Tim Burton’s Dark Catharsis

“I was never a giant comic book fan, but I’ve always loved the image of Batman and the Joker. I loved The Killing Joke (..) It’s the first comic I’ve ever loved” Tim Burton

Timothy Walter “Tim” Burton (born August 25, 1958) is an American film director, film producer, writer, artist and animator. He is famous for his dark, gothic, macabre and quirky take on horror and fantasy style movies such as Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Dark Shadows and Frankenweenie, and for blockbusters such as Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Batman, its first sequel Batman Returns, Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland

Burton is known for using recurring collaborators on his works; among them are Johnny Depp, who has become a close friend of Burton since their first film together; musician Danny Elfman, who has composed scores for all but five of the films Burton has directed and/or produced; and domestic partner Helena Bonham Carter.


“What more can I say about him? He is a brother, a friend, my godson’s father. He is a unique and brave soul, someone that I would go to the ends of the earth for, and I know, full and well, he would do the same for me.” – Depp’s introduction to “Burton on Burton”

Tim’s Childhood

Burton was born in 1958, in the city of Burbank, California, to Jean Burton (née Erickson), the owner of a cat-themed gift shop, and Bill Burton, a former minor league baseball player who would later work for the Burbank Park and Recreation Department. As a preteen, Burton would make short films in his backyard on Evergreen Street using crude stop motion animation techniques or shoot them on 8 mm film without sound (one of his oldest known juvenile films is The Island of Doctor Agor, that he made when he was 13 years old).

Burton studied at Burbank High School, but he was not a particularly good student. He was a very introspective person, and found his pleasure in painting, drawing and watching films. His future work would be heavily influenced by the works of such childhood heroes as Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl.


“I think the atmosphere that I grew up in, yes, there was a subtext of normalcy. I don’t even know what the word means, but it’s stuck in my brain. It’s weird. I don’t know if it’s specifically American, or American in the time I grew up, but there’s a very strong sense of categorization and conformity. I remember being forced to go to Sunday school for a number of years, even though my parents were not religious. No one was really religious; it was just the framework. There was no passion for it. No passion for anything. Just a quiet, kind of floaty, kind of semioppressive, blank palette that you’re living in.” TB

 

“I’ve always likened it to that feeling, when you’re a teenager, that grand feeling – which is why I liked punk or some people like heavy metal or Gothic. You’ve got to go through some kind of drama. I’ve always seen people who are well adjusted, and actually, they are not that well adjusted. Everybody is going to blow at some moment or other. In fact, the ones that come across as the most well adjusted are like human time bombs, waiting to go off. I just think that kind of dark catharsis, that kind of dark, dramatic, depressed, sad, moody thing, was kind of healthy.” TB

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories

It is a 1997 poetry book written and illustrated by film director Tim Burton. The poems, which are full of black humor, tell stories of hybrid kids, spontaneous transformers, and women who have babies to win over men. Some characters of the book would later appear in the Flash series The World of Stainboy, created, directed and written by Tim Burton.

According to American comics artist and publisher Stephen R. Bissette, the title poem “The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy” was originally conceived as a project for Bissette’s comics anthology Taboo and was actually written by horror novelist Michael McDowell, who had previously worked with Burton on the screenplays for Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas. McDowell is thanked in the acknowledgements at the end of the book, but is not credited for writing the poem.



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