Sleepy Hollow ending explained (except for one thing)

1999 Johnny Deep Stars In The Movie 'Sleepy Hollow.' (Photo By Getty Images)
1999 Johnny Deep Stars In The Movie 'Sleepy Hollow.' (Photo By Getty Images) /

The Sleepy Hollow ending is easily explained…except for one nagging question

I wouldn’t say the Sleepy Hollow ending always catches me by surprise, but I would say it did the very first time I watched, and the most recent time I viewed it. Because I once again forgot who the killer is.

Obviously, it’s the Headless Horseman.

Technicalities in the story

Well, technically he’s more of a weapon because on his own he’s not the one doing the killing. He’s controlled by Lady Van Tassel (Miranda Richardson).

Her husband, Baltus Van Tassel (Michael Gambon) invites Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) to stay in the Van Tassel household with his wife and daughter, Katrina (Christina Ricci), while Ichabod conducts his investigation of the murders in Sleepy Hollow.

As the story unfolds, we learn that Lady Van Tassel is Katrina’s step-mother. Lady Van Tassel stands to inherit her husband’s estate, but first, she must get everyone involved with his will, from his lawyer who created it to anyone who witnessed its signing, out of the way. And she definitely has to eliminate the person she’d have to share with, Katrina.

The way she carries out her diabolical plan is to dig up the head of the Hessian Horseman (played by Christopher Walken).

The Hessian Horseman was a mercenary sent by the Germans to fight during the Revolutionary War. He loved carnage and was known for cutting the heads off his enemies.

Lady Van Tassel and her sister encountered him when they were girls. He was trying to escape soldiers pursuing him. He let them live, even though the sisters snapped a twig to signal the soldiers where he was. He was then killed the same way he’d killed so many others.

Years later, in an effort to claim her husband’s wealth all for herself, she makes a deal with the Devil and digs up the Hessian’s head. That’s all it takes to control the legend that the residents of Sleepy Hollow call the Headless Horseman (who was played by Ray Park).

At the end of the movie, Ichabod and Katrina, with Lady Van Tassel and the Headless Horseman chasing them, find themselves at the Tree of the Dead.

Ichabod manages to get the skull away from Lady Van Tassel and tosses it to the Headless Horseman. That breaks the spell she has over him but doesn’t break their bond. He drags her back to hell with him.

When Ichabod returns to New York, he brings Katrina and Masbath, a young orphaned helper he’d met in Sleepy Hollow, with him.

It all seems like a nice tidy ending right?

Not everything is explained in Sleepy Hollow

But whatever happened to Ichabod and Katrina? Doesn’t it seem like they could’ve made, if not a sequel, a continuation of Ichabod’s future investigations? Doesn’t it seem like it was a missed franchise opportunity?

Or do you think the Sleepy Hollow ending was fine as is and it’s better it was only a stand-alone movie?

Which Netflix movies do you like to watch at Halloween? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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