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A Place for Weird

Tim Burton is one of those visionaries whose work has simultaneously weirded me out and wowed me since I was a little boy. I should admit here at the start that I wasn’t the most courageous kid, a scaredy cat, if you will.

Tim Burton, Image Courtesy of Disney Studios

But one day, as a boy, I was watching a movie on our VCR. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s an antiquated magical box that used magnetic tape to make whirring sounds and didn’t let you pause or play movies any time you tried to use it. After my recorded program ended, I let it keep playing for unknown reason. Obviously, the VCR wouldn’t let me do what I wanted anyway, but the images that appeared on the screen were scary and fascinating.

It was Tim Burton’s Vincent, a short film he made in 1982 about a strange little boy with terrible, spectacular daydreams and struggled against conformity. I, too, had trouble with dreams and dealt with intense night terrors as a boy. I guess I was scared to watch this young man with a triangular face because it felt like I was staring into a funhouse mirror and seeing someone who verged on the realization that he was different.

Well, it turns out that Mr. Burton has been working in the back room on his newest project since the inception of that short all those years ago. And I got a chance to see an extended preview of the new film, as well as speak to his producer…

Frankenweenie

Burton’s latest venture, Frankenweenie, comes out October 5 and centers around a young boy named Victor, and his dog Sparky. NOT A SPOILER ALERT: Sparky dies in an accident and Victor decides to bring him back to life a la Frankenstein. Hijinks ensue, of course.

While the film isn’t necessarily a good fit for young kids, dealing in themes about death, the afterlife and, you know, fortune-telling cat feces, it shines in that place in between, where we’ve all lived as young adults: prying the door open to adulthood. Frankenweenie is quintessentially Burton-esque though sans Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. It felt like the iconic creative director has come back to us.

Here are a few behind the scenes photos of the new film!

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  • Director, Tim Burton 1 of 11
    Director, Tim Burton
    Frankenweenie director, Tim Burton, inspects his clay character, Sparky. Image Courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
  • Sparky 2 of 11
    Sparky
    Sparky, the final product! How far would you go for your for man's best friend? Image Courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
  • Animator, Matias Liebrech 3 of 11
    Animator, Matias Liebrech
    Animator Matias Liebrech, animating Victor on the "attic set" for Frankenweenie. Image Courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
  • Victor 4 of 11
    Victor
    The star of the film, Victor. An Adolescent reanimator, himself. Image Courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
  • E Gore 5 of 11
    E Gore
    Edgar "E" Gore, one of Victor's colorful classmates. Image Courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
  • Asst Art Director, Barry Jones 6 of 11
    Asst Art Director, Barry Jones
    Assistant Art Director, Barry Jones, dressing the set of the "classroom." Image Courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
  • Mr. Rzykruski 7 of 11
    Mr. Rzykruski
    Victor's teacher, Mr. Rzykruski, a pivotal influence in his life. Image Courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
  • Victor 8 of 11
    Victor
    Victor in "his lab" recalling his old friend. Image Courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
  • Animator, Jens Gulliksen 9 of 11
    Animator, Jens Gulliksen
    Animator, Jens Gulliksen, animating Victor on the "Pet Cemetery" set. Image Courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Frankenstein 10 of 11
    Mr. & Mrs. Frankenstein
    Victor's parents, whose last names happen to be "Frankenstein"… Image Courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
  • Go see Frankenweenie! 11 of 11
    Go see Frankenweenie!
    Frankenweenie opens in theaters on October 5th, 2012. Image Courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Who is Weirder?

I’ve always enjoyed Burton’s knack for shining a harsh spotlight on seemingly normal suburbia, casting a ray on its monstrous and incongruous disposition. As producer Allison Abbate put it:

“You know, it takes place in a place called New Holland, which is sort of like Burbank.  And that’s sort of — that’s where Tim grew up.  So a lot of it is really drawing from his personal experience.  And he loves that contrast between the monsters and the normal suburban life.  And, uh, normal suburbanites seem like in the end are more monstrous than the monsters.”

[youtube width="500" height="281"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MquUxWXEOLU&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

I’d like to think that what I do on HowToBeADad.com is a similar harmonic to Tim Burton; I want to find strangeness and make it commonplace, find normalcy and make it the outcast. Perhaps, I fail at it more than I succeed, but I believe there’s a place for weird. Especially, in the movie theaters.

So, who is weirder:

“Weird People” or the people who try really hard to seem normal?

~Charlie

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