Beginning his professional career as a director and screenwriter in 1971, Tim Burton continues to bring to us fantastical worlds that we could not ourselves begin to imagine. Worlds of darkness and intrigue, which are simultaneously full of vibrancy and light. His cult classics, such as Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas, defined his success but fans have avidly been seeking his next projects ever since. As Autumn settles in and Halloween draws ever closer, it’s the perfect time of year to start watching Tim Burton movies. But that said, do you really need a time of year? Perhaps the first way you know you’re a fan of all things Burton-esque is when October is a lifestyle, not just a month. But what other signs show you’re obsessed with all things Burton and ‘Pop Gothic’? Are you a Tim Burton fan?
Following the crowd is so overrated
If there is something Tim Burton movies hold in common, it is that the hero of the story is always the person who doesn’t quite fit in or who stands up to a controlling other. Being part of a crowd and following trends is often mocked as something those with no imagination of their own do.
It’s an important lesson to learn and in times when real life might seem an uncanny doppelganger of sheep following, it’s comforting to know that it’s satirised by such great films. And Burton recognises this himself as a watcher of film, in that he finds movies a ‘form of therapy’.
Dark humour is your forte
An example from early 2000’s Burton, such as The Corpse Bride (2005), shows the importance of dark humour to the success of these movies. As you grow older, Burton’s scripts take on a whole new dimension in the jokes that you can suddenly understand.
There are many difficult issues dealt with such as death, grief and general wickedness, which we face in reality. Nothing quite alleviates such heavy topics as dark humour can and for that reason, being a Burton fan you are an expert in it!
The Tim Burton theory? You know it inside out!
Similar to the Disney Pixar theory, this is the hypothesis that all of the movies and short films of Tim Burton are in some way linked. If you Google it, you’ll come across a never ending list of timelines and fan videos. But why am I explaining this to you? You already know it inside out!
A true Burton fan doesn’t only know this theory inside out but is an avid ongoing contributor. It’s fun because there are always new Easter Eggs to find in the films and plus, who doesn’t love re-watching Beetlejuice and Big Fish?
You’re Mary Shelley obsessed too
Where Burton’s movies all fit together in the darker themes they hold, there is also a big clue as to his main source of influence: Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. A well loved classic, this story is centred entirely around life, death and immortality. The creation of human life by humans is the central plot to Burton’s Frankenweenie (2012) but is echoed directly in an initial short film of his, Vincent (1984).
You can’t be a fan of Burton without also being a bit obsessed with Shelley and her writing. He’s the Mr. Hyde to her Dr. Jekyll. But that said, if it’s a battle between the Gothic and the Suburban Gothic, we all know who would win if it came down to the Burton fans!
You know all of the lyrics to The Nightmare Before Christmas and Sweeney Todd
It’s a well known fact that these lyrics are engraved into your heart and soul. The music is catchy, hilarious and absolutely crazy, so naturally there is a song for every occasion. When you’re feeling melancholic, your go to tune is Sally’s Song from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
And whilst you might not have discovered the genius of Stephen Sondheim until the Burton/Elfman adaptation of Sweeney Todd, now you’re an expert in his wacky harmony parts and regularly treat your friends to the performance of a duet with yourself of A Little Priest. This is a sure sign you’re a Tim Burton fan.
Everytime you open a chocolate bar you hope for this…
Nothing quite beats the disappointment that you feel when you open a bar of chocolate aaaaand… it’s just another chocolate bar. But you hold fast to the fact that next time you’ll find a golden ticket and your key into becoming the new owner of the Wonka factory.
These movies set you free
Above all else, you know you’re a Tim Burton fan when his art and movies don’t only make you happy, they also set you free. Whether that be free from a long day of work or from life in general, this is your go to method of relaxing and escaping to fantastical imaginary lands you sometimes know and understand better than the reality around you. This is a big sign of being a Tim Burton fan.