It’s hard to believe we’ve been helping ourselves to concoctions from the mind of Tim Burton for almost half a century, but he does turn 55 this year, and he’s the man behind some of our favorite and most iconic figures in film.
There is no mistaking the Tim Burton aesthetic: Gothic bizarre with a twist of deranged.
What is such a man like? According to his partner, Helena Bonham Carter, “Tim’s actually a quite sane person who doesn’t like combs, and me too. We have quite a normal existence. People would be surprised at how banal we are. We watch EastEnders on the telly and most of the time he’s very tired because he’s always working.”
And while his characters are sometimes horrifying, they are at the same time endearing . . . even loveable. Take a look.
Beetlejuice 1 of 8
For some of us, Beetlejuice feels like a weird, inexplicable dream that doesn't make a lot of sense. If you saw it as a kid, chances are good that you had never seen anything like the outrageous demon played by Michael Keaton. But just so you know, the strange beast that is the movie Beetlejuice took the Academy Award for Best Makeup in 1989.
Edward Scissorhands 2 of 8
Hands down, there is just no character that compares to Edward Scissorhands. Tim Burton conceived the idea of a boy made by an inventor who died of a a heart attack before he was able to finish his creation's hands. So he grows up with scissor hands. It's totally weird, but heartwarming in its own way.
The Red Queen 3 of 8
For Burton's live-action remake of Alice in Wonderland in 2010, he had his partner, Helena Bonham Carter, play the Red Queen. He digitally cinched in her waist and pumped up her head to achieve the effect he wanted. There's no accounting for taste.
Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka 4 of 8
Maybe you liked Gene Wilder's Wonka best and never wanted a remake to happen. Gene Wilder feels that way. But you've got to hand it to Burton for having the creative courage to take on a classic and put his own unique mark on it in 2005's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Depp as Wonka? It's definitely a look.
Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman 5 of 8
Sally 6 of 8
Beautiful, winsome Sally. She's determined and good, but she's also a rag doll. When she falls apart, she stuffs herself with leaves and sews herself back together. She's a little shy about letting Jack know how she feels in The Nightmare Before Christmas. But in the end, they end up together. Sigh. Romance.
Frankenweenie 7 of 8
First appearing in Tim Burton's 1984 short film as an homage to Frankenstein, the canine creation of young Victor Frankenstein became one of Burton's most lovable figures when Frankenweenie was expanded into a feature in 2012. It's not really a spoiler to tell you that the dog dies.
Jack Skellington 8 of 8
Tall, dark, and bony, The Pumpkin King (and his obsession with Christmas) could be one of the most charming anti-heroes ever conceived of by Tim Burton. His singing is voiced by the incomparable Danny Elfman, Burton's long-time collaborator. The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of Burton's finest creations!
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