One of my favorite TV shows is Dexter, the story of a serial killer who dices up his victims. One my favorite movies of all time is Silence of The Lambs. Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street makes them both look like Sesame Street.
Should it be shocking that Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the story of a madman who murders just about everyone he meets, is a violent, gory, blood soaked horror movie? Well, yes.
No complaints about the special effects in Sweeney Todd, nearly two hours after watching Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, my neck is still suffering from the phantom pain of severed arteries. There is something especially wrong about a man singing a love song to his daughter while he calmly cuts one throat after another after another after another. You never get over that visceral shock of blood gushing out of slit necks.
Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a musical, for all the slit throats and cannibalism. The songs are great, many of them are downright silly, such as the one where Sweeney and Mrs Lovett discuss the merits of eating pies made from Vickers vs pies made from Poets. This is almost an opera, as the songs only stop for brief moments and then pick up the story again. Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is more Saw than Sound of Music, this is not a feel good film.
Harry Potter fans might like seeing Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall playing parts that could be dropped into the Potter universe without too much alteration. Buffy The Vampire Slayer fans can catch a glimpse of Anthony Stewart Head as he makes a cameo to ask Sweeney where his barber shop is located. Borat fans can see Sacha Baron Cohen playing an almost normal person as Sweeney Todd’s rival for the title of Best Barber in London.
Blood, blood, and more blood aside, I was not impressed with the Guy Fawkes make-up that Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter had to wear for Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Pancake white powder base and black eye sockets make them both look as if they were dressed up for Halloween. This walking corpse bit might have worked if they had used the same make-up on anyone else in the story. As it was it felt like no one in Sweeney Todd could actually see Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett, and maybe that was the whole point.
This is a Hamlet kind of none-left-standing film, but that’s alright, as you never like any of them anyway. Get yourself a copy of Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the Original Broadway Soundtrack and listen to the songs. They really are amazingly good, when you don’t have to watch people being slaughtered while you hear them.