Sleepy Hollow Original and Limited Edition Art (1999)

The film opens with the signing and sealing of a testament. Next, Old van Garrett, a landlord from Sleepy Hollow, is pursued and beheaded by a mysterious person.

In 1799, New York City police constable Ichabod Crane is trying to convince people to use scientific methods instead of torture to convict people, in the spirit of a dawning new century. Finally, a judge lets him test out his theories in Sleepy Hollow, a small town which has suffered three murders in two weeks. The victims have all been decapitated. Crane arrives in Sleepy Hollow, which is guarded and suspicious toward strangers. As he walks inside the Van Tassel's manor, he interrupts a game where blindfolded Katrina, the Van Tassel daughter, picks someone to kiss. She picks Ichabod and tries to guess who he is. Ichabod tells her he is just a stranger, and she gives him a kiss on the cheek to welcome him, making her fiancee Brom jealous.

The town elders - next to Baltus van Tassel, these include Magistrate Phillips, Notary Hardenbrooke, Reverend Steenwyck and Doctor Lancaster - tell Crane a story about a bloodthirsty Hessian mercenary with sharpened teeth who had fought in the Revolutionary War and became notorious for his penchant of beheading people. Twenty years previously, not far from Sleepy Hollow, he was ambushed by Continental troops and his horse shot down. On foot, he was losing the officers when he ran into two little girls collecting wood. He tried to tell them to be quiet, but one of them took a stick and snapped it, and the officers caught up with him. During the battle the Hessian was stabbed, beheaded by his own sword and buried. Ever since, the elders claim that the burial site, the western woods, are haunted, but Crane dismisses the story and begins his own investigation.

During the night, Jonathan Masbeth, who is standing guard, hears the horseman coming and tries shooting at him, but fails and is at length beheaded. After Masbeth's funeral, Crane meets Masbeth's son, now orphaned, who wants to join Ichabod and help avenge his father. Ichabod politely declines until Magistrates Philips tells him that there are five bodies in four graves, whereupon Crane and young Masbeth dig up the graves of Van Garrett and his son, Widow Winship, and old Masbeth. While performing an autopsy on Widow Winship, Ichabod discovers that she was pregnant when she was killed.

Later that night, as he is riding Gunpowder, his borrowed horse, a horseman appears with a flaming pumpkin chases Crane through the forest and finally throws the pumpkin at him, knocking him off his horse. He gallops by, and it is revealed that it was Brom playing a prank. Ichabod then faints and has a dream about his mother, in which she draws strange symbols, and his father, a harsh minister. Ichabod wakes and finds Katrina reading a book. She tells him some of the family's history before giving him a book about magic, telling Ichabod to keep the book close to his heart, as it will protect him. Katrina takes Ichabod to her family's old cottage and carelessly draws a magical symbol in the accumulated dirt in the fireplace, startling him.

That night, Ichabod sees Philips trying to run away. Ichabod catches up and learns Phillips knew the identity of the widow's lover and the father of the unborn child, and is now terrified that the horseman will come after him next. Ichabod tries to talk him out of it, saying that there is no horseman, but then the Horseman gallops out of the woods and kills Philips. The head rolls towards Ichabod, but instead of killing him, the Horseman simply grabs the head and gallops away. Terrified, Ichabod faints.

The next morning, Ichabod is still in deep shock from his first brush with the supernatural, and the townspeople assume he will return to New York. Ichabod dreams again of his mother, an argument between his parents, and an iron, coffin-like object. Regaining his senses, Ichabod sets out for the western woods with young Masbeth, the only person volunteering to accompany him, to find the Horseman's grave. In the woods, Ichabod decides that the murders must be connected, whereupon Masbeth tells him that his family worked for the van Garretts, and there was a fight between the elder van Garrett and his son about a week before the murder.

Ichabod and Masbeth find a small cottage hidden inside a cave. Inside is a veiled woman, whom they ask for information. She grabs Ichabod, chains herself to the wall and starts a dark magic rite, babbling that 'the other' is coming. As Ichabod touches her, her veil flies back, revealing that the crone is under a demonic possession, and she tells him where to find the Horseman's grave. Upon continuing their search, Ichabod and Masbeth encounter Katrina, who has decided to help Ichabod. They are about to kiss when Masbeth finds the Tree of the Dead, the place where the Horseman was buried. Noticing something oozing off the bark, Ichabod chops at the tree, blood splattering onto him, and finds a cache of heads the Horseman has taken. He climbs further up and digs, finding the Horseman's headless skeleton, but notices that the skull is not inside the grave.

Right after this revelation, the Horseman jumps out of the tree, rides to the village and enters a house, killing a family of three. Brom hears the commotion and shoots the horseman, who simply stands up again. Brom refuses to stop fighting the Horseman, despite Ichabod's pleas. Finally they run away, but the Horseman pursues them, stabbing Ichabod and killing Brom. Ichabod miraculously survives, however, and after recovery declares that the Horseman does not kill at random, but that someone is coercing him to do so. While sleeping again, Ichabod dreams again about his parents and is finally able to understand that his dreams are actually a long-buried childhood trauma from when he was seven years old: His father had killed his mother upon the suspicion that she was a witch by stuffing her into an iron maiden; upon the shock of discovering her dead, Ichabod had inadvertently injured his hands upon the spikes of a chair of agony, leaving his palms permanently marked. Upon waking, he tells Katrina that he has now found her love to comfort him.

