Tim Burton hasn’t been delivering on quality as he once was, so it’s become a rare occasion that he’s able to deliver on something genuinely entertaining. “Miss Peregrime’s” is one of the darkest Burton films ever directed, and while it’s touted toward children, it definitely skirts the edges quite often. That’s mainly due to the creepy villains that make a point of eating children’s eyes, amounting to some of the most horrific material in an otherwise darkly fantastic drama.
In 1988, Tim Burton introduced us to a foul-mouthed freelance “bio-exorcist” ghost, simply named Beetlejuice (or, to those sticklers out there, Betelgeuse). Like most entities of his ilk, chanting his name three times would give him power, allowing him to interact with the real world and perform hauntings and create monsters. Michael Keaton took on the guise of the demonic anti-hero with a penchant for perversion and trickery and director Tim Burton created a bonafide horror icon for the 90s. In 1989, the love for Beetlejuice had hit its high and Burton cemented himself as a master of Goth tales with Batman and Edward Scissorhands soon after.
On July 22nd, the 60th anniversary of “Plan 9 from Outer Space” will be celebrated by horror fans and movie buffs alike, and it’s a celebration I hope you partake in. Ed Wood’s science fiction horror film is notorious for being branded “the worst film ever made,” but through and through it’s proven to be a film that’s so bad it’s quite great. With the Ed Wood classic hitting its 60th, I recommend five ways you can celebrate the anniversary and honor the auteur we once knew we Edward Wood Jr.
If “Batman” was the opening act of Tim Burton’s iteration of Batman, “Batman Returns” is a pretty epic second chorus that pretty much completes the picture. Whether or not you believe Burton dropped out, or was ousted by Warner for being too dark or violent, “Batman Returns” is a pretty good closing chapter in Burton’s Batman world, even in spite of its flaws. Hell, it’s a better film than “Batman,” despite the fact it objectively garners the more obvious flaws than the 1989 original.
It’s a new era and a brand new format for movie lovers and Warner Bros. is offering up their “Batman” movie anthology from the 1990’s on 4K UHD for those that have converted. With “Batman” also celebrating its thirtieth anniversary (where does the time go?) since its theatrical release, Tim Burton’s iconic adaptation of the DC Comics hero manages to appear once again in an even higher definition making it—uh—Battier? Burtoner? In either case, the good news is “Batman” is still a solid iteration of the Dark Knight, which is all that counts.
For the respective Tim Burton enthusiast comes “Tim Burton: The Iconic Filmmaker and His Work,” a comprehensive biography and study of the master’s work by author Ian Nathan. Courtesy of Aurum Press, the book is a hardcover encyclopedia of everything Tim Burton, chronicling pretty much every film he’s ever made, from his short films in school, to his work in animation, right down to major projects like “Batman Returns” and “Dark Shadows.” Fans of Burton will be pleased to read about the interesting life Burton has led, and how he was often drawn to the Gothic and ideas about the outcasts in “normal” society.
I respect Tim Burton’s legacy a lot and I admire what he was going for with “The Corpse Bride.” Not a lot of mainstream directors aspire to deliver movies that are more bent toward the Gothic sensibility with homages to folks like Edward Gory. Burton is a man who clearly has a love for the style, and I love it as well. Sadly, “The Corpse Bride” is a weaker approach toward the stop motion animation that Burton was mostly known for with “The Nightmare Before Christmas” for a long time. The aforementioned film is so much more charismatic and entertaining than “The Corpse Bride” in the end. Granted it’s not an awful movie, but it just feels like Burton is trying to recapture the brilliance of “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
IN SELECT THEATERS OCTOBER 28TH – Although Henry Selick does a damn fine job of directing what is one of the most entertaining stop motion animated films, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” has Tim Burton’s stamp all over it. It’s about an outcast, a love for the Gothic and Halloween, and it’s unabashedly menacing. Though Henry Selick’s animated movie was originally touted to kids, the film is very much a dark and harrowing narrative about monsters from the Halloweentown infiltrating the Christmastown, and using the traditions and rituals to terrorize random victims. One montage even features kids getting very creepy presents like a shrunken head, and a snake. Jack Skellington is the pumpkin king who is the anti-hero that finds himself restless with Halloween and accidentally becomes the villain when he falls in love with Christmas.