transforming beastly blockbusters
into creepy animaction artbusters
in the allegorical film art
of Tim Burton
by Gary W. Wright
As with most new film artists who emerged after 1982, a twilit pall enshrouded the film art of Timothy Walter “Tim” Burton due to the helicopter crash that killed illegally hired and used child extras Renee Chen and Myca La and actor/writer/director Vic Morrow around 2:20 am in the morning of July 23, 1982 on the George Folsey jr. produced John Landis set of the twilit, allegorical and Kathleen Kennedy associate produced, Frank Marshall produced and Landis and Steven Spielberg executive produced Landis, Spielberg, Joe Dante and George Miller docufeature film TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (1983), released on June 24, 1983. However, unlike other new post-TZ disaster film and telefilm artists, Burton was already working at Walt Disney as a despondent and disaffected animator with a gleefully dark and macabre drawing and animation style at the time of the TZ disaster. In addition, and also unlike most film artists, who were either bitterly opposed to the increasing commercialization of film art before and after the TZ disaster like David Cronenberg, or enthusiastic supporters of that commercialization like Spielberg, Burton initially opposed that commercialization in the twilit and allegorical animaction film BEETLEJUICE (1988) and supported that commercialization in the twilit and allegorical super satirical animaction filmmercial BATMAN (1989) before reconciling these two opposing and contradictory philosophies of film art by creating his own unique and twisted twilit take on the artbuster. Significantly, the artbuster was a style of film art that had been initially proposed and presented to the world by Stanley Kubrick in his allegorical and computer generated imagery (CGI) enhanced indie docufeature artbuster 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) that fused the crass and generic film art for beastly blockbuster loot’s sake of Old Hollywood with the idealistic, idiosyncratic, imaginative, independent, innovative and anti-commerical film art for film art’s sake film art of New Hollywood.
However, while Kubrick preferred seriously satirical films that addressed his life and times with unflinching docufeature intensity, Burton preferred lighthearted satirical films that took audiences away from the world and its troubles. Add an animaction approach to film art that resulted from fusing his Disney animation background with live action and a luv of the creepy and gothic that was leavened with a gleefully warped sense of humour, and you had the quirky and macabre animaction artbuster style of film art that Burton contributed to the dread allegorical Zone Wars. A quirky, creepy, gothy, macabre and distinct Burton style of artbustin’ animaction film art that slowly embraced computer generated imagery (CGI) enhancement that was perhaps best referred to as Hallowe’en Town, given that Burton’s oeuvre was not just openly fond of Hallowe’en but was also, for the most part, as light and enjoyably creepy as Hallowe’en. A Hallowe’en Town style that Burton first began to develop in short Disney films like the allegorical and exuberantly gloomy and gothic short indie animated film VINCENT (1982), written, designed and directed by Burton and released in theatres by Disney on July 30, 1982, only a week after the TZ disaster.
“For a boy his age,
he’s considerate and nice,
but he wants to be
just like Vincent Price.”
Significantly, this creative, black and white, spooky and hand and stop motion animated tale related the dolorous story of the despondent and disaffected young suburban boy Vincent Malloy and the longing of the seven year old boy to escape from altogether too dull suburban reality, making it all too fitting that there was a shopping mall evoking “Mall” in Malloy-by transforming his suburban house into a gloomy and labyrinthine castle with his fiendishly mischievous imagination and living in its macabre and monster filled world. Young Malloy also wished he could become his two heroes, Edgar Allan Poe and Vincent Price, the latter of whom fittingly narrated the piece in ghoulish rhyming couplets. Alas, despite his best eerily imaginative efforts, Malloy’s macabre fantasies were easily defeated by his towering mother, who ordered him outside into the sunshine to play, leaving him victorious nevermore, in the end.
However, while losing to mighty Mom, VINCENT easily won audiences over to its creepy cause and showcased everything from the macabre black humour, gothic angst, creepy fun, spooky shadows, and deep love for Poe and Price and Poe inspired New World Picture films that starred Price that would soon be synonymous with the Burton Hallowe’en Town animaction artbuster. Thus, it was fitting that the bored, disaffected, lonely, imaginative, gothy and horror fiction and film luving Vincent pining away in stultifying surburbia did not just resemble Burton but implicitly symbolized Burton. A Tim Burton who would create equally creepy film art full of endearingly grotesque and ugly, dispirited and despondent characters like Vincent and his imaginary creepy creations who would be the complete opposite of the endearingly cute and cuddly, exuberant and mischievous characters of the film art of Walt Disney.
Not surprisingly, the gloomy angst of VINCENT and Malloy’s concluding fear that he had lost a luv that would never return also suited the despondent and righteously furious mood of young audiences that year, who also feared that they had lost a luv for film art forevermore after the shocking and sobering deaths of Chen, Le and Morrow in the TZ disaster a week before the release of VINCENT, making it all too eerily fitting that Vincent Malloy and had the same “VM” initials as Vic Morrow. Deaths that implicitly shocked and outraged Burton as much as young audiences, for an implicitly twilit fury raged when he donned the production designer/director hats and teamed up again with Disney, Price and stop motion animator Stephen Chiodo and hand animator/producer Rick Heinrichs-both from VINCENT-and merged animation with live action for the first time to create the full colour twilit and allegorical indie animaction telefilm HANSEL AND GRETEL (1983), inspired by a fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm and fittingly released by Disney on October 31, 1983, the perfect date for a film artist who would become synonymous with Hallowe’en Town.
“They can take almost everything,
they can’t take my dreams.”
Indeed, the story revolved around a Chen and Le evoking and implicitly linked American brother and sister of Southeast Asian descent named Hansel and Gretel-played by the fittingly surnamed Andy Lee and by Alison Hong, respectively-who lived with their kindly but weak, long suffering and implicitly Spielberg linked toymaker father-played by Jim Ishida-and their cruel, goo and black dress luving, fourth wall breaking and Landis resembling and implicitly linked Wicked Stepmother-played by Michael Yama-who made the lives of the humble toymaker and the two kids a misery. That is, until the two siblings got lost in the gloomy woods outside their house and found themselves at a gingerbread house inhabited by their Wicked Stepmother disguised as a Wicked Witch, a Wicked StepWitch who tried to fatten the kids up with candy and gingerbread and eat them.
However, and luckily for Hansel and Gretel, before the Wicked StepWitch could do that, the wily siblings tricked her into making a martial arts kick that sailed her through the air and into the furnace of the house. The kids then locked the furnace door and roasted the Wicked StepWitch in the indomitable and triumphant end of the telefilm, a grimly satisfying and eucatastrophic ending that allowed Hansel and Gretel and, implicitly, Chen and Le, to triumph over and exorcise the Wicked Landis and bring Good, life, health and harmony back to audiences, film art, film artists and the Temple Theatre. This triumph over the Wicked StepWitch also allowed the indomitable siblings to reunite with their luving father, in the end, perhaps Burton’s way of hoping that Spielberg would triumph over Landis and the TZ disaster and re unite with audiences, as well.
Of course, the triumph of the indie kids over the Wicked StepWitch also implied a triumph of indie telefilm/film art for telefilm/film art’s sake in general and that of Burton in particular over beastly blockbuster film art, given that HANSEL AND GRETEL, like VINCENT, was created in the already distinct, quirky, gothic, creepy, and macabre Burton animaction style, this time fused with a colourful crazy clown spirit that was perfect for a crazy clown like Landis. A distinct, quirky, creepy and macabre Burton indie animaction style that continued when Burton donned the story idea/director hats and teamed up again with Disney, Heinrichs and Julie Hickson-writer and executive producer of HANSEL AND GRETEL-and returned to Hallowe’en Town with the twilit and allegorical black and white short indie animaction docufeature film FRANKENWEENIE (1984), a film released by Disney on December 14, 1984 which evoked the allegorical and implicitly Third Reich roasting James Whale film FRANKENSTEIN (1931).
“The kid did it before,
and we can do it again!”
Significantly, FRANKENWEENIE started off with a twilit and allegorical short indie film called MONSTERS FROM LONG AGO (1984) by young Victor Frankenstein-his name evoking both Vincent Malloy and Vic Morrow, and played by Barret Oliver-that premiered in the living room of the Frankenstein home and starred Sparky, the family dog-played, in an unusual bit of casting, by Sparky-as a Dogzilla-style monster saving humanity from blockbuster pterodactyl beasts. Alas, soon after the world premiere of MONSTERS FROM LONG AGO, Sparky was killed after he raced down the driveway of the Frankenstein home-a home, like the Malloy home, trapped in the stultifying suburbs-and out into the street to catch a ball thrown by Victor and was hit by a car. Curiously, given that Sparky appeared in and, hence, symbolized the indie film art of young Frankenstein, his death implicitly symbolized the death of the film art of Victor, a film art consigned to the local pet cemetery, with dog bone shaped crosses on its canine headstones, some of the latter in the shape of fire hydrants.
The implicit link of Sparky and Victor to film art was affirmed soon after the death of Sparky, when we found ourselves in young Victor’s elementary school class shortly before Hallowe’en being taught science by his teacher Mr. Walsh-played by Paul Bartel. For Bartel was a film artist perhaps best known for collaborating with Corman and his New World Pictures to create the allegorical and implicitly New Hollywood film artist roasting indie docufeature film DEATH RACE 2000 (1975), who was also linked to the year of the TZ disaster forever via his role as Paul Bland in the allegorical Bartel indie docufeature film EATING RAOUL (1982). Just as significantly, in his role as Mr. Walsh, Bartel used electricity to cause the legs of a dead frog to twitch, giving the despondent young Frankenstein the inspiration to bring Sparky back to life by zapping his dug up corpse with electricity, a ghoulish sight and sound that evoked similar ghoulish events in FRANKENSTEIN and the sight and sound of Vincent dreaming of experimenting on his long suffering dog, Abercrombie, and turning him into a zombie in VINCENT.
Thus, given that this classroom science experiment scene also recalled another elementary school science class scene involving frogs in the allegorical, CGI enhanced and implicitly Terry Gilliam roasting Spielberg docufeature film E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL (1982), Burton implied that Victor Frankenstein was linked to Steven Spielberg. Indeed, Victor’s close relationship with Sparky evoked the close relationship of young Elliot Thomas-played by Henry Thomas-with lonesome and abandoned E.T. throughout E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL, affirming the implication that Frankenstein was linked to Spielberg. The allusions in FRANKENWEENIE to Hitchcock-including a background extra in some of the final scenes who resembled and was implicitly linked to Hitchcock-also implied that the film was implicitly sympathizing with Spielberg, for Hitch was an idol of Steve. Thus, young Frankenstein’s implicit link to Spielberg implied that Burton sympathized with Spielberg and hoped that Spielberg would revive his film art career in the post-TZ disaster era and re-establish good relations with audiences like Frankenstein revived Sparky and re-established good relations with his parents Ben and Susan Frankenstein-played by Daniel Stern and Shelley Duvall, respectively-and his Walt Disney evoking neighbour Mr. Chambers and his goldilocked daughter Ann-played by Joseph Maher and Domino aka Sofia Carmina (SCC) Coppola, respectively. A dangerous sympathy, given how angry young audiences were at the time with Spielberg, the man who came up with the idea to create TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE and hire Dante, Landis and Miller to join him in making separate episodes for the film.
But then again, the presence of Bartel reminded us that George Lucas was implicitly linked to the infamous black clad Death Racer known as Frankenstein-played by David Carradine-who triumphed at the end of DEATH RACE 2000, perhaps implicitly linking young Frankenstein to Lucas. Indeed, the presence of SCC affirmed that possibility, given that she and the rest of the Coppola clan were friends of Lucas. The fact that Victor’s friend Frank Dale-played by Jason Hervey-resembled Spielberg more than young Frankenstein did reaffirmed the possibility that Victor was linked to George. A snippet of the Michael Convertino and David Newman composed soundtrack that evoked the John Williams composed soundtrack for the eerily and presciently twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced, Ozian themed, Lucas executive produced and implicitly Spielberg roasting Irvin Kershner indie docufeature film STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980) heard toward the end of the short film as Sparky rescued Victor from a burning windmill in a gothic mini-golf course also affirmed the possibility that the film was actually gently roasting Lucas. In that case, Burton actually implicitly sympathized with Lucas in the film and hoped that Lucas would return to creating hi-tech and CGI enhanced film art. Which, as with sympathizing with Spielberg, was also a dangerous sympathy at the time. For outraged and disappointed audiences-particularly young audiences-had turned against Lucas at the time for working with Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg on the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced, Ozian themed, Lucas executive produced, and Kennedy and Marshall produced Spielberg indie docufeature film INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984), and for failing to bring the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy to a triumphant trimax with the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced, Ozian themed, Lucas executive produced and implicitly Spielberg roasting Richard Marquand indie docufeature film STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983).