The next day, the Lady van Tassel tells Ichabod that the servant girl has vanished. Musing and scribbling down clues in his notebook, Masbeth and Ichabod realize that the Horseman is killing the people connected to the person who stole his skull, with Baltus van Tassel as the main suspect. They visit Notary Hardenbrooke, but find the notary in panic and the satchel of Masbeth's father which holds the last will and testament of van Garrett, which left everything to widow Winship. Ichabod realizes the person who would benefit from this is Baltus van Tassel, as he would be next to inherit.

Upon Ichabod's return, Katrina is in his room, having read the clues he has scribbled down and now feeling bitter about him and his (as she claims) unwarranted suspicions. Ichabod dismisses Katrina, who watches him put the evidence away before leaving. Suddenly, a spider appears, and the frightened Ichabod orders Masbeth to kill it. It crawls under the bed, and when the bed is dragged away, there is a drawing in pink chalk, which they assume to be a symbol of dark magic.

That night, Ichabod sees a figure leave the house. It is revealed to be Lady van Tassel having sex with one of the officials and slicing her hand. Upon return, Ichabod realizes the evidence is gone, and the next morning he finds Katrina, who has taken all the evidence and burnt it. At the house, Lady van Tassel reveals that she knows Ichabod saw her the previous night, and then Baltus bursts in, announcing that Hardenbrooke hung himself in the night. Sleepy Hollow has a town meeting in the church, and Ichabod is advised to leave, as the mood in town is now certainly hostile towards him.

That night, as the townspeople gather in the church, Baltus comes running, telling Katrina that the Horseman killed her stepmother as she was gathering herbs. The townspeople all rush to get inside the church as the Horseman rides towards them, but he is unable to step upon sacred ground. Inside, pandemonium reigns as the remaining officials want to sacrifice Baltus. As truths are threatened to be revealed, Doctor Lancaster is clubbed to death by Reverend Steenwyck, who is then accidentally shot by Baltus. Finally, Baltus yells that there is a conspiracy, but before he can reveal it, the horseman throws a picket at him, impaling him and dragging him to outside the church grounds, where he is beheaded. Katrina faints, and it is shown that she has just drawn a magical symbol upon the church floor identical to the one Ichabod has found in his room.

Ichabod regretfully decides to leave Sleepy Hollow, with young Masbeth and Katrina being sorry to see him go. As he leaves the town, he passes Lady van Tassel's body being carried into a building. Leafing through the book Katrina gave him, Ichabod finds to his startlement that the 'evil' sign she has been drawing is actually a protection spell. He returns immediately to Sleepy Hollow and checks out 'Lady van Tassel's' body and realizes that the cut on the hand has not congealed at all, meaning that the victim was dead before being cut. Meanwhile, Katrina is mourning Ichabod's leaving when her stepmother appears alive from the shadows, and she faints.

As Ichabod rushes to Katrina's rescue, Lady van Tassel summons the Headless Horseman and tells Katrina that the body the townspeople had believed to be hers was in fact the missing servant girl's. Lady van Tassel then tells Katrina (and young Masbeth, who had noticed Katrina's abduction, followed her and now listens from the shadows) her story: When her father, a man by the name of Archer, died, the landlord van Garrett evicted his family from their cottage. No one would take them in, as her mother was suspected of witchcraft, while the van Tassels took the Archer cottage. Her mother died within the year, leaving her twin girls to survive in the woods, where they witnessed the Hessian's death. When she had mastered the witchcraft skills taught by her mother, Lady van Tassel used them to raise the Horseman from the dead to carry out her revenge, entered the van Tassel residence as a nurse, where she slowly killed Katrina's mother, and married Baltus. She then proceeded to use the Horseman to kill the people she has been wronged by, including her sister (the witch in the cave) for the help she has rendered to Ichabod, or who would stand in her way of claiming the van Tassel inheritance - including Katrina. Widow Winship was murdered because the child she carried was sired by van Garrett.

Ichabod arrives just in time to save Katrina and young Masbeth from the Horseman, and after a harrowing chase they arrive at the Tree of the Dead. Lady van Tassel, who has foreseen their plan, shoots Ichabod in the chest with a pistol, and Katrina is easily caught by the horseman. But the shot has hit and was stopped by Katrina's spell book Ichabod had kept in his breast pocket, just like the Hessian's sword in their earlier confrontation. Ichabod realizes Lady van Tassel has the skull in her bag, and they wrestle for the skull until Masbeth hits Lady van Tassel with a piece of wood, allowing Ichabod to grab it. Just before the Horseman beheads Katrina, Ichabod returns the skull to him, and the Horseman's head is restored. The Horseman pulls Lady van Tassel onto his horse and returns back to Hell, taking his tormentor with him. Following the resolution of the case, Ichabod, Katrina and Masbeth leave for New York to start a new life together.




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