Top 10 Tim Burton Films To Binge After Wednesday

by Eve Andrews
Tim Burton

When it comes to distinctive directing styles, Tim Burton is definitely up there! With his signature visual tones, frequent team-up with whimsical composer, Danny Elfman, and the list of iconic cast members who are almost guaranteed to make an appearance, you always know when you’re watching a Burton movie. Beloved as he is, the Tim Burton catalogue has become pretty extensive over the years – here are some of our favourites!

1) Beetlejuice (1988)

It’s time for everyone to rewatch Beetlejuice because guess what? There’s a Beetlejuice 2 in the works! Whether you’re hyped by this news or wish it wasn’t happening, now is the perfect time to revisit this classic 80s horror-comedy. When Mr and Mrs Maitland die suddenly in a freak accident, their spirits are bound to their home. It doesn’t seem so bad at first until the house is sold to a modern artist who wants to alter their beloved country house beyond recognition. Stuck for options, they seek the help of a shady character named Beetlejuice, who specialises in helping the deceased in their qualms with the living. An absolute riot, Beetlejuice is Tim Burton at his wackiest. A great movie for the more fun-loving Halloween fan, it’s peppered with all the mad humour and contorted aesthetics we associate with a good Burton film. Fingers crossed that the next instalment, currently set to release in 2025, will live up to the original!

2) Vincent (1982)

Okay, we have to talk about Vincent. This one is only a quick animated short and is certainly not the most renowned title on our list today. However, Vincent was a pivotal moment in Tim Burton’s career, being the first appearance of the distinctive stop-motion style that became such an iconic feature of his work in the years that followed. Little Vincent Malloy is a quiet, well-behaved boy. However, he secretly dreams of being just like Vincent Price and loses himself in an influx of vividly macabre daydreams. Narrated by Vincent Price himself, this 6-minute stop-motion short is a simple but beautiful exploration of childhood imagination geared towards those fascinated by the darker facets of life. Can’t help but think little Vincent Malloy was a bit of a self-insert on Tim Burton’s part.

3) Sleepy Hollow (1999)

An all-out Halloween spook-fest, Sleepy Hollow was a standout addition to the Tim Burton catalogue in terms of boldness and bravery. His movies were already known for having a bit of a macabre twist, but this one takes it to a whole new level! Based on Washington Irving’s 1819 Gothic horror, The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow, Constable Ichabod Crane is sent from New York to the rural area of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of gruesome murders. Upon arrival, he finds that the locals are steeped in superstition, claiming the decapitated victims fell prey to the demonic Headless Horseman. Constable Crane, a devout follower of logic and reason, will get the shock of his life when he discovers that there may be more to the local’s outlandish claims than he initially suspected. With a compelling storyline and sensational performance from Johnny Depp in the role of Ichabod Crane, Sleepy Hollow is the kind of Halloween movie you’ll watch all year round! Proceed with caution, though; the level of gore in this one is substantially more graphic than in the average Tim Burton movie.

4) The Corpse Bride (2005)

Anyone whose seen it will agree that The Corpse Bride is an absolute work of art. Animated using skeleton puppets with wind-up faces and silicone skin to catch even the most nuanced of expressions and skin wrinkles, The Corpse Bride is worth watching just for the meticulous animation alone! It follows the story of a 19-year-old boy named Victor Vandort, who has been roped into a marriage of convenience to Victoria Everglot, a lady from a bankrupt aristocratic family. However, unable to remember his wedding vows due to nerves, he steals off to the forest so he can practise them in peace. However, in doing so, he inadvertently proposes to the undead corpse of a murdered bride – shenanigans ensue! A much more grounded take on the zombie trope, the Victorian Gothic twist paired with the stunning animation gives this lighthearted horror flick such a unique flair – an absolute must-see for any animation lover. 

5) Big Fish (2003)

Big Fish is quite possibly the most underrated film in Burton’s portfolio. Told in an autobiographical format, it documents the unbelievable, ever-whimsical life of Edward Bloom. From giants and mermaids to war heroes and sport stardom, there’s seemingly very little that hasn’t happened to Edward in his life. Told by an older, dying Edward to his son, William Bloom, William has understandable doubts as to whether there’s any actual authenticity behind his father’s outland stories, a question that he fervently pursues after Edward’s eventual passing. A fantastical tale with a stellar cast, Big Fish is a fictional biopic like no other. It’s crazy how little attention it received compared to the rest of Burton’s work.

6) Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (2005)

Yes, I’m putting this one on here – fight me! Unfortunately, the Tim Burton adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book of the same name (starring Johnny Depp in the iconic role of Willy Wonka) is burdened with comparison. Mel Stuart’s 1971 adaptation, starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, is also a great movie, as well as being a sugar-sweet nostalgia hit for many. As such, people tend to get caught up in the old Depp Vs. Wilder debate, rather than enjoying the movie for what it is. Highly faithful to the source material, along with some great additions that bring closure to Willy Wonka’s story behind both his factory and eccentric nature, Tim Burton’s Charlie And Chocolate Factory is a visually stunning adventure packed to the brim with great performances, all with a brilliant script to boot!

7) Batman (1989)

Ever danced with the Devil in the pale moonlight? Ah, that line never gets old! With so many Batman movies out there, only a select few have become truly iconic, and Tim Burton’s rendition of the Dark Knight is undoubtedly among them. Alongside an incredible performance from Micheal Keaton as Bruce Wayne, we also have Jack Nicolson in his incredible incarnation of the Joker, with his iconic cackle and epic trademark line, always delivered before he deals the fatal blow. Thrilling audiences long before the development of the extended DC Cinematic Universe, Burton’s epic throwdown between Batman and the beloved Clown Prince Of Crime never gets old!

8) Frankenweenie (2012)

Not only is Frankenweenie a vastly unique film, it also has quite the history, with its 1984 live-action predecessor being responsible for getting Tim Burton fired from Disney! Originally filmed as a live-action short, it was dubbed too unnerving for Disney’s audiences. Disney also disagreed with various artistic choices made in the film, all resulting in the Big Mouse giving Burton the boot. As a result, Frankenweenie remained unseen until the introduction of VHS, allowing Burton to distribute the film independently in 1992. Frankenweenie remained relatively obscure until 2012 when it made a sudden comeback! Remaking the live-action short film at full movie length and in the classic Burton stop-motion style, it tells the story of a child-like take on Dr Frankenstien, when a little boy named Victor seeks to resurrect his dog via an outlandish science experiment. Creepy and endearing, if 2012’s Frankenweenie taught us anything, it’s that the original deserved more appreciation. Either way, we couldn’t be happier to have it revisited!

9) Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Okay, this one is my personal favourite! Without giving too much away, the concept of Edward Scissorhands is that of a reverse horror movie – glean from that what you will. It follows the story of Edward, a synthetic man created by an inventor who died before Edward could be finished, leaving him with the facial complexion of a corpse, leather skin from the neck down and long, lethal blades where his hands should be. Left alone with his father’s corpse, confused as to why he wouldn’t wake up, Edward is found years later by a kind saleslady who takes him in. Innocent and socially underdeveloped after his years of isolation, we follow Edward on his journey as he adjusts to life in the outside world. However, things take a terrible turn when he’s blamed for a crime he didn’t commit. The unfortunate tale of an innocent victim of circumstance, Edward Scissorhands does more than just tug at the heartstrings; it makes us reflect on how we, as human beings, behave when faced with something new and how easy it can be to demonise the different.

10) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Okay, we all saw this one coming. We couldn’t possibly make a Burton-themed list without mentioning The Nightmare Before Christmas. First of all, though, I feel we need to address the elephant room and give credit where credit is due. While many people assume The Nightmare Before Christmas was helmed by Tim Burton from start to finish, it was actually created under the artistic direction of Henry Selick. A charming musical, it follows the emotional journey of Jack Skellington, an undead skeleton who has become bored with his repetitive position as the King of Halloween Town. In a desperate search for something new, he stumbles across the whimsical realm of Christmas Town! Infatuated with the sudden barrage of Christmas joy and magic, Jack becomes obsessed, resulting in him trying to hijack the holiday for himself. It does sound very classically Burton, and that’s because the original concept did come from him. Despite not being in the director’s chair, Burton was still heavily involved as one of the movie’s producers. However, due to other commitments, Burton entrusted the project to Selick, who brought his vision to life just beautifully! Known for being one of the most classic Burton staples, it is an absolute must-see for the holiday season! Whether that holiday is Christmas or Halloween, however, is a debate that remains ongoing.

What’s your favourite Burton film? Any we missed that you want to mention? Let us know in the comment section below!

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