Movies Rock
The Fright Club
Johnny Depp and Tim Burton
Fall 2007
Photograph by Mary Ellen Mark

Tim Burton may be best known for his ghoulish sensibility and his visual virtuosity, but he’s also an actor’s director – especially if the actor in question is Johnny Depp.  The pair have already collaborated on Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and now comes Sweeney Todd, a brand‑new movie version of the venerable musical thriller.  First staged on Broadway in 1979, Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece of horror, black humor, and soaring musicality has intrigued film directors for years, but it's easy to see
Why Burton became the one to bring its wickedness to the screen. Meanwhile, Depp is suitably pale and possessed as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, his eyes burning with vengeance as he wields that lethal straight razor, and Helena Bonham Carter plays the besotted but treacherous Mrs. Lovett, whose juicy meat pies complement his efforts so well. Contributing to the fun, not to mention the meat pies, are Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, and Sacha Baron Cohen. The film arrives just in time for Christmas, and why not? Rivulets of blood seeping through the floorboards add such a festive touch to those color‑coordinated holiday decorations.

Photographed by Mary Ellen Mark on location in London