teenage girl. And probably at this point, people are beginning to become afraid of Edward.

  • Did snow not exist before Edward came along? And if it didn’t exist, how was there ice to make it out of?
    • The particular suburb Burton used for filming isn’t a set, it’s an actual neighborhood in Central Florida. Barring the northern panhandle of Florida, it doesn’t snow there, which is why we see Bill stapling fake snow on his roof when they’re decorating for Christmas. Not to mention there are plenty of areas in the US (take Los Angeles, for example) that rarely if ever see snow. It’s safe to say that while snow does exist, the film takes place in an area where snow would be a weather anomaly. As for the giant blocks of ice, the Inventor started out building robots to make pastries and chop produce. The ice could be from a storage freezer.

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