From Pee Wee’s Big Adventure to Dark Shadows, artist/writer/director/producer Tim Burton has been one of the people I most admire. His twisted, macabre, goth-Victorian imagination has always inspired me to explore the shadowed side of our culture’s sugar-coated fairy tales and clearly see through the thin coat of crackled paint that loosely veils the wall between the fictional Norman Rockwell lives we portray and the real lives we secretly live. I’ve learned that many people don’t share my obsession with Burton and all things “burton-esque.” Words like morbid, twisted, gloomy and spooky have all been used to describe Burton’s projects. And, while all of these words may be appropriate adjectives to use when describing a Burton film or piece of artwork they only define half of the message Burton tries to communicate. If you pay attention to the message of his movies, Burton takes soft-core horror, dark-humor and personal isolationism to define the sorrow associated with an empty and/or broken heart. He creates characters that seem unlovable, forces you to see within them the vulnerability experienced by all of us at some point in our lives, feel their inner-pain and silently celebrate their acknowledgement of love at the end. The darkness that surrounds his characters is the key to help you appreciate the sweetness of the situation.
How can you not appreciate the love for little lost Lidia by the deceased Maitlands in “Beetlejuice” or Edward’s innocent willingness to protect and love Kim in “Edward Scissorhands”? Even Barnabus Collins, a blood-thirsty vampire in “Dark Shadows” was willing to sacrifice his life for Victoria/Josette and Victor’s ability to see through the decomposition of death in order to love the “Corpse Bride” is powerful enough to produce tears. The darkness of the films simply represents loneliness, which makes the birth of love out of the situation all the more powerful and emotionally moving. If you’re a Tim Burton fan then you can understand my love and obsession of Burton’s extremely creative and powerful ability to tell heart-warming stories against a cold, empty background. Luckily for us all, ABC Family is showing great Burton classics like “Edward Scissorhands” and “Beetlejuice” all weekend. Although the weekend is quickly coming to a close, there is still time to see ‘Alice in Wonderland’, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and as we get closer to Halloween (the most wonderful holiday of the year) I’m sure we’ll have even more chances to catch both of these movies in HD as well as three of his best movies to date – “Sleepy Hollow”, “Sweeny Todd” and “Nightmare Before Christmas.” Lastly, if anyone calls you morbid for admiring Burton and his masterpieces, then take it as a compliment and remember that even sweetness can live inside a dark shell.