Tim Burton's Creative Genius

Beetlejuice costume

Beetlejuice costume

When it comes to Halloween part of the tradition for many people is to watch films.  Whether it is after the party or after a night of trick-or-treating, watching films with your family and friends is a great way to wind down and enjoy some on-screen fright.  Among the popular films of the season are those of Tim Burton, a creator and director who has built up an amazing reputation over the past 30 years.  His earlier films were experimental, but his first official release was his 1982 short film called Vincent, which was about one of Burton's idols, Vincent Price.  In fact, Price was the narrator, which was the perfect addition to the film.  Burton's first live action film for Disney was the 1984 Frankenweenie, which was paid homage to Frankenstein and the many other traditional monster films.

What other Burton films are perfect for Halloween?  What about Batman and Batman Returns?  Yes, those are Tim Burton films and they helped put Burton on the map, giving him the freedom to express himself in many of his other films.  The Batman films didn't really feel like true Burton films, but what a cast, with Jack Nicholson as the Joker and Michael Keaton as Batman.  However one of Burton's most popular classics actually came out the year before Batman and it is the perfect fun Halloween film that is great even for pre-teens and teens.  Beetlejuice, also starring Michael Keaton as well as Winona Ryder, Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, and Catherine O'Hara, is a fantastic film that will have you loving that dead guy who wants out of the world of the dead.

Edward scissorhandsa

Edward Scissorhands

So what other Burton masterpieces do people love to enjoy at Halloween and the year through?  Well, perhaps his absolute best was his amazing Edward Scissorhands, starring the amazing Johnny Depp.  This is a story of someone who is different, of a tortured artist, about love, rejection, acceptance, and creation.  Another of Burton's best films that is great at either Halloween or Christmas is the Nightmare Before Christmas.  This truly charming film is a must-see as Jack the Pumpkin King tries to do Santa's job and makes a mess of things.

Burton likes to pay homage to various genres and times and he does so for the 1950s and 1960s sci-fi in his 1996 film, Mars Attacks!  While this film was a box office flop, it still drew some big name actors, such as Jack Nicholson, Natalie Portman, Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Lisa Marie, Annette Benning, and Lukas Haas.  Despite its lack of popularity in the short-term, in the long-term it has become a cult classic.  In 1999, Burton came back with another winner – Sleepy Hollow, which is the terrifying story of the Headless Horseman as only Burton can tell it.  Depp is the lead in this film as well as many of the following Burton films and the story is filled with much fear and even a few flying heads and some splattering blood.  The Corpse Bride is yet another great Burton film that is ideal for Halloween.  This is the story of a shy young man who is getting married.  He practices his vows on a cemetery one day and ends up wedding a corpse.  Oh what a tangled web.

There are a number of other fabulous Burton films, including Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and his most recent Alice in Wonderland.  All of these would suit the Halloween haunting season and all of them show the true creative style of Burton.  What can we expect in the future?  Well, a full-length feature film of Frankenweenie is in production and that is sure to be a Tim Burton treat.  Until then, just snuggle up with your Halloween treats or any other night with a bowl of popcorn and enjoy one of Burton's other classics.