At any rate, FRANKENWEENIE sparked Burton up enough to encourage him to don the director hat and quickly team up again with Heinrichs and Hervey and collaborate with Warner Brothers-the studio that oversaw and released TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE-on his first surprisingly sunny, upbeat and only slightly Hallowe’en Town themed twilit and allegorical animaction feature film PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE (1985), released on July 26, 1985.
Curiously, the film began with the eponymous and unusually carefree, optimistic and sexually ambiguous child-man bachelor P.W. “Pee Wee” Herman-played by Paul Reubens-dreaming that he pedalled a racing bicycle to victory in the Tour de France, implicitly linking Herman to a French film artist. Given that the film contained allusions to the film art of Jean-Luc Godard, the implication was that Herman symbolized Godard. Indeed, the sight and sound of Herman spending the entire ridiculous film frantically trying to find his beloved orange and white bicycle that was stolen from him by the chubby, wealthy, nefarious, vaguely homosexual and implicitly David Lynch linked Francis Buxton-a roast of Lynch no doubt brought on by the failure of his twilit and allegorical indie moving painting DUNE (1984) to succeed with audiences and bring in the bux the year before, and played by Mark Holton-affirmed the film’s implicit interest in Godard, reminding us that Godard had implicitly roasted Lynch and DUNE earlier that year in the twilit and allegorical indie docufeature film DETECTIVE (1985). Curiously, and contrarily, given the implicit support for Spielberg in HANSEL AND GRETEL and the possible support for him in FRANKENWEENIE, while primarily battling Buxton, Herman also struggled to evade the huge and furious grip of Andy, the implicitly Spielberg linked human blockbuster beast-played by Jon Harris-who was outraged by the sight and sound of Herman mingling with his girl, the wistful and implicitly Amy Irving linked and France luvin’ Simone-played by Diane Salinger.
And in the end, after many madcap and moronic adventures, Herman did recover his beloved bicycle on the Warner Brothers lot, crashing the creation on one soundstage of a Godzilla film that evoked the Dogzilla film that kicked off FRANKENWEENIE and also crashing a future Burton collaboration anticipating Santa Claus film on another soundstage in the process. And so at last Herman triumphed over Buxton and then was reunited with his beloved bicycle and with his life’s luv, the dotty Dottie-played by Elizabeth Daily-inspiring the studio to make a film within the film about his big adventure, starring James Brolin as secret agent P.W. Herman and Morgan Fairchild as Dottie, perhaps implying the hope of Burton that Godard would rediscover the form that had made him famous as a young film artist and beat Lynch in the Temple Theatre with a more popular and successful film than DUNE. A hopeful ending to an irrepressibly and unabashedly silly, strange and strangely homoerotic film that shared the crazy clown theme of HANSEL AND GRETEL but was far removed from the more gothic and macabre FRANKENWEENIE and VINCENT, with the exception of some creepy nightmare sequences and Herman’s run-in with the ghost of Alice Nunn’s trucker Large Marge that brought brief and intermittent glimpses of Hallowe’en Town to the film-and from the angry and bitter despair that initially prevailed in the post-TZ disaster years.
A light hearted spirit that returned when Burton then donned the director hat and returned to telefilm with Chiodo, Convertino, Duvall, Heinrichs, Maher and Newman and an equally light and upbeat retelling of the Arabian Nights tale “Aladdin And His Wonderful Lamp” (1986), a retelling released on tv on July 14, 1986 that saw the Good and implicitly Spielberg linked Aladdin-played by Robert Carradine-triumph over the Evil and implicitly Landis linked Magician-played by Leonard Nimoy-and capture the heart of the sweet and beautiful Princess Sabrina-played by Valerie Bertinelli-with the help of the exultantly mischievous, macabre and implicitly magic of film art linked Genie-played by James E. Jones-in episode 22 of the mid-Eighties telefilm series SHELLEY DUVALL’S FAERIE TALE THEATRE. Then it was no surprise that Burton and PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE were implicitly blasted the following year in two more serious and sombre works of film art, the twilit and allegorical Tim Hunter indie docufeature film RIVER’S EDGE (1986), a film released on August 27, 1986 that implicitly linked Burton to the clueless teen Tony-played by Josh Richman-and the equally twilit, allegorical and Ozian themed Lynch indie moving painting BLUE VELVET (1986), a moving painting released on August 30, 1986 that implicitly linked Burton to the clue seeking young man Jeffrey Beaumont-played by Kyle MacLachlan-an implicit interest in Burton affirmed by the fact that the surname “Burton” could be created using the letters composing the name Jeffrey Beaumont and by the fact that the film’s setting of Lumberton looked and sounded like Tim Burton.
Dante also implicitly roasted Burton and the sexually ambiguous PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE in the implicit form of the exuberant and manipulative pornographer Tony Sepuvula-a “Paul” hidden in his surname evoking Paul Reubens and, hence, Burton, and played by Dante regular Robert Picardo-and his “porn star” wife Sheena-implicitly linked to the film art of Burton, and played by Wendy Schaal-two artless and irritating interlopers who were chased out of their new home by a more artistic, discerning, and truly luving vaudeville ghost couple who lived in the attic and were known in life as Nelson and Evelyn Chumpsky-played by Eddie Bracken and Evelyn Keyes, respectively-in the twilit and allegorical docufeature telefilm “Boo!” (1986) in Season One of the twilit, allegorical and Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg produced telefilm series STEVEN SPIELBERG PRESENTS AMAZING STORIES (1985-87). Steve De Jarnatt also implicitly roasted Burton in the form of the shy, geeky, socially awkward and stuttering Skeet-played by Howard Swain-in the twilit and allegorical indie docufeature film CHERRY 2000 (1987), a film released on November 10, 1987 that was more implicitly interested in roasting Luc Besson in the form of the post-TZ apocalypse gang leader Lester-played by Tim Thomerson-given the film’s allusions to such twilit and allegorical Besson indie docufeature films as LE DERNIER COMBAT (1983) and SUBWAY (1985).
Burton implicitly got the messages, as he veered away from the light, kooky and carefree style of PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE and brought Hallowe'en Town to the big screen at last when he donned the director’s hat and teamed up again with Warners and with FRANKENWEENIE director of photography (DOP) Thomas Ackerman and PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE composer Danny Elfman-with a little help from Harry Belafonte-on BEETLEJUICE, released on March 29, 1988.
“Come back again…SOON.”
Significantly, the film began with a CGI Geffen Company logo and a title proclaiming “…A Geffen Company Release”, then a title reading “…The Geffen Company presents” followed by a title reading “…A Tim Burton Film”, implying that PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE had increased the confidence of young Burton, despite generally baffled, bemused, dismissive and horrified reviews for his first allegorical animaction feature film. Then BEETLEJUICE saw the implicitly David and Carolyn Cronenberg linked Adam and Barbara Maitland-played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis, respectively, the latter openly linking the film to the omnisexual film art of Cronenberg via her role as the intrepid reporter Veronica Quaife in the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and implicitly Spielberg roasting Cronenberg indie docufeature film THE FLY (1986)-returned to their attic as ghosts like the Chumpskys in “Boo!” to haunt their lone house on the hill after drowning in the local river while on holiday when their oh so safe Volvo station wagon ironically swerved off a covered bridge to avoid a dog while driving home from a trip to their own Maitland Hardware Store through their fittingly named town of Winter River, Connecticut at the beginning of the film. And like the Chumpskys, the Maitlands were soon doing all they could to scare away their home’s new owners Charles and Delia Deetz-implicitly linked to Lynch and his sweetie Mary Fisk given the film’s allusions to DUNE, and played by Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O’Hara, respectively, the latter’s hair a vivid Harkonnen red-their goth and gloom luvin’, Wicked Witch of the West evoking, and implicitly Jennifer Lynch linked daughter Lydia-played by Winona Ryder-and their implicitly Lucas linked supernatural “expert” friend Otho-played by Glenn Shadix.
Tragicomically, and with the help of the anonymously written The Handbook for the Recently Deceased, and from Lydia, who was able to see and talk to them, the Maitlands also fought a desperate battle to defeat the exuberantly deranged, graveyard luving and implicitly Dante linked Betelgeuse-played by Michael Keaton-a undead Bio-Exorcist that they mistakenly called upon to help them scare off the Deetzes. Intriguingly, Barbara succeeded in defeating and exorcising Betelgeuse with the help of a reimagined sandworm straight out of Arrakis in DUNE, in the end. This eucatastrophic triumph brought peace and harmony back to the Maitlands, recalling the triumph over the Wicked StepWitch at the end of HANSEL AND GRETEL.
Significantly, however, the Maitlands did not succeed in scaring away the Deetzes like the Chumpskys succeeded in scaring away Tony and Sheena in “Boo!”. Instead, the triumph over the belligerent bachelor Betelgeuse allowed the Maitlands to achieve a sympathetic symbiotic rapport with the Deetzes, allowing the film to end with the dead and alive inhabitants all living happily together forever after in the haunted house on the hill, with Lydia floating rhapsodically through the air to the sound of the allegorical Rafael De Leon, Gabriel Oller and Steve Samuel written Belafonte tune “Jump In The Line (Shake Senora)” (1961), evoking the more sinister sight and sound of the Evil and floating Baron Vladimir Harkonnen-played by Kenneth McMillan-in DUNE. Thus, this ending implied the hope of Burton that BEETLEJUICE would defeat the bachelor Dante and lead to a détente between Cronenberg and Lynch and perhaps even himself, given that he was a fellow artist and painter like Lynch.
As BEETLEJUICE was another Warner Brothers film like PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE, the twilit and embattled studio implicitly used another Burton film to soothe and reconnect with audiences outraged by the TZ disaster. If so, Warners got their wish, for BEETLEJUICE was a big hit, implying that audiences were just as eager to embrace Hallowe’en Town as they were to leave behind the TZ disaster a year after Landis and his four co-defendants were found not guilty of manslaughter at the end of the TZ trial. However, not everyone was implicitly eager to embrace Hallowe’en Town, for Dante soon teamed up again with Picardo and Schaal and implicitly responded to BEETLEJUICE by roasting Burton again in the implicit form of creepy suburban neighbour Hans Klopek-played by Courtney Gains-in the twilit and allegorical Dante docufeature film THE ‘BURBS (1989), released on February 17, 1989. As for Burton, he surprisingly and unfortunately abandoned the creative, gothic, macabre and indie film/telefilm art for film/telefilm art’s sake ethos implicit in all of his film and telefilm art thus far when he re-donned the director’s hat and teamed up again with Elfman-helped along by Prince-Keaton and Warners to shamelessly inaugurate and celebrate the beginning of a crave new era of beastly and crassly commercial and movie tie-in merchandise and product placement promoting blockbuster film “art” with the twilit and allegorical super satirical animaction filmmercial BATMAN, released on June 19, 1989 and inspired by the character created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane for DC that was implicitly linked to creepy allegorical weird tale master H.P. Lovecraft, given that Lovecraft’s fictional town of Arkham returned as Arkham Asylum in BATMAN narrative art.
“Have you shipped
a million of those things?”
Curiously, the film revolved around the lonely, haunted, haunting, troubled, wealthy, technology obsessed, Evildoer hating and implicitly Lucas linked bachelor Bruce Wayne aka “Batman”- played by Keaton as an adult and by Charles Roskilly as a boy, respectively. Indeed, his implicit link to Lucas was affirmed by the presence of his faithful and implicitly John Ford linked butler Alfred Pennyworth-played by Michael Gough-for Ford was an inspiration to Lucas. The Jedi Knight evoking suits of European and Japanese armour Wayne collected reaffirmed his implicit link to Lucas. The appearance of Billy Dee Williams as Gotham City District Attorney Mayor Harvey Dent also affirmed Wayne’s implicit link to Lucas, for Williams played the charming rogue Lando Calrissian in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. Last but not least, the appearance of William Hootkins as the corrupt GCPD Detective Eckhardt reaffirmed the implicit link of Wayne to Lucas, as Hootkins played the doomed and implicitly Hitchcock linked X-wing fighter pilot Porkins at the end of the allegorical, CGI enhanced, Ozian themed and implicitly Spielberg roasting Lucas indie docufeature film STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE (1977) and the bumbling Major Eaton in the eerily and presciently twilit, allegorical, Ozian themed, Lucas executive produced, Marshall produced and implicitly William Friedkin roasting Spielberg indie docufeature film RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981).
