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Scissorman

9 Jan

If you’ve ever watched Edward Scissorhands you may have done so without realising that Tim Burton’s famous film is partly based upon an obscure Victorian nursery rhyme and urban legend – that of the Scissorman. The origin of this strange character is a matter of some dispute – some say that he is entirely fictitious, a nightmarish creature dreamt up by generations of parents to frighten their children into behaving themselves. To others there is no doubt that he is all too real and was in fact a serial killer in Victorian London (akin to other bogeymen like Sweeney Todd, Jack the Ripper and Springheel Jack). His trademark weapon was a massive pair of scissors that he used to stab and cut his unfortunate victims, usually following a sadistic game of hide-and-seek. Mark Chadbourn, a writer whose work I greatly admire, to some degree used both origin stories for the Scissorman in dreaming up his brilliant but twisted novel of the same name.

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