I’ll always have a soft spot for Tim Burton. Admittedly, I haven’t seen a new Burton film that I’ve truly loved in years, but that doesn’t change the fact that when I was eight, I desperately wanted to climb inside of Beetlejuice and live there forever. For over a decade, well into the late nineties, everything he did completely enchanted me, from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure to Edward Scissorhands, his Batman movies, Mars Attacks, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Ed Wood. Burton made my childhood and adolescence infinitely weirder and more interesting than my semi-suburban existence would have otherwise allowed, and it wasn’t just his movies that fascinated me—it was Tim Burton himself.
It’s difficult to separate the man from his work, after all: Tim Burton is so clearly the real-world prototype for so many of his brilliant, pleasantly bizarre outsider characters. He became the pasty poster boy for a certain brand of oddball ingenuity, an iconoclast with an offbeat sense of humor who brought an appreciation for cult and elements of camp into mainstream movies. For a generation of kids, Burton and his movies were living proof that it’s possible to actually benefit from embracing the strange and unusual, from getting comfortable with the unconventional…
Perhaps I’m being overly nostalgic, but the video below seems to speak to the impact Burton and those early films had on countless peculiar, dreamy little kids who preferred sandworms and aliens to Sunday school and sports. A direct homage to Burton’s 1982 stop-motion short Vincent, Ken Turner’s TiM tells the tale of young Timothy, who wants to be just like his hero, Tim Burton. It may not be quite as polished as Vincent, but Turner’s animation is wonderful as it cleverly brings Burton’s tribute to Vincent Price full circle, celebrating both the director’s signature style and his status as a source of inspiration, artistic and otherwise.
Bridget McGovern still owns a copy of the Handbook For the Recently Deceased and may or may not be cranking Harry Belafonte’s greatest hits on her iPod right now.