Just as curiously, the film saw Wayne/Batman take on the gleefully psychotic, violent, product tampering, shopping preventing and implicitly Godard linked baddie Jack Napier aka “the Joker”-played by Hugo E. Blick as a young man and by Jack Nicholson as a middle aged man, respectively, and originally implicitly linked to DC editor Harry Donenfeld by Finger and Kane-and his madcap and mayhem luving gang. Indeed, the Joker’s implicit link to Godard was affirmed by the fact that the Joker first had to take out crime boss Carl Grissom-played by Jack Palance-in order to take over the crime scene in Gotham City. For Palance played Old Hollywood film producer Jeremy Prokosch in the allegorical and end of the Old Hollywood film era themed Godard indie docufeature film LE MEPRIS ou CONTEMPT (1963), openly linking Godard to BATMAN.
Significantly, Wayne/Batman did not just defeat the Joker, thus symbolically defeating the anti-commercial and film art for film art’s sake Godard, restore the tarnished reputation of Lucas or save Hollywood film art, implicitly symbolized by beautiful, blonde and intrepid photojournalist Vicki Vale-played by Kim Basinger-in the end. Instead, by ending the “shopping nightmare” of all good Gothamites caused by the Joker and his fiendish gang of human gremlins, whose random product tampering which caused people to laugh to death had discouraged Gothamites from shopping as they did not know which products would kill them, the ridiculous implication was that audiences as well as Gothamites were now free to stop fretting about the TZ disaster and to go out and buy lots of the film’s openly placed products and movie tie-in merchandise. Both of which were easy to find at the local malls and stores, as BATMAN was accompanied by the largest movie tie-in merchandise and placed product promoting campaigns in film history, with the Batman logo stamped on anything it could be stamped on. Given that eager audiences packed theatres and bought much of the Bat gear, the public implicitly agreed that it was back to the beastly blockbuster profits for Hollywood.
All of which was far removed from the implicit commitment to the indie film/telefilm for film/telefilm art’s sake present in the initial film/telefilm art of Burton. However, despite this craven and crass commercialism, BATMAN gave Burton his first big and ironic chance to attempt to merge his creative, idiosyncratic, macabre, and gothic film art for film art’s sake spirit with the blockbuster beast to create a creepy Hallowe’en Town animaction artbuster, and one that was surprisingly free of CGI enhancement. Burton implicitly hoped so, as the film was yet again called “…A Tim Burton Film” in the opening titles, noticeably after not only the Warner Brothers logo, but after the titles for Nicholson, Keaton and Basinger. Thus, it was fitting that Wayne, the haunted, brooding and wealthy bachelor, his frightening alter ego and the gloomy and gothic Gotham City he protected were all in tune with Burton’s equally haunted, brooding, gloomy and gothic spirit. Indeed, the tension within Wayne between the indolent playboy and disciplined avenger implicitly evoked the tension within Burton between the indie film/telefilm art for film/telefilm art’s sake artist and the lookalike blockbuster beast director that he was being molded into by Warner Brothers. A tension that implicitly appeared in the film, as Burton appeared to show up in a cameo amongst the foolish crowd of people dying as they reached for the money given away by the Joker at the deadly parade at the end of BATMAN.
If so, it was not surprising that Burton left behind the blockbuster beast in favour of the animaction artbuster when he donned the co-story idea/director/co-producer hats and teamed up again with Elfman-whose alternately brooding and haunted and full throttle and pulse pounding soundtrack was the first for a Burton film that did not sound like it was composed for a crazy clown circus-Price, Ryder, and co-producer Richard Hashimoto and production designer Bo Welch-both from BEETLEJUICE-and implicitly replied to Lynch and BLUE VELVET when he finally fully arrived in Hallowe’en Town with his first original, idiosyncratic, gothic, creepy, macabre, twilit and allegorical indie animaction artbuster EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990), released on December 6, 1990.
“I’m your local Avon representative,
and I’m as harmless as cherry p--.”
Indeed, the grey, white and snowswept Twentieth Century Fox logo that preceded the film immediately made clear that Burton had taken over the proceedings and was putting his idiosyncratic stamp on the film. The fact that the Fox logo was soon followed by an opening title that read “…A TIM BURTON FILM” that preceded the title of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS and the names of the lead actors reaffirmed that Burton was taking over the animaction artbuster film, and kicked off a tradition of proudly affirming to audiences after the film studio logo and before the film title that they were about to experience a Tim Burton film that continued…forevermore. An artbuster that was a charming and gothic fairy tale that saw the naïve, innocent, incomplete, socially awkward, awkwardly scissorhanded and implicitly Lynch linked teen Edward Scissorhands-played by Johnny Depp-struggle to deal with being a freakish outsider in a ridiculously idyllic and pastel coloured faux Seventies suburb in Florida like the grotesquely deformed John Merrick, the implicitly David Cronenberg linked and “…terrible Elephant Man”-played by John Hurt-struggled with being a freakish outsider in Victorian London in the allegorical and implicitly Cronenberg and Sir Ridley Scott addressing Lynch indie moving painting THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980). Indeed, the fact that Scissorhands slowly emerged as a gifted, creative and sensitive topiary artist, dog groomer, and hair stylist, an emergence that reminded us that Lynch and Merrick were both gifted, creative and sensitive artists, affirmed the implicit link of Scissorhands to Lynch, an implication reaffirmed by the film’s allusions to BLUE VELVET, THE ELEPHANT MAN, the allegorical Lynch indie moving painting ERASERHEAD (1977) and the twilit, allegorical and Ozian themed Lynch indie moving painting WILD AT HEART (1990).
Not surprisingly, and despite his success as an hair stylist, Scissorhands was worried that he would cut everyone around him with his scissorhands, a worry that no doubt evoked the fear of many post-TZ disaster directors that any film they directed and touched would lead to cast and crew members being scissored and rotored apart in another horrific and deadly accident as in the TZ disaster. A prescient fear, for Scissorhands used one of his scissor blades to spear and kill the loutish and implicitly James Cameron linked high school jock Jim-played by Anthony M. Hall-who was the arrogant boyfriend of his teen lady luv Kim Boggs-played by Ryder. Thus, the sight and sound of Scissorhands fleeing a baying suburban mob, in the end, for a life alone and forgotten sculpting ice sculptures sadly away in his lonely castle or mansion on the hill, a lonely dwelling that evoked the lonely mansion of Wayne in BATMAN and the haunted house on the hill in BEETLEJUICE, implied the belief of Burton that Lynch was too strange and idiosyncratic to truly connect with audiences. In addition, the death of Jim implied that Burton believed that Cameron would crash and burn in the Nineties.
A lonely and unsuccessful fate that did not plague Burton, given the enormous and perennial popularity and success of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. Alas, however, this reassuring support for the first Hallowe’en Town animaction artbuster ironically and unfortunately gave Burton the confidence to persuade Warner Brothers to allow him to merge the beastly blockbuster Dark Knight with creepy Hallowe’en Town artbuster when he donned the director/co-producer hats and teamed up again with Elfman, Gough, Keaton, Reubens, Salinger, Welch, costume designer Coleen Atwood, producers Peter Guber, Benjamin Melniker, Jon Peters and Michael Uslan and story idea man Sam Hamm-all from BATMAN-DOP Stefan Czapsky and co-producer Denise Di Novi-both from EDWARD SCISSORHANDS-Pat Hingle-who played Gotham City Police Commissioner James “Jim” Gordon in BATMAN and celebrated the tenth anniversary of the TZ disaster with the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical animaction artbuster BATMAN RETURNS (1992), released on June 16, 1992.
“You got kind of a Dark Side,
Indeed, the image of snow falling on a Warners logo that began the film evoked the snow falling on sad suburbia that was created by lonely and heartbroken Scissorhands as he worked on his ice sculptures at the end of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, implicitly affirming at the outset that the success of that film had given Burton the confidence to transform Gotham City into a huge and creepy Hallowe’en Town in BATMAN RETURNS. This macabre implication continued when the Warners logo disappeared to reveal the same snow falling on the Cobblepot Mansion in Gotham City before heading inside the mansion. Inside the mansion, the despondent Mr. and Mrs. Tucker and Esther Cobblepot-played by Reubens and Salinger, respectively-struggled to deal with their unusual newborn son. A son who was first locked away from the world in a caged wooden box that evoked the sight and sound of Gizmo the Mogwai locked in a cage at the beginning of the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and implicitly Ivan Reitman addressing Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg executive produced Dante animaction docufeature film GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH (1990).
However, despite this similarity to GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH, the implication was that the son of the Cobblepots, who was eventually and dejectedly tossed into a stream by his parents and grew into the short, rotund, despondent, and demented Oswald Cobblepot aka “the Penguin”-created by Finger and Kane for DC and resembling and perhaps originally implicitly linked to Fritz Lang, and played by Danny DeVito-was actually linked to the equally short, rotund, despondent and gleefully demented New Zealand film artist newcomer Sir Peter Jackson rather than Dante. Indeed, the film’s allusions to the first two twilit and allegorical “films” in Sir Jackson’s “Lord of the Schlock” Trilogy, BAD TASTE (1987) and MEET THE FEEBLES (1989) affirmed the implicit link of Cobblepot to Sir Jackson. Thus, the triumph of the haunted and troubled playboy Bruce Wayne aka “Batman”-played again by Keaton-and his faithful and implicitly Ford linked butler Alfred Pennyworth-played again by Gough-over the pernicious Penguin, his loyal antipodean penguin posse, his pal, the possibly “Mad” Miller linked organ grinder-played by Vincent Schiavelli-and his crazy clown circus evoking and human gremlin mayhem luving Red Triangle Gang implied a triumph over Sir Jackson, his film crews and his “film art”, in the end.
But not before the implicitly Jane Campion linked Selena Kyle aka “Catwoman”-created by Finger and Kane for DC Comics and played by Michelle Pfeiffer-triumphed over the Evil and murderous capitalist Maximilian “Max” Schreck-who resembled and was implicitly linked to New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and played by Christopher Walken-to avenge his murder of her at the beginning of the film. Making the twin triumphs over Cobblepot and Schreck not only the opposite of the silly triumph over the Joker that “saved” shopping in BATMAN, but also a way for Burton to implicitly reaffirm to Campion, Dis, Sir Jackson, Lucas, Warners and everyone else that he wanted his creepy and macabre artbusters like BATMAN RETURNS to be about more than box office profits and promoting products and movie tie-in merchandise. Indeed, Burton’s insistence that there was still artistic life in the art of film was reaffirmed by the Catwoman, who always returned to indie and indomitable life no matter how often she was killed by the blockbuster loot lusting Schreck, the pesky Penguin or the troubled Batman over the course of BATMAN RETURNS.
Thus, Burton made it implicitly clear in BATMAN RETURNS that he was now using his directorial success and clout to leave behind the crass commercialization of BATMAN and now creating his own unique and quirky allegorical animaction artbusters. And so Hallowe’en Town had truly arrived at last in the Temple Theatre, a triumphant arrival that Burton openly celebrated when he donned the story idea/designer/producer hats and teamed up again with Di Novi, Disney, Elfman-who not only provided music and lyrics and vocals but was also associate producer-Heinrichs, Jones, O’Hara, Reubens and Shadix to literally visit Hallowe’en Town in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Henry Selick stop-motion animation artbuster TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993), an animated Xmas film released on October 9, 1993 that was based on a three page Burton poem that came across as a fusion of the allegorical Jules Bass stop-motion telefilm MAD MONSTER PARTY (1967) and the Bass and Arthur Rankin jr. Christmas stop-motion telefilm THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS (1974), the latter of which implicitly roasted U.S. President Gerald Ford and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in the forms of Heat Miser and Snow Miser-played by George S. Irving and Dick Shawn, respectively-their implicit links to Ford and Trudeau implicitly affirmed by the fact that they were watched over and ordered about by the implicitly Queen Elizabeth II linked Mother Nature-played by Rhoda Mann.
“It’s our town, everybody scream
in this town of Hallowe’en.”
Indeed, this satirical film saw the pumpkin headed and skeletal Jack Skellington-sung by Elfman and played by Chris Sarandon, respectively-and his faithful ghostly dog Zero do their best to inspire their fellow cutesy and exuberantly creepy creatures of Hallowe’en Town to take over Christmas Town and defeat its leader Santa Claus-played by Ed Ivory. This amusing assault on Christmas Town evoked the similar assault on the Christmas celebrations in Gotham City by the Penguin and his human gremlin Red Triangle Gang in BATMAN RETURNS, an assault that also ended in failure. However, while failing to force dark, nightmarish, wild and anarchic Hallowe’en on light, sweet, orderly and virtuous Christmas, Skellington and the other denizens of Hallowe’en Town did defeat the buggy and blockbuster and gambling loot mad ghost Oogie Boogie-played by Ken Page.
Significantly, given that the stiff and awkward Mayor of Hallowe’en Town-played by Shadix-with his two facial expressions evoked the equally stiff and awkward newly elected Democratic Vice President Al Gore, the implication was that Skellington’s failure to turn Christmas Town into Hallowe’en Town was an allegorical message to newly elected Democratic President Bill Clinton-implicitly symbolized by Skellington-and his cabinet that their attempt to turn the sometimes dark, nightmarish, wild and anarchic United States-symbolized by Hallowe’en Town-into a light, sweet, orderly, virtuous, clean, polite, safe, dull, stodgy and torpid place like Canada-symbolized by Christmas Town-with all sorts of well meaning but stifling left leaning legislations was also doomed to fail due to the radically different spirits of Canada and the United States. However, Burton and Selick also implied Clinton and his people could console themselves with their triumph over the colourless and uninspiring ex-CIA “spook” George Bush sr. in the implicit form of the triumph of Skellington and his creepy pals over the Evil spook Oogie Boogie.
Thus, Burton and Selick implicitly followed in the stop motion animated footsteps of Bass and Rankin jr. in THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS and in the hand animated footsteps of the early short films and feature films of Disney in implicitly using TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS to implicitly roast political targets rather than fellow film artists. Indeed, this was a Disney tradition that went back at least to the Burt Gillet silly symphony THREE LITTLE PIGS (1933), which implicitly roasted Nazi Germany in the form of the Evil, blustering and duplicitous Wolf and warned the Nazis that they would eventually be defeated like the Wolf was defeated the by implicitly England, France and United States linked Pigs defeated the Wolf, in the end.
Of course, TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS also evoked not just VINCENT, but the stop-motion tyrannosaurus rex in PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE and the stop-motion sandworms of BEETLEJUICE. Stop-motion blockbuster beasts that had clearly not been forgotten by Spielberg and Michael Crichton, as that same year they fittingly menaced the implicitly Burton linked Tim-played by Joseph Mazzello-with animatronic and CGI dinosaurs in the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and Ozian themed docufeature film JURASSIC PARK (1993), a film released on June 11, 1993 which implicitly cautioned film artists-particularly those at Disney-and audiences to be careful with CGI enhanced film art lest that film art turn on them and destroy them. The following year, Sir Jackson also implicitly roasted Burton and Elfman in the implicit and febrile Fifties female forms of Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme aka “Charles” and “Deborah”-played by Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet, respectively-two art, film, literature and music luving, exuberantly imaginative, madcap and murderous New Zealand schoolgirls in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced indie docufeature film HEAVENLY CREATURES (1994), a film released on September 8, 1994 whose implicit allegorical intent was affirmed by allusions to BATMAN, BATMAN RETURNS, BEETLEJUICE, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS and PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE.
Fittingly, the spooky spectre or Orson Welles-played by Jean Guerin-haunted HEAVENLY CREATURES, preparing audiences for the return of Welles-played by Vincent D’Onofrio-when Burton unusually left behind the animaction artbuster when he donned the director/co-producer hats and collaborated again with Atwood, Czapsky, Depp, Di Novi, Dis-via Touchstone Pictures-Jones, BATMAN RETURNS editor Chris Lebenzon but with composer Howard Shore this time rather than Elfman to finally put some rotting meat on those cutesy Hallowe’en Town bones in the twilit, allegorical, black and white and CGI enhanced indie docufeature artbuster ED WOOD (1994), released on September 24, 1994.
“You’re wasting your life making shit!
these movies are terrible!”
Curiously, the film began with the lid of a coffin slowly opening and the “psychic” Criswell-played by Jones-rising up from inside the coffin to introduce ED WOOD. Significantly the sight and sound reminded us that Jones played the implicitly Lynch linked Charles Deetz in BEETLEJUICE. A fitting reminder of Lynch, for after Criswell finished his tragicomically portentous introduction, and after a Burtonized black and white and lightning streaked Touchstone Pictures logo and a CGI enhanced trip through a graveyard filled with tombstones proclaiming the names of the most prominent cast and crew members that immediately affirmed that audiences had returned to Hallowe’en Town, the scene switched to a dismal live theatre production that saw a beautiful blonde angel of peace played by Dolores Fuller-played by Sarah J. Parker-descend over the stage on wires from the ceiling and, with a heartfelt cry of “…I offer you mortals the bird of peace, so that you may change your ways and end this destruction”, bring peace to embittered American G.I.s on a Pacific Island battlefield in World War II. This tragicomic sight and sound reminded us that such twilit and allegorical Lynch indie moving paintings as THE ELEPHANT MAN, WILD AT HEART and the universally derided TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME (1992) ended with beautiful female angels or fairies descending on wires to bring peace to the main characters of those films.
Thus, Burton implied in the opening moments of ED WOOD that he was roasting Lynch again as he had implicitly done in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, this time in the implicit form of Edward D. “Ed” Wood jr., the writer/director of the opening play and titular transvestite star of the film, perhaps in response to TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME. Indeed, the many allusions in ED WOOD to the equally black and white ERASERHEAD and THE ELEPHANT MAN reaffirmed the implicit allegorical intent of the film. The fact that the title of ED WOOD evoked not only that of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS but the mighty WOOD, the radio station in the implicitly Tim Burton linked town of Lumberton in BLUE VELVET also affirmed the implicit Lynch roasting intent of ED WOOD. Curiously, this was an apt choice of implicit link, for some of the characters and scenes in BLUE VELVET, ERASERHEAD, TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME and the twilit and allegorical Lynch indie telemoving painting series TWIN PEAKS (1990-91) evoked similar characters and scenes in the allegorical Wood indie docufeature film GLEN OR GLENDA (1953).
In addition, Burton implied that he was also roasting Lynch nemesis Kathryn Bigelow in the implicit form of Maila Nurmi aka “Vampira”-played by Lisa Marie-in the film. Curiously, the sight and sound of Nurmi and Wood transforming into the graveyard terrorizing Vampire Girl and an angora sweater wearing transvestite, respectively, also evoked the sight and sound of Kyle and Wayne transforming into Catwoman and Batman, respectively, in BATMAN RETURNS, implying that Burton was also roasting that film on one level in ED WOOD. Burton also implied that he was roasting Dante and Hitchcock again in the implicit forms of two other Wood associates Paul Marco and Tor Johnson-played by Max Casella and George “the Animal” Steele, respectively. Last but not least, Burton also implied that he was roasting Bartel and himself in the implicit forms of Wood’s other film wrecking associates Bunny Breckinridge and Conrad Brooks-played by Bill Murray and Brent Hinkley, respectively.
And so ED WOOD was an excellent and tragicomic roast of some real life film art characters on both the literal and implicit levels, with a moving and memorable Academy Award winning performance by Martin Landau as the despondent and drug addicted Bela Lugosi, a man who lived in an L.A. suburb that evoked those seen in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS and FRANKENWEENIE and who luved dogs so much he called them his “…children of the night”. However, implicitly likening Lynch to Wood was not credible, for Wood was not a true film artist like Lynch. Lynch also showed no interest in wearing women’s clothing, whether fashionable dresses with flats or heels in season in public, or more sensual and alluring two-piece teddies with panties, garters and stockings for more intimate occasions in private with that special someone. In fact, despite the implication that Brooks symbolized Burton, Wood evoked Burton more than he did Lynch.
Indeed, the giddy, irrepressible, eternally optimistic and transvestite child-man Wood always recalled the equally giddy, irrepressible, eternally optimistic and sexually ambiguous child-man Herman, who also dressed up as a woman to evade a police dragnet early into PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE. Wood’s luv of horror films and novels was shared by Burton, and his harebrained and shoestring approach to creating film art also evoked young Frankenstein’s freshman effort MONSTERS OF LONG AGO in FRANKENWEENIE. Wood also luved Hallowe’en Town as much as Burton, hanging out with Lugosi at the latter’s suburban crypt one Hallowe’en night watching the allegorical Victor Halperin film WHITE ZOMBIE (1932) which fittingly starred Lugosi as the perhaps Adolf Hitler linked Haitian voodoo zombie master “Murder” Legendre on the tube before scaring trick or treaters with the Count.
In fact, there were so many similarities between Burton and Wood that one wondered if Burton was using the film to slyly confess to a private penchant for wearing women’s clothing that he was too shy and coy to openly acknowledge in public. A shyness that was not shared by fearless Eddie, who not only wore women’s clothing in public and on film in GLEN OR GLENDA-its title evoking the sight and sound of Sheryl Lee’s Glinda the Good falling gently from the sky on wires to heal Nicolas Cage’s implicitly Sir Ridley Scott linked Sailor Ripley at the end of WILD AT HEART-but also boasted that he had fought his way through the bloody beaches and steamy jungles of the Pacific War wearing women’s undergarments. Way to go Eddie! And way to go Timmy! For the depth that was missing in the film art of Burton prior to ED WOOD had finally arrived, implying bigger and fuller Hallowe’en Towns to come for Burton.
Curiously, Alex Proyas implicitly disagreed, having the haunted and implicitly Bigelow linked undead avenger Eric Draven aka “the Crow”-played by Brandon Lee-hunt down and kill the implicitly Burton linked and blockbuster loot lusting gang leader Top Dollar-played by Michael Wincott-for ordering the implicitly Cameron linked psycho killer T-Bird-played by David P. Kelly-and the implicitly Spielberg linked doofus Skank-played by Angel David-to beat, rape and murder his girlfriend, the implicitly film art for film art’s sake linked and SCC resembling and possibly linked Shelly Webster-played by the fittingly named Sofia Sania-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced indie docufeature film THE CROW (1994), a film released on May 10, 1994 whose implicit Burton addressing intent on one level was affirmed by the film’s allusions to BATMAN, BATMAN RETURNS, BEETLEJUICE and EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. As for Disney, the Mouse House kindly and implicitly repaid Burton for helping their cause with ED WOOD and TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS by implicitly linking Burton to the insidious and blockbuster loot lusting Governor Ratcliffe-played by David O. Stiers-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg hand-animated film POCAHONTAS (1995), a film released on June 23, 1995 whose implicit Burton roasting intent on one level was affirmed by allusions to BATMAN. An implicit roast that did not stop Dis from persuading Burton and Di Novi to don the co-producer hats and work together with them and with composer/songwriter Randy Newman on the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Selick animaction artbuster JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH (1996), a film released on April 12, 1996 that was inspired by the allegorical Roald Dahl indie novel James And The Giant Peach (1961).
“Now get these stupid dreams
out of your head!”
Significantly, despite its Cameron evoking title, the film was another implicit and rare political allegory from Burton, Disney and Selick that evoked TIM BURTON’S NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS. For the film saw the lonely and George W. Bush jr. resembling and implicitly linked English lad James H. Trotter-played by Paul Terry-outwit his Wicked Aunts Spiker and Sponge-perhaps implicitly linked to Sir Jackson and his HEAVENLY CREATURES co-screenwriter Fran Walsh, and played by Joanna Lumley and Miriam Margolyes, respectively-and flee the United Kingdom in a giant floating peach and across the Atlantic Ocean with the implicitly then Canadian Prime Minister Jean “the Scrapper” Chretien linked Centipede-played by Richard Dreyfuss-the implicitly Aline Chretien linked Miss Spider-played by Susan Sarandon-the implicitly Queen Elizabeth II linked Madam Ladybug-played by Jane Leeves-the implicitly ex-PM Trudeau linked Grasshopper-played by Simon Callow-and the implicitly Paul Shaffer linked Earthworm-played by David Thewlis-to New York City and succeed there as celebrities, perhaps implying the hope of Burton, Di Novi, Disney and Selick that Bush jr. would also one day succeed as a new President.
Curiously, that same year Disney also implicitly linked Burton to the gypsy narrator/magician/puppeteer Clopin-played by Paul Kundel-and had Clopin help the implicitly Landis linked hunchback Quasimodo-played by Tom Hulce-triumph over the implicitly Lynch linked Evildoer Justice Frollo-played by Tony Jay-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise hand-animated film THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1996), released on June 19, 1996 and inspired by the allegorical Victor Hugo indie docufeature novel Notre-Dame De Paris (1831), which was perhaps a satirical meditation on Poe. Indeed, Disney, Trousdale and Wise affirmed the film’s implicit interest in Burton and Lynch by alluding to BATMAN RETURNS, BEETLEJUICE, FRANKENWEENIE, THE ELEPHANT MAN and TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. The presence of the implicitly Bigelow linked Esmeralda-played by Demi Moore and sung by Heidi Mollenhauer, respectively-reaffirmed Disney’s implicit interest in Burton, for the character evoked the irritatingly pious and single suburbanite Esmeralda-played by O-Lan Jones-in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS.
As for Burton, he ignored Dis, Gabriel, Goldberg, Proyas, Trousdale, and Wise and looked to Wood to take a step backwards to the gleefully manic and goth-lite films that had preceded ED WOOD when he donned the director/co-producer hats and rejoined Atwood, DeVito, Elfman, Lebenzon, Marie, Nicholson, Parker, Tom Jones-who was heard on the soundtrack of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS-and Sylvia Sidney-who played the smart and snappy afterlife caseworker Juno, whose name affirmed the link of the Maitlands to Canadian film artists as it was the name of the annual Canadian film award at that time, in BEETLEJUICE-to literally merge live action with CGI animation for the first time in the Wood evoking twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced animaction artbuster MARS ATTACKS! (1996), released on December 12, 1996 and inspired by the “Mars Attacks!” Topps Company cards.
We are your friends.”
Indeed, after a hokey and stereotypical flying saucer UFO buzzed through the blue sky behind the Warner Brothers logo to implicitly affirm again that Burton was taking mischievous control of this film, MARS ATTACKS! began with the sight and sound of CGI enhanced cows tearing down a country road in Lockjaw, Kentucky on Tuesday, May 9th, evoking a rampaging herd of buffaloes tearing across the screen in the allegorical Wood indie docufeature film PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (1957) or was that GLEN OR GLENDA? This implicit interest in Eddiewood was reaffirmed by the sight and sound of waves of flying saucer spaceships then leaving their secret underground Martian bases and converging on the brave new CGI world of Earth over the course of the opening titles, for the CGI flying saucer armada evoked the CGI flying saucers flying to Saturn in the opening titles of ED WOOD. Then after welcoming the madcap Martians to Earth, the implicitly Spielberg linked U.S. President James Dale-played by Nicholson-and his chief military advisor, the furiously militant and implicitly Hitchcock linked General Decker-played by Rod Steiger-then led a determined and desperate U.S. battle against the duplicitous CGI invaders, whose luv for mischief and mayhem evoked the Joker and his equally irrepressible and rampaging gang in BATMAN and the Penguin and his violence and mayhem luving Red Triangle Gang in BATMAN RETURNS.
Significantly, in their spacesuits the gremlin Martians resembled the Dark Side of Buzz Lightyear-played by Tim Allen-in the twilit, allegorical and first all CGI John Lasseter film TOY STORY (1995), one of several allusions to that film that implicitly affirmed that Burton was taking on and taking out that film in madcap and macabre style MARS ATTACKS! For with the dire prospect of films with human actors being phased out and replaced with films with all CGI characters like TOY STORY, clearly there was cause to worry about CGI. The fact that TOY STORY was also an exuberantly shameless filmmercial for all of the toys featured in the film no doubt also offended the artbusting Burton. Thus, with humanity desperately fighting, and eventually defeating, the tragicomic CGI Martian invaders, a victory that literally led to the triumph of humanity and the real world, in the end, Burton implied that he hoped that the vital humanity of CGI enhanced film art would prevail over all CGI film art. Reminding us that an implicit fear that hi-tech and CGI enhanced films like STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE would kill the vital humanity of film art had been implicitly espoused since Sir Scott had a wily biomechanical blockbuster alien beast hunt down and kill all but one of the members of the crew of the space freighter Nostromo at the end of the eerily and presciently twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced, Ozian themed and implicitly Lucas roasting indie docufeature artbuster ALIEN (1979).
Humourously, on top of the Elfman soundtrack that evoked Louis Barron’s soundtrack for the allegorical Fred M. Wilcox film FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956), MARS ATTACKS! featured the Slim Whitman sung version of the allegorical and Otto A. Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II and Rudolf Friml written tune “Indian Love Call” (1952) that was broadcast over radios to kill all of the Martians to allow humanity to triumph in the end, implying the hope of Burton that quirky film art like his own oeuvre would kill off soulless CGI enhanced blockbuster beasts and replace them with more artistic, creative, and original CGI enhanced artbusters. Burton also implied his hope that Lucas would emerge from retirement and lead the way in this regard, given all of the nods to Lucas and the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy in the film. Indeed, the film implicitly ended on May 14th, the birthday of Lucas, with President Dale’s teenaged daughter Taffy Dale-presciently played by Natalie Portman-draping a medal over the head of the Lucas resembling and implicitly linked Richard “Richie” Norris-played by the fittingly named Lukas Haas-as a reward for discovering that “Indian Love Call” killed the Martians, evoking the medal ceremony that ended STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE (1977) to implicitly affirm Burton’s renewed hope in Lucas.
Unfortunately, while a wry artbuster roast of all CGI film art, MARS ATTACKS! was also disappointingly light weight and a significant step down from ED WOOD. MARS ATTACKS! was also such a big film with a large and talented cast-which saw Nicholson also play the ironically named and implicitly Smilin’ Stan Lee linked Las Vegas developer Art Land; Annette Bening play the implicitly Joan Lee linked Barbara Land; Pierce Brosnan play the implicitly Landis linked Martianologist Doctor Donald Kessler; Glenn Close play the implicitly Kate Capshaw Spielberg linked Mrs. Marsha Dale; Brian Haley play the implicitly Lynch linked and indomitable White House Secret Service Agent Mitch; and Martin Short play the goofy, stressed out and implicitly Dante linked White House Press Secretary Jerry Ross-and several different shooting locations that it inadvertently approached CGI enhanced blockbuster beast status.
For their part, Lana and Lilly Wachowski implicitly and fittingly linked Burton to the madcap, mischievous, talkative and twitchy Mouse-played by Matt Doran-and implied their belief that Burton would fade away in the new millennium by the sight and sound of Mouse being gunned down by sinister Agents of the beastly, biomechanical and blockbuster CGI enhanced machine world in the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced, Ozian themed and implicitly Lucas toasting indie docufeature film THE MATRIX (1999), released on March 24, 1999. Then Burton did indeed flee the ominous proximity of MARS ATTACKS! to the CGI enhanced blockbuster beast for a smaller film again when he donned the director hat and teamed up with Atwood, Depp, Elfman, Gough, Heinrichs, Jones, Landau, Lebenzon, Marie, Walken and executive producer Francis Coppola to reassure his fans-the children of the twilight-and himself that he had not sold out by returning to Hallowe’en Town-albeit a far more dark and violent town than that seen in TIM BURTON’S NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS-in the twilit, allegorical, and CGI enhanced animaction artbuster SLEEPY HOLLOW (1999), a film released on November 17, 1999 that was inspired by the allegorical Washington Irving indie docufiction novella “The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow” (1820) and the allegorical Disney, Jack Kinney and Clyde Geronimi hand animated film THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW (1949).
“The assassin is a man of flesh and blood,
and I will discover him.”
Indeed, the film began one fateful late October and jack o’lantern glowering night in 1799 with a young coach driver named Dirk Van Garrett-played by Robert Sella-and his passenger, his father Peter Van Garrett-played by Landau-being run down and decapitated by the scything sword of an eerie and implacably pursuing headless horseman-played variously by Rob Inch and Ray Park, respectively-immediately returning audiences to Hallowe’en Town. Soon a lonely widow named Emily Winship-played by Layla Alexander-was decapitated by the headless horseman, a twilit trio of remorseless murders of two men and one women that led to the science based forensics obsessed and implicitly Cronenberg linked Constable Ichabod Crane-played by Depp as a young adult and by Sam Fior as a boy, respectively-being sent from New York to the sinister town of Sleepy Hollow along the Canadian border to investigate the three remorseless murders. This twilit investigation led to Crane freeing Sleepy Hollow from the rotoring blade of the headless and ironically graveyard wary Hessian Horseman-played by Walken, who fittingly linked the film to the film art of Cronenberg and to the year of the release of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE via his lead role as the tormented and implicitly Lynch linked psychic John Smith in the twilit and allegorical Cronenberg indie docufeature film THE DEAD ZONE (1983).
Significantly, exorcising the Headless Hessian Horseman not only freed Sleepy Hollow from the decapitating nightmare but also implicitly freed the twilit nightmare haunted town of Hollowood, implicitly symbolized by the young, pretty, blonde and Sarah Polley resembling and implicitly linked Katrina Van Tassel-played by Christina Ricci-from the decapitating TZ disaster in time for a brave neo eon of CGI enhanced film art led by Cronenberg and Polley in the new millennium. The callous and greedy Dark Side that led to the TZ disaster was also implicitly vanquished in the film, for Katrina’s Evil, blonde, money mad, murderous and witchy step-mother Lady Van Tassel-played by Tessa Allen-Ridge as a girl and by Miranda Richardson as an adult, respectively-who controlled the Horseman with her black magic and his stolen head was taken by the whole and harmonious Horseman when he was given back his head and disappeared forever on horseback back into the Tree of Death. But not before the implicitly Lucas and Marshall linked Magistrate Samuel Phillipse and Baltus Van Tassel-played by Richard Griffiths and Michael Gambon, respectively-fell prey to Lady Van Tassel’s blockbuster loot lusting machinations and were hunted down and killed the implacable and remorseless Horseman. Fittingly, the implicitly Spielberg linked Doctor Thomas Lancaster-played by Ian McDiarmid-was also caught up in and killed by the lucre lusting lunacy, in the end.
Curiously, given his lack of a head and his furious and violent determination to get it back, one would think that the Headless Horseman was linked to Morrow. However, the violent Horseman evoked such violent twilit and allegorical Paul Verhoeven docufeature films as FLESH + BLOOD (1985), ROBOCOP (1987), BASIC INSTINCT (1992) and STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997) throughout the film, implicitly linking the Horseman to Verhoeven and the blonde and equally violent Lady Van Tassel to Sharon Stone. Indeed, the appearance of Casper Van Dien as the brave but doomed and implicitly Terry Gilliam linked Brom Van Tassel reaffirmed that implication, as Van Dien played the implicitly Lucas linked super trooper Jonathan “Johnny” Rico in the equally ultraviolent, twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and implicitly Lynch and DUNE roasting and Lucas toasting STARSHIP TROOPERS. Thus, it was fitting that a supporting character named Katrina-played by Blake Lindsley-appeared in STARSHIP TROOPERS, as her name anticipated that of Katrina Van Tassel. In addition, the predominance of citizens of Dutch descent in Sleepy Hollow and the climatic battle with the Horseman in the town’s windmill, which evoked the climatic battle with Frankenstein’s monster-played by Boris Karloff-at the end of FRANKENSTEIN, reaffirmed the implicit interest in a Dutch film artist in the film. Thus, the disappearance of Lady Van Tassel and the Headless Horseman, in the end, also implied that Burton and Coppola were trying to exorcise Verhoeven and his violent film art in SLEEPY HOLLOW.
For his part, Guillermo Del Toro helped kick off the brave neo eon of CGI enhanced film art when he implicitly linked Burton to the shy, sweet, artistic and ghost haunted Carlitos-played by Fernando Tielve-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced indie docufeature film EL ESPINAZO DEL DIABLO aka THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE (2001), released on April 20, 2001. As for Lynch, he implicitly roasted Burton in the implicit form of film artist Adam Kesher-played by Justin Theroux-on one level of the twilit and allegorical indie moving painting MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001), released on May 16, 2001. Alas and as for Burton, he did not follow up SLEEPY HOLLOW with a more deep and thoughtful artbuster like ED WOOD or EDWARD SCISSORHANDS but instead flirted dangerously with the CGI enhanced blockbuster beast again when he donned the director’s hat and teamed up again with Atwood, Elfman, Heinrichs, Lebenzon, Marie, makeup wizard Rick Baker-who won an Academy Award for transforming Landau into Lugosi in ED WOOD-and SLEEPY HOLLOW executive producer Derek Frey on the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced animaction artbuster PLANET OF THE APES (2001), a film released on July 26, 2001 and inspired by the allegorical and implicitly United Nations roasting Pierre Boule indie docufiction novel Planet Of The Apes (1963).
“Here they come!”
Curiously, the film began in orbit around Saturn at the USAF Space Research satellite, evoking the beginning of the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced, Ozian themed and implicitly Cameron and Spielberg roasting Lucas indie animaction film STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999), immediately linking the film to Lucas and the opening salvo in the STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy. Soon Captain Leo Davidson-played by Mark Wahlberg-found himself being pulled through a worm hole after an electromagnetic storm (EMS) while outside the station involved in precarious jackanapes in his Delta pod. Surviving the trip through the worm hole, Capt. Davidson crash landed on a strange and fecund planet like ardent young Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker-played by Mark Hamill-crash landed his X-wing fighter on the equally strange and fecund planet of Dagobah in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, implicitly linking Capt. Davidson to Lucas. Here on the forbidding planet, Capt. Davidson was soon captured by intelligent simians and enslaved with other renegade humans like the possibly Polley linked Daena-played by Estella Warren. Breaking free from captivity, Capt. Davidson led a human revolt against the simians and their implicitly Kubrick linked leader General Thade-played by Tim Roth-his link to Kubrick reaffirmed by the film’s allusions to 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY-particularly the opening “The Dawn Of Man” sequence-and the allegorical Kubrick docufeature film SPARTACUS (1960). Thus, it was fitting that the name of Gen. Thade was an anagram of Death, given that Kubrick died in 1999 shortly before the release of his last and implicitly Besson addressing twilit and allegorical indie docufeature artbuster EYES WIDE SHUT (1999).
Curiously, the revolt led by Davidus was successful, and led not only to the defeat of Gen. Thade and his soldiers, but to a commitment to peaceful relations between human and simian that implicitly symbolized peaceful relations between human actors and CGI enhancement in film art. However, it was noticeable that when Capt. Davidson left the forbidding planet and returned to Earth via the EMS worm hole, anti-human simians who looked up to the dead Thade as a hero and who had taken over Earth promptly arrested him. Thus, Burton implied that despite the epic scale of the new CGI enhanced STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy, the film legacy and legend of Kubrick would still overshadow and defeat Lucas, in the end, like EYES WIDE SHUT had defeated STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE in 1999-an implication that most observers would agree with.
While a fine film and one that Burton successfully put his quirky and idiosyncratic artbuster stamp on, PLANET OF THE APES veered as dangerously close to beastly CGI enhanced blockbuster status as MARS ATTACKS! Burton implicitly agreed, for he returned to smaller and more artistic fare when he donned the director’s hat and rejoined Atwood, DeVito, Elfman, Frey, Lebenzon, Helena B. Carter-who played Ari in PLANET OF THE APES-and directorial/production assistant Katterli Frauenfelder from PLANET OF THE APES to implicitly reply to Lynch and wrap up the Ed Trilogy in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced animaction artbuster BIG FISH (2003), released on December 4, 2003 and inspired by the twilit and allegorical Daniel Wallace indie docufiction novel Big Fish (1998).
“Now tell me if that isn’t
the best pie you ever ate?”
Curiously, the ultimately successful quest of the indomitable, imaginative, tale telling, unique and implicitly Lynch linked Edward Bloom-played by Perry Walston as a ten year old boy, Ewan MacGregor as a youth, and Albert Finney as an old man, respectively-to impress, woo and finally marry beautiful blonde Sandra Templeton-played as a youth by Alison Lohman and as an adult by Jessica Lange, respectively-by wrestling her away from dour Don Price-played by David Denham-implicitly symbolized the quest of Lynch to defeat crass commercial film with highly personal, quirky, indomitable, imaginative, and unique moving painting film art. Indeed, the film’s allusions to BLUE VELVET, ED WOOD, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE, THE ELEPHANT MAN, WILD AT HEART and the twilit and allegorical Lynch indie moving painting THE STRAIGHT STORY (1999) affirmed the wry and gently satirical but implicitly Lynch supporting intent of the film. Thus, the sight and sound of Bloom and his tall tales achieving immortality in death, in the end, implied that Burton now believed that Lynch had also achieved an immortality of sorts with his quirky and dreamy moving paintings.
And how fitting that Bloom’s quirky quest symbolized Burton’s own indomitable, imaginative, tale telling, unique and ultimately successful quest to woo audiences away from Pricey but brainless blockbuster beasts to his own more thoughtful and creepy Hallowe’en Town animaction artbusters, making it also fitting that Bloom saved the literal ghost town of Spectre along the way, for creepy Spectre evoked equally creepy Hallowe’en Town. Successful quests that implicitly did not impress John Fawcett, for he implicitly roasted BIG FISH in the twilit and allegorical indie docufeature film THE DARK (2005), released in May 2005.
“The dead don’t get second chances.”
In fact, Fawcett implied in THE DARK that Burton’s implicit attempt to win over audiences to the film art of Lynch with BIG FISH would be as unsuccessful as the ill fated attempt of the sinister and implicitly Burton linked Welsh Shepherd of Souls-played by the fittingly surnamed Richard Elfyn-to save his dead daughter Ebrill-implicitly linked to the film art of Lynch, and played by Abigail Stone-by persuading his small and devout Welsh flock to trade their lives for Ebrill by leaping off a cliff on the rugged coast of Wales-actually, the Isle of Man-to their dooms in the rocky surf below. For the return of Ebrill from Annwyn, the land of the dead, caused all of the Shepherd’s sheep to die as if to balance out the deaths of all of his human flock, leading the Shepherd to try to drain the Dark power from Ebrill by drilling holes in her head.
As Ebrill also ended up killing her father by pushing the Shepherd off the same cliff that his followers had leapt off, Fawcett also implicitly warned Burton that his implicit sympathy for Lynch in BIG FISH would be the death of him and his film art. Indeed, Fawcett affirmed his implicit Burton and Lynch addressing intent by alluding to DUNE, FRANKENWEENIE, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, SLEEPY HOLLOW, THE ELEPHANT MAN and TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME-that is, when THE DARK was not alluding to the allegorical Paul Stewart telefilm “Little Girl Lost” (1962) from the third season of the TWILIGHT ZONE telefilm series and the “Little Girl Lost” inspired, Spielberg co-written and co-produced, twilit and allegorical Tobe Hooper docufeature film POLTERGEIST (1982).
Fawcett also implicitly warned Cameron not to imitate Burton and sympathize with Lynch lest he and his film art also die, a warning implied when the implicitly Cameron linked James-played by Sean Bean-and his ex-wife and daughter Adele and Sarah-played by Maria Bello and Sophie Stuckey, respectively-were caught up in the haunting and twisted tale of Ebrill and the Shepherd decades later when the unknowing trio moved into their abandoned house in Wales. For THE DARK ended with the hot tempered and physically aggressive Adele, implicitly linked to the film art of Cameron, trapped in the land of the dead forever with the Shepherd after freeing the Burton resembling Sarah from Annwyn and with Sarah trapped in the undead grip of Lynch, for her body was actually occupied by the soul of Ebrill, in the end.
For his part, Christopher Nolan implicitly linked Burton to the well meant but doomed Gotham City District Attorney Carl Finch-played by Larry Holden-and Verhoeven to the nightmare luving and Headless Horseman evoking but tragicomic psychiatrist supervillain Doctor Jonathan Crane aka “the Scarecrow”-inspired by a character created by Finger, Kane and Jerry Robinson for DC, and played by Cillian Murphy-the latter acting as an advance man who prepared the way for a CGI enhanced fear inducing hallucinogenic gas attack on Gotham City by the implicitly Lucas linked Ra’s Al Ghul-inspired by a character created by Neal Adams, Denny O’Neil and Julius Schwartz for DC, and played by Liam Neeson-and his Evil Jedi evoking League of Shadows that could only be stopped by the implicitly Cameron linked, troubled and haunted “indolent” playboy Bruce Wayne aka “Batman”-played by Gus Lewis as a boy and by Christian Bale as an adult, respectively-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical docufeature film BATMAN BEGINS (2005), a film released on May 31, 2005 and fittingly beginning with a gothic and Burton evoking black and white Warner Brothers logo whose implicit interest in Burton on one level was affirmed by allusions to BATMAN and SLEEPY HOLLOW. Significantly, given that Batman stopped the CGI enhanced gas attack, in the end, Nolan implied his hope that Cameron would return to the Temple Theatre with another hi-tech but lightly CGI enhanced docufeature Zonebuster film that would triumph over the CGI enhanced film art of Burton and Lucas.
As for Burton, he reaffirmed his commitment to his own idiosyncratic and macabre film art when donned the director’s hat and collaborated again with Carter, Depp, Elfman-who provided music, with lyrics mostly by Dahl-Frauenfelder, Frey, Lebenzon, John August-screenwriter of BIG FISH-Christopher Lee-who played a New York judge in SLEEPY HOLLOW-and Missi Pyle and Deep Roy-who played Mildred and Mr. Soggybottom the circus clown, respectively, in BIG FISH-and Richard D. Zanuck-co-producer of PLANET OF THE APES-on the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced animaction artbuster CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (2005), released on July 10, 2005 and inspired by the allegorical Dahl indie novel Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (1964).
“Only a dummy would give this up
for something as common as money.”
Indeed, the sight of a snowswept Warner Brothers logo that evoked the snowswept Twentieth Century Fox logo at the beginning of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS and the snow falling on the Warners logo at the beginning of BATMAN RETURNS, this one as gleaming gold as a Wonka Golden Ticket, immediately reassured audiences that Burton was yet again taking over and putting his creepy, idiosyncratic and macabre Hallowe’en Town stamp on Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. The imaginative and CGI enhanced automated Wonka Chocolate Factory chocolate bar making sequence that followed the snowswept Golden Warners logo and included the opening titles reaffirmed that point, recalling a similar and entirely live action automated cookie making sequence in the creepy kitchen of the Inventor-played by Price-in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS.
Curiously, and as in the Dahl novel, the tragicomic story that followed the CGI chocolate bar making sequence saw the poor but sweet, good, virtuous, true and implicitly Lucas linked English lad Charles “Charlie” Bucket-played by Freddie Highmore-and his equally poor and implicitly Spielberg linked Grandpa Joe-played by David Kelly-find the last of the Golden Tickets and join the various bratty kids who won the other Golden Tickets, including the violent and implicitly Cronenberg linked Mike Teevee-played by Jordan Fry-the chubby and implicitly Del Toro linked Augustus Gloop-played by Philip Wiegratz-the blonde and implicitly Polley linked Violet Beauregarde-played by AnnaSophia Robb-and the haughty and implicitly Queen Elizabeth II linked Veruca Salt-played by Julia Winter-on a tour of the Wonka Chocolate Factory that was led by the mysterious, macabre and possibly Terrence “Terry” Gilliam linked Mr. William “Willy” Wonka himself-played by Depp as an adult, and Blair Dunlop as a boy, respectively-a madcap tour that picked off the brats one by one and ended with Wonka being so impressed with Bucket’s goodness that he retired and gave his factory to Bucket to run, perhaps Burton’s way of saying that he hoped that Lucas would be inspired by the failure of the STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy to connect with audiences to strike back and return to the Temple Theatre with a CGI enhanced film that would impress audiences more, in the end. At any rate, the story of a poor English lad who grew up just down the street from the Wonka Chocolate Factory and in time came to run it reminded us that Burton grew up in Burbank, California not far from the Disney studio, got inside the studio for a while as a disaffected, creepy, idiosyncratic and macabre animator, mastered the Disney “secrets”, and then went on to succeed as his own quirky and gothy animaction artbuster film artist.
Curiously, however, and unlike the Dahl novel, the film ended not only with Bucket and Grandpa Joe surviving the tour and being bequeathed the Wonka Chocolate Factory by a grateful Wonka, but with Wonka and his estranged and implicitly Landis linked father Doctor Wilbur Wonka-played by Lee-embracing each other again, implying something or other that I have yet to figure out. An implicit interest in Landis that continued when Burton donned the co-creator/co-director/co-producer hats and returned to another colourful and musical stop-motion Hallowe’en Town-complete with another undead dog, this one named Scraps-along with August, Carter, Depp, Elfman-who created both the music and songs as in TIM BURTON’S NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS-Finney, Frey, Gough, Lebenzon, Lee, Lumley, Roy, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY music editor Mike Higham and production designer Alex McDowell and EDWARD SCISSORHANDS screenwriter Caroline Thompson in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced stop-motion animaction artbuster TIM BURTON’S CORPSE BRIDE (2005), released on September 7, 2005.
“This is wrong.
I was a bride.
My dreams were taken from me.
Now-now I’ve stolen them from someone else.”
Indeed, the film saw and heard the implicitly Landis linked, piano playing and graveyard traversing Victor Van Dort-played by Depp-the son of the implicitly Ron and Cheryl Howard linked “nouveau riche” fish cannery owners Mr. and Mrs. Van Dort-played by Paul Whitehouse and Tracey Ullman, respectively-about to be wedded to the implicitly Deborah Landis linked Victoria Everglot-played by Emily Watson-the daughter of the implicitly Alfred and Alma Hitchcock linked Mr. and Mrs. Everglot-played by Finney and Lumley, respectively. Alas for Victor and Victoria, however, the luving couple was prevented from being bethrothed by the shock arrival of the implicitly Angelina Jolie linked Emily, the eponymous Corpse Bride-played by Carter-who Victor mistakenly married one fateful graveyard traversing night before the real wedding day. However, in the end Emily realized that it was best to let Victor and Victoria marry each other, a happy conclusion that was ironically helped along by the implicitly Kubrick linked Elder Gutknecht, ruler of the underworld-played by Gough-and his undead droogs whose intervention also allowed Victor and Victoria to triumph over Emily’s malevolent murderer, the dastardly and implicitly Morrow linked Barkis Bittern-played by Richard E. Grant-implying the hope of Burton and Johnson that John and Deborah Landis would finally free themselves from the deaths of Chen, Le and Morrow and find harmony, luv and peace in the new millennium. Indeed, the fact that Victor and Victoria evoked the two characters Victor and Victoria-played by Julie Andrews-in the allegorical Blake Edwards docufeature film VICTOR/VICTORIA (1982) affirmed the film’s implicit interest in breaking free at last from the twilit and disastrous July of ’82.
Curiously, the happy and harmonious conclusion of TIM BURTON’S CORPSE BRIDE disappeared when Burton donned the director’s cap, rejoined Atwood, Carter, Depp, Frauenfelder, Frey, Higham-back as music composer and music producer as well as music editor-Lebenzon and Zanuck and returned to England with an even darker and more violent and macabre musical set in the massive and Gotham City evoking Hallowe’en Town of Victorian London that put the “gory” in allegory and evoked THE CROW and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced animaction artbuster SWEENEY TODD (2007), thoughtfully released in time for Christmas on December 3, 2007 and inspired by the allegorical Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler musical SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET (1979).
“I feel shattered…cursed.”
Significantly, the creepy, musically enhanced and CGI animated Dreamworks SKG logo that preceded the film immediately linked SWEENEY TODD to the TZ disaster. For the sight of a boy fishing on a waxing crescent sliver of moon in a dark and cloudy sky reminded us that a waxing crescent sliver of moon hung in a dark and cloudy early morning sky when the TZ disaster occurred at 2:20 am on July 23, 1982. Indeed, Dreamworks SKG was a new film created by Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen, openly linking the film to Spielberg and the TZ disaster. Thus, this eerie prelude immediately and openly implied that the latest Burton offering was again part of the dread allegorical Zone Wars that had raged in fiction and film since 1982, an implication affirmed when the Warner Brothers logo followed the Dreamworks SKG logo. Curiously, after this eerily twilit beginning, SWEENEY TODD then saw the bitter and brooding barber Sweeney Todd-played by Depp-return to London from transported imprisonment in the colonies and use his trusty razors to wreak bloody and righteously furious revenge on his banisher, the implicitly Cameron linked Judge Turpin- a perfect year to implicitly address the latter, given that SWEENEY TODD was released in the tenth anniversary year of the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Cameron docufeature Zonebuster TITANIC (1997), and played by Allan Rickman-and anyone else who crossed him with the help of the insidious and duplicitous Mrs. Lovett-played by Carter.
As only two years before, Lucas had finished destroying his reputation trying to wreak revenge on the implicitly Cameron linked Anakin Skywalker-played by Hayden Christensen-in the trimax of his equally angry and brooding Tragic Trilogy, the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced, Ozian themed and implicitly Cameron and Spielberg roasting indie animaction film STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH (2005), the implication was that Todd symbolized Lucas and Turpin symbolized Cameron. Thus, it was fitting that the surname of the sinister Mrs. Lovett evoked that of treasure hunter Brock Lovett-played by Bill Paxton-in TITANIC. Burton also implied that the Tragic Trilogy revealed that Lucas had killed his film art with his obsession with revenge, just as Todd inadvertently killed his life’s luv and wife, the implicitly Polley linked Lucy-played by Laura M. Kelly-by cutting open her throat, implying that Burton had not been fond of Polley's implicit sympathy for Lucas in her first daylit, allegorical and CGI free indie docufeature film AWAY FROM HER (2006). Leaving him sadly weeping blood over her body from a slit throat after being cut down in turn by the possibly Alex Cox linked street urchin Tobias Raggs-played by Edward Sanders-in the end.
A fitting ending, given how disappointed young fans were with the Tragic Trilogy and how disappointed young fans of an earlier age had also been with the decision of Lucas to continue working with Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg on film art after the TZ disaster and with STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. Indeed, the resemblance of Mrs. Lovett-tossed into a furnace by a furious Todd in the end like the Wicked StepWitch in HANSEL AND GRETEL-to Aurra Sing-played by Michonne Bourriague-a female bounty hunter in STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE reaffirmed the implicit Lucas roasting intent of SWEENEY TODD. Alas, the bloody film also all too presciently anticipated the arrival soon on the cyberscene of Sweeney Gar, devil Zone Wars “scholar” of Mill Street.
Curiously, after also symbolically hacking down Disney in the implicit form of Todd’s rival barber Pirelli-played by Sacha B. Cohen-in SWEENEY TODD and acting as co-producer of the twilit, allegorical and all CGI Shane Acker indie film 9 (2009), released on the fateful Canadian date of August 19, 2009, Burton took over the chocolate factory when he ironically and contrarily returned to the Disney fold and again flirted dangerously with the CGI enhanced blockbuster beast when he donned the director hat and teamed up again with Atwood, Carter, Depp, Elfman, Frauenfelder, Frey, Gough, Higham, Lebenzon-now co-executive producer as well as editor-Lee, Rickman, Zanuck and Dariusz Wolski-DOP of SWEENEY TODD-on the quirky and unusual, creepy, macabre, daylit, allegorical and CGI enhanced animaction artbuster ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2010), released on February 25, 2010 and inspired by the allegorical Lewis Carroll children’s novels Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (1865) and Through The Looking Glass (1871).
“I’d know him anywhere!”
Curiously and curiously, the film began in Victorian England in the late Nineteenth Century and saw the adolescent and implicitly Polley linked Alice Kingsley-played by Mia Wasikowska-flee an unwanted wedding proposal from the stuffy and studgy young suitor Lord Hamish-played by Leo Bill-by chasing after a CGI White Rabbit-played by Michael Sheen. This desperate chase led her to again fall down the rabbit hole to a brave new CGI Wonderland called Underland. Here Kingsley teamed up with the implicitly SCC linked White Queen-looking like Anne “Goldilocks” Chambers in FRANKENWEENIE to affirm her implicit link to SCC, and played by Anne Hathaway-the implicitly Gilliam linked Mad Hatter-played by Depp-and the implicitly Del Toro linked Cheshire Cat-played by Stephen Fry-to take on and take out the implicitly Kennedy linked Red Queen-played by Carter-and her loyal and implicitly Spielberg linked Knave of Hearts-played by Crispin Glover-and slay their dread CGI blockbuster Jabberwocky beast with a valiant and victorious vorpal sword. That accomplished, Kingsley left behind CGI Underland and returned to late nineteenth century English reality to collaborate with the implicitly Bigelow and Cameron linked Lady and Lord Astor-played by Geraldine James and Tim Piggott-Smith, respectively-to create a successful trading business in China, implying the hope of Burton and Dis that Polley would be a very successful film artist, and perhaps even that Disney film art would be just as popular in China as in the rest of the world.
Those implicit points made, Burton donned the director’s cap and returned to Hallowe’en Town again with Atwood, August, Carter, Depp-now also a co-producer-Elfman, Frauenfelder, Frey, Heinrichs, Higham, Lebenzon, Lee, Pfeiffer, Zanuck, and Warner Brothers to reassure audiences yet again that he had not sold out and abandoned Hallowe’en Town, implicitly replied to THE DARK and commemorated the thirtieth anniversary of the TZ disaster in the fittingly entitled, twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced animaction artbuster DARK SHADOWS (2012), a film released on May 9, 2012 that was inspired by the allegorical DARK SHADOWS telefilm series (1966-71) and that also evoked SLEEPY HOLLOW and the allegorical Lewis Allen film THE UNINVITED (1944).
“But remember, Barnabus,
family is the only real wealth.”
Curiously, the film began with the Mr. and Mrs. Landis linked Mr. and Mrs. Joshua and Naomi Collins-played by Ivan Kaye and Susanna Capallero, respectively-and their young and implicitly Landis linked son Barnabus-played by Justin Tracy-sailing from England to the New World in 1760 on a British sailing ship whose Red Ensign flag linked the vessel and its captain, crew and passengers to the staid northern English colonies that became Canada as much as to the rebellious southern Thirteen Colonies that became the United States. Indeed, the Red Ensign was the flag of the Dominion of Canada until it was finally replaced by the red, white and true Maple Leaf flag in 1965. Upon arrival in North America, Mr. and Mrs. Collins first established the thriving fish cannery town of Collinsport-which evoked both the haunted town of Sleepy Hollow in SLEEPY HOLLOW and the Van Dort fish cannery in TIM BURTON’S CORPSE BRIDE-on the rugged coast of Maine-which evoked the rugged coast of the Isle of Man which stood in for Wales in THE DARK. The cannery town built, Joshua and Naomi Collins then spent fifteen years building Collinwood, their palatial and lonely mansion on a hill that evoked the equally palatial and lonely hilltop Scissorhands mansion in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. As the names of both Collinwood and Collinsport evoked Hollywood, albeit in a northern location, the implication was that the town was linked in some way to Hollywood North, otherwise known as Canada. Indeed, Burton soon introduced a Wicked Angel into the mix that implicitly linked Collinsport to Los Angeles and evoked the rivalry that existed between Hollywood North and Hollywood South.
The Wicked Angel was their passionate, tempestuous and Ebrill resembling French maid Angelique Bouchard-played by Raffey Cassidy as a girl and Eva Green as an adult, respectively-who, enraged that the young adult Barnabas-played by Depp-spurned her beauty and luv, used her Wicked Witch spells to kill Mr. and Mrs. Collins one fatal and fateful night. Later, outraged that Barnabus, the only son and heir of the Collins cannery and fortune, fell in luv with sweet and implicitly Deborah Landis linked Josette DuPress-played by Bella Heathcote-Wicked Angelique put a spell on Josette that caused her to leap to her doom off Widow’s Hill behind Collinwood and down to the wave wracked rocks below, evoking the devout flock of the Shepherd who leaped off a cliff to their doom to return Ebrill to life in THE DARK. Evil Angelique also put a curse on Collins that turned him into a vampire, before burying him in a coffin undead in the dark…forevermore-good thing Depp got all of those free vampire lessons from Landau’s Lugosi in ED WOOD! As the twilit trio of deaths of Joshua, Josette and Naomi evoked the deaths of Myca, Renee and Vic in the TZ disaster, and the undead banishment of Barnabas evoked the banishment of Landis by Hollywood and society after the TZ disaster, Burton implicitly affirmed that he was indeed meditating on Wicked Los Angeles, Landis and his miserable plight in DARK SHADOWS. Indeed, the many instances of characters breaking the fourth wall as in the film art of Landis reaffirmed that implication in DARK SHADOWS.
In fact, the film’s implicit interest in Landis was soon reaffirmed. For no sooner did the tumultuous and gothic prologue end than the reincarnation of Josette in the form of the equally sweet and Josette guided Margaret “Maggie” Evans-played by Alexia Osborne as a girl and by Heathcote as a young adult, respectively-arrived on the scene two centuries later in October of 1972 to apply for a position as a governess at Collinwood. Curiously, on the train to Collinsport, Evans spied an odd and incongruous poster on the wall promoting skiing-?-a continent away in Victoria, British Columbia, not far from where I grew up as a youth in Delta, BC. Inspired by this strange poster for skiing in a city with no mountains or large enough hills that receives more rain than snow each year, Evans decided on the spur of the moment to use the name Victoria “Vicky” Winters when she applied at Collinwood for the governess position. A significant decision, for the “Victoria Winters” pseudonym implicitly linked Evans to Landis via the implicitly Deborah Landis linked Victoria Everglot in TIM BURTON’S CORPSE BRIDE, and to the twilit and disastrous year of ’82 via VICTOR/VICTORIA.
However, the pseudonym “Victoria Winters” also linked Evans to British Columbia and Canada, evoking the implicit link of Collinsport to Hollywood North and Canada. The “Victoria Winters” pseudonym also presciently linked Evans to Barnabas Collins and his B.C. initials. This link to Collins, BC, and Canada was soon implicitly reaffirmed when hippies in a doubly fitting red and white VW van-license FI 467, evoking my birth on July 4th, 1967, a fateful groovedelic and Canadian centennial celebrating year reaffirmed by the sound of the allegorical and Justin Hayward written Moody Blues tune “Nights In White Satin” (1967) accompanying the journey of Vicky-picked up Evans outside a train station and drove her into Collinsport and then up to Collinwood.
