Essentially a making-of featurette in book form, Sleepy Hollow: Creating Heroes, Demons and Monsters takes us behind the scenes of the joyfully mental supernatural TV series, showcasing the characters and creatures that populate it, and several of the more significant settings.
With most of the monsters featured in the show being one-shot villains (and some with mere minutes of screen time) it can be easy to miss the detail that went into crafting each of them. Here, the inspirations behind each creature and the intricacies of their design are presented in loving detail, with just as much thought and consideration given to the more ‘human’ antagonists such as the Weeping Lady or the Succubus as the most hideous of the monsters such as the Pied Piper or the Wendigo. More of a personal connection is granted by regular quotations from a number of the show’s technical crew, principally costume designer Kristin Burke, makeup department head Corey Castellano and VFX supervisor Jason Michael Zimmerman, although some longer isolated quotations are printed in an overly-elegant copperplate font that’s difficult to read easily.
There are also similar detailed rundowns relating the conceptual histories of almost all the featured characters (certain areas of the fandom may bemoan the absence of a section on the roguish Hawley), detailing how each of them has developed from their original inception to initial on-screen realisation and occasional alteration due to fan reaction.
The book is very image-heavy, incorporating hundreds of photos, sketches, storyboards, blueprints and pieces of concept art, all serving to illustrate the various stages of each design’s formation. Some descriptions include insight into creative decisions such as the costumes sometimes staying as close to historical accuracy as possible and other times being wilfully ignored for the sake of practicality or visual aesthetics, which may pacify those with enough knowledge to pick up on the occasional anachronism. Also included are some side by side comparisons of the various stages of CGI composition like the resurrection of the witch Serilda in Blood Moon, the animation of Henry’s armoured avatar in This Is War or Irving’s vision of an apocalyptic future in Go Where I Send Thee.
With such short and specific sections, the book is easy to dip in and out of, and might actually be advisable as it gets a little repetitive if read in a single sitting. A few spoilers crop up here and there, so you may want to finish watching the second season before diving in, but in all honesty if you’re someone interested in a book like this then you’ve probably watched the entire thing at least twice by now already.
SLEEPY HOLLOW: CREATING HEROES, DEMONS AND MONSTERS / AUTHOR: TARA BENNETT, PAUL TERRY / PUBLISHER: TITAN BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW