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The musical

  • Alternate Show Interpretation: The most recent Broadway revival, in which all of the characters are portrayed as inmates enacting the events in a madhouse.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: All over the place. Toby, for one. As the role is vocally demanding, adults are often cast in the part, which makes for the question of whether Toby is a kid or a mentally disabled man. For that note, the motives of the Beadle are ambiguous, whether he's a psychopath who's as bad as the judge or just a police officer who sincerely believes the judge is a good man. Then there's the matter of whether Anthony is a romantic hero who saves Johanna from the Judge or if he's a creepy stalker (though he's definitely a major step-up from Judge Turpin).
  • Awesome Music: The Ballad of Sweeney Todd, Epiphany, and A Little Priest, just to name a few. Well... really the entire song list (given the right cast) but bonus points go to Johanna Reprise.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Sweeney definitely crosses it when he kills his wife Lucy and later finds out what he's done and feels heavy regret. This implies that he's shown heavy regret for his actions and the end reveals how much suffering he has felt throughout the film.
  • Ear Worm: Just try to get ANY of the songs out of your head after viewing the theater or movie version. It's bloody impossible (but delightfully so).
    • Beadle deedle deedle deedle deedle dumpling beadle dumpling ba deedle deedle deedle deedle deedle deedle deedle deedle deedle deedle deedle deedle deedle...
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Toby in the 2001 concert version, for some reason
  • Ho Yay: In the movie, there seem to be overtones of this between Beadle Bamford and Judge Turpin. Mostly coming from Bamford's end, though it IS kinda odd that he seems to spend so much time with the judge...
  • Moral Event Horizon: The "Poor Thing" scene with Judge Turpin and Lucy Barker, and the scene where Mrs. Lovett locks Toby in the meat-grinder basement so Sweeney can kill him.
    • It was made clear that Mrs. Lovett understood what she was doing, since she was crying throughout. Creepy.
  • Most Annoying Sound: The terrifyingly loud, shrill sound of the factory whistle.
  • Motive Decay:
    • Sweeney quickly goes from desiring only revenge on the Judge and Beadle responsible for his imprisonment and stealing his wife and daughter to a vendetta against all humanity. However, given that in the original Victorian "shilling shocker", Sweeney had no motivation for his crimes, this is undoubtedly an improvement.
    • There's even a song that illustrates it: his part in the Johanna Quartet.
    • Todd's Motive Decay is a fully-fledged part of his character arc; come The Reveal at the very end, Todd realizes what a monster he has become in allowing his lust for revenge and violence to consume him.
  • Nightmare Fuel: After you get over the murderous barber and the cannibalism, enjoy your nightmares about the mentally deranged manchild. I can't sleep, Toby will get me.
    • Toby's pat-a-cake-pat-a-cake at the end, Judge Turpin, The tooth pulling scene (in the original), the 2005 revival.
  • Paranoia Fuel: A trip to the barber's or a pie shop both made very creepy for the Victorian audience. For the typical modern audiences, this story has made the straight razor unsettlingly best known as a weapon of murder.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: The romance subplot between Johanna and Anthony, particularly in the film where Relationship Compression comes into play and Anthony is portrayed as an insufferable bishie wannabe.
  • Squick: To be fair, the whole thing is pretty squicky, but Judge Turpin gets a special mention for "Johanna (Mea Culpa)," where he flagellates himself to orgasm while watching his teenaged ward through a keyhole. While singing. It was cut from the original Broadway production, and, unsurprisingly, it's only occasionally reinstated. When done well, the sequence can be one of the most chilling in the show...which is about serial murder and cannibalism.
  • The Woobie: Toby, poor kid. Johanna too, seeing what she's had to live with.

The 2007 film

  • Complete Monster: Judge Turpin and the Beadle
  • Creepy Awesome/Evil Is Sexy: Sweeney Todd
  • Evil Makeover: Sorta, or something. When Todd and Mrs. Lovett take Toby under their wing, Toby starts to get some characteristics from them, mostly the untamed hair and some eyebags and very pale skin.
  • He Really Can Act (and sing!): Sacha Baron Cohen plays Pirelli.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: When the movie came out, it was noted that there were three Harry Potter alums in the film. The actor who played Anthony in Sweeney Todd later played Grindelwald, so that's four.
  • Moe: Toby, before he becomes a Creepy Child.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The rape scene. Jesus Christ, the rape scene. Some consider it to be the scariest scene in the movie.
    • The beggar woman's capacity for this was ramped right up for the movie.
    • The scene with Toby in the evil basement, when the poor kid finally learns what's in the pies -- and then has to watch as the just-murdered Beadle Bamford gets dumped right down into the basement with him. And then Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney come down into the sewer looking for him because they want to murder him too.
    • When Sweeney finds out Lovett lied to him, he takes her off her guard by dancing with her - and throws her into the furnace. Unlike the stage play, we can see exactly what happens as she screams and thrashes while she burns up.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Hey girls, it's Caius playing Anthony!
  • Tear Jerker: "Forget my face."
    • The rape scene.
    • "Not While I'm Around" is more of a Fridge Horror tearjerker, since it all goes waaaaaay downhill from there.
    • The final scenes with Todd, taking the dead Lucy on his arms, and Toby slashing his throat and he cradling her while slowly dying. Todd may have ended being an Ax Crazy psychopath, but the look on his eyes is the look of a completely broken man. Can you say Stoic Woobie?
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