Tim Burton's fantasy of alienation and acceptance, Edward Scissorhands (1990), is almost as haunting as it is romantic -- a cunning mixture of charm and fright that shows us a soul in torment. The gentle title character, played by a young Johnny Depp, is the creation of a Frankenstein-like inventor (Vincent Price) who dies before he can complete work on a synthetic boy made from a cookie-cutting machine. Young Edward is left with a pair of lethal shears for hands, and, once he comes down from his maker's musty castle into a deceptively placid, pastel-colored suburb, runs into some grave social problems. Regarded with suspicion, Edward tries to make good by clipping the townspeople's hedges into elaborate topiaries, but that only causes him to be denounced as a freak and a demon. How to fit in? How to climb onto a waterbed or embrace someone you love without slashing up the place? How to reconcile art and those who resist it? These are the underlying concerns that consume Burton (Beetlejuice, Batman). Add a sympathetic Avon lady (Dianne Wiest), her curious cheerleader daughter (Winona Ryder) and a nasty teenage bully (Anthony Michael Hall), and the elements of a well-made parable are all in place.
Edward Scissorhands is on view through Tuesday, May 18, at the Oriental Theatre, 4335 West 44th Avenue. It's a classic movie house that has recently revived film screenings as a supplement to a series of concerts booked by MOD Productions. For information and showtimes, call 303-433-3786 or log on to www.modproductions.com.