Fittingly, after opening the rusty gate and walking up a winding driveway, Evans was soon walking by the Collins family pumpkin patch in the front yard of Collinwood, officially linking the mansion and the fishing port to Hallowe’en Town. The knock of Evans led to the door being opened by a lost, confused and implicitly Ivan Reitman linked family servant named Willy-played by Jackie E. Haley-an implicit link that reminded us that Reitman was a co-producer of the eerily and presciently twilit and allegorical Landis indie docufeature film ANIMAL HOUSE (1978). Evans was then welcomed to Collinwood by the implicitly Bigelow linked family matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard-played by Pfeiffer-her first name evoking Queen Elizabeth II in another implicit nod to Canada that reaffirmed that Collinsport symbolized Hollywood North. Pfeiffer was an inspired choice, as she linked the film to 1992 via BATMAN RETURNS, the tenth anniversary year of the TZ disaster that was also the year of the release of the vampire battling twilit and allegorical Landis docufeature film INNOCENT BLOOD (1992), reaffirming the film’s implicit interest in Landis.
Curiously, soon after arriving at Collinwood, “Winters” experienced a ghostly visitation by Josette that evoked the librarian ghost-played by Ruth Oliver-experienced at the beginning of the twilit and allegorical Reitman docufeature film GHOSTBUSTERS (1984). And soon after “Winters” experienced the ghost of Josette, Barnabas Collins returned from the undead when he was liberated from his coffin prison by a group of construction workers digging up ground for a foundation for a beastly blockbuster McDonald’s restaurant, reaffirming the implication that he was linked to Landis. For the bloody sight and sound reminded us that Collins arrived around Hallowe’en of ’72, not long before the release of the first eerily and presciently twilit, allegorical and implicitly Kubrick roasting Landis indie docufeature film SCHLOCK (1973). Indeed, the exuberantly violent and implicitly Kubrick linked apeman Schlockthropus-ominously played by Landis-that rampaged through SCHLOCK was also accidentally dug up by construction workers, reaffirming the implication that Landis was linked to Collins.
After slaking his vampiric thirst on the workers-one of whom resembled Cameron in another link of Collins and the film to Canada-Collins returned to Collinwood and promptly fell in luv with “Winters”, who he recognized as his reincarnated luv Josette. At the huge family manse, Collins also met his teenaged and implicitly Polley linked distant relative Carolyn Collins-played by Chloe G. Moretz-whose name just as curiously reminded us that young Reitman had a sister named Caroline. Even more curiously, Collins, whose short hair, fondness for suits and odd behaviour and way of talking made him come across as a vampiric Pee Wee Herman, and Evans soon banded together with the rest of the Collins clan to defeat diabolical Angelique, still alive and unwell via witchcraft and now very implicitly linked to the Dark Side of Los Angeles and Hollywood South as the Evil, successful, statuesque and Hollywood evoking blonde head of Angel Bay, the rival cannery that had taken over the fishing and cannery businesses in Collinsport after the banishment of Collins and the bankruptcy of the Collins Cannery Company. For Angel Bay evoked Anchor Bay Entertainment, a Hollywood film production company, whose defeat freed the implicit Hollywood North of Collinsport from the Wicked grip of Angelique and ended the curse placed on DuPres/Evans. However, after defeating Wicked Angelique and walking away from her, Collins then threw himself after Evans and bit her neck as she fell from Widow’s Hill in another allusion to THE DARK at the end of the film, transforming her into an undead Josette and allowing Collins to luv her at last. A bittersweet but fitting sight, given that it left Barnabas and Josette/Margaret as madly in luv but as monstrous, feared and loathed as John and Deborah Landis, in the end.
Then an implicit interest in Jason Reitman and his favourite screenwriter Diablo Cody appeared when Burton donned the story idea/director/co-producer hats and teamed up again with August, Disney, Elfman, Frey, Heinrichs, Higham, Landau, Lebenzon, Lee, Ryder and Short to return to Hallowe’en Town with the twilit, allegorical, black and white, reanimated, stop-motion and CGI enhanced animaction artbuster FRANKENWEENIE (2012), released on September 20, 2012.
“I just wanted my dog back.”
Significantly, the new CGI enhanced stop-motion FRANKENWEENIE began with the CGI enhanced and colourful Walt Disney intro with its familiar castle and theme music suddenly waylaid near the end by a crack of thunder and burst of lightning that brought with them a gothic, spooky and black and white dark and stormy night with a full moon brooding in a cloudy sky, all accompanied by suitably gothic and spooky organ music courtesy of Meister Elfman, immediately affirming that audiences had returned to Hallowe’en Town. Thus, and as with DARK SHADOWS, Burton reassured audiences that he had not only not sold out with ALICE IN WONDERLAND, but had actually taken over Disney with that film, as he was doing again with FRANKENWEENIE.
Curiously, after making this implicit point, the new CGI FRANKENWEENIE saw the implicitly Reitman linked boy suburbanite Victor Frankenstein-played by Charlie Tahan-his implicitly Cody linked girlfriend Elsa Van Helsing-played by Ryder-and the reanimated Sparky triumph over the equally reanimated monsters-gremlin sea monkies, a wererat, a mouse, Turtlezilla and a flying batcat, respectively-of five of their classmates: the implicitly Dante linked Bob, the implicitly Edgar Wright linked Edgar “E” Gore, and the ambiguously linked Nassor, Toshiaki and Weird Girl-played by Robert Capron, Atticus Shaffer, Short, James H. Liao and O’Hara, respectively-that plagued the New Hollywood evoking suburb of New Holland on the night of its annual Dutch Day, in the end. Indeed, the implicit link of Victor to a young Canadian film artist was affirmed by the fact that his parents Mr. and Mrs. Frankenstein, were played by Short and O’Hara, respectively. At any rate, Burton soon donned the director/co-producer hats and teamed up again with Atwood, Elfman, Frauenfelder, Frey, Heinrichs, Higham and Lebenzon on his most real and deep film since ED WOOD when he left behind the animaction artbuster for the twilit, allegorical, and CGI enhanced docufeature artbuster BIG EYES (2014), released on November 13, 2014 and “…based on true events”.
“You are…very talented at being charming.
And you are a genius at sales and promotion.”
How fitting that the tragicomic film began with frustrated painter and wife Margaret Doris “Maggie” Ulbrich nee Peggy Doris Hawkins-played by Amy Adams-tossing two copies of an English weekly comic called JACK AND JILL into a suitcase for her daughter Jane aka Janie-played as a child by Delaney Raye and as a teen by Madeleine Arthur, respectively-before fleeing with Janie from their San Fran suburban home and her unhappy marriage in the family car. For narrative artwork facetiously known by some as “comic books” or “comics” implicitly figured prominently in BIG EYES, given that the fine film saw the charming, smiling, talentless and Stan “the Man” Lee evoking and implicitly linked San Fran based “Sunday painter” Walter Stanley Keane-played by Christoph Waltz-persuade Maggie, his second wife, to fade into the background and become as invisible as Susan Storm aka “the Invisible Girl”, of the Fantastic Four, who the blonde indie painter resembled and allow him to pass off her quirky and popular paintings of children with big sad eyes and the many reproductions of those paintings as his own so he could be rich and famous in the rebel Sixties. However, after initially going along with Walter, Maggie eventually summoned up the courage to defy and separate from him and go public with the truth that she was the real painter of the “Big Eyes” paintings, a truth that she conclusively proved in the Western evoking painting duel in the subsequent trial that have her ownership of her paintings and the lucrative revenues generated by reproductions of the paintings.
Thus, given the implication that Smilin’ Walt was linked to Smilin’ Stan, Burton implied his belief that Lee was an equally charming but talentless self-promoter who lived off the many lucrative narrative art reproductions of the work of real artists like Jolly Jack Kirby, Sturdy Steve Ditko, Beamin’ Bill Everett and Jovial John Buscema, amongst others. Indeed, the fact that the San Fran reporter Richard “Dick” Nolan-played by Danny Huston-who covered the affair resembled and was implicitly linked to Kirby affirmed the implicit link of Keane to Lee and the implicit allegorical intent of the film. The sight and sound of a young couple who looked like a young Stan and Joan Lee-played by Vincent Gale and Desiree Zurowski, respectively-making the first purchase of a “Big Eyes” painting from Walter in the hallway to the bathroom of the club owned by Enrico Banducci-played by Jon Polito-early in the film also affirmed the implicitly Lee roasting intent of BIG EYES. Burton also implied that Disney was mistaken for buying up Marvel Comics in 2009 and cranking out unoriginal twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Marvel stupor satirical animaction films rather than creating the original indie film art that Disney was justly famous for, an implication affirmed when he eventually donned the director/co-executive producer hats and collaborated again with Atwood, DeVito, Elfman, Frey, Heinrichs, Keaton and Lebenzon on the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced animaction artbuster DUMBO (2019), an ironic implication, indeed, given that Burton had inspired the deluge of super satirical animaction films with BATMAN and BATMAN RETURNS.
Indeed, the fact that the San Fran reporter Richard “Dick” Nolan-played by Danny Huston-resembled and was implicitly linked to Kirby affirmed the implicit link of Keane to Lee and the implicit allegorical intent of the film. The sight and sound of a young couple who looked like a young Stan and Joan Lee-played by Vincent Gale and Desiree Zurowski, respectively-making the first purchase of a “Big Eyes” painting from Walter in the hallway to the bathroom of the club owned by Enrico Banducci-played by Jon Polito-early in the film also affirmed the implicitly Lee roasting intent of BIG EYES.
Intriguingly, the “Big Eyes” paintings were dismissed as “kitsch” at the swinging Sixties time by prominent NEW YORK TIMES Senior Art Critic John Canaday-played by Terence Stamp-implicitly linked to Canada by his surname and perhaps to me by his critical essays which evoked the equally critical “essays” that I wrote for my Zone Wars website, including an initial version of this essay that was highly critical of Burton. Indeed, a waiter named Gary was even hailed in passing in a bar at one point in BIG EYES, affirming the implication that Canaday was linked to the poor ol’ Gardevil on one level. On another level, the Jekyll and Hyde battle between artbuster and blockbuster that was literally waged throughout the film between the sincere, virtuous and artbuster promoting Maggie and insincere, greedy and beastly blockbuster profit lusting Walter over “Big Eyes” paintings, vaguely gothic and idiosyncratic indie portraits of children which were as distinctive and quirky as the indie gothic drawings, paintings and artbusters of Burton and which evoked the equally big eyed fantasy wife of young Malloy in VINCENT, implied that Burton was also addressing the equally Jekyll and Hyde contrast within him between the film art for film art’s sake artist who created animaction artbuster films like EDWARD SCISSORHANDS and the film art for beastly blockbuster loot’s sake film artist who created beastly blockbuster CGI enhanced films like BATMAN on another level in BIG EYES. Thus, the triumph of the artbusting Maggie over the blockbuster loot lusting Walter also implicitly symbolized the triumph of Burton’s artbuster side over his beastly blockbuster side, making it implicitly clear to audiences and this Canadian film “scholar” that Burton was confident that he had indeed broken as free from the control of beastly CGI enhanced blockbuster loot lusting studios like Disney and Warners and established himself as a truly sincere, idiosyncratic and slightly CGI enhanced indie artbuster film artist.
As for Del Toro, he implicitly roasted Burton in the implicit form of Sir Thomas Sharpe, Baronet-played by Tom Hiddleston-and implicitly toasted Polley in the implicit form of aspiring and ghost haunter writer Edith Cushing-played by Wasikowska-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced indie docufeature film CRIMSON PEAK (2015), a film released on September 25, 2015 whose implicit allegorical intent was affirmed by the appearance of Wasikowska and by allusions to ALICE IN WONDERLAND, DARK SHADOWS, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE and SWEENEY TODD. For his part, Paul Feig implicitly linked Burton to paranormal investigator (P.I.) Doctor Jillian Holtzmann-played by Kate McKinnon-and teamed her up with the implicitly Disney linked himbo secretary Kevin, the implicitly Kennedy linked P.I. Dr. Erin Gilbert, the implicitly Lucas linked P.I. Dr. Abigail “Abby” L. Yates and the implicitly Francis Coppola linked Patty Tolan-played by Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Lesley Jones, respectively-to exorcise the ghost of the implicitly Screamin’ Stephen King linked Rowan North-played by Neil Casey-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced docufeature film GHOSTBUSTERS: ANSWER THE CALL (2016), released on July 9, 2016.
As for Burton, he reaffirmed that he was implicitly addressing the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) on one level in BIG EYES as well as reaffirming his commitment to the creepy artbuster when he donned the director’s hat and reunited with Atwood, Frauenfelder, Frey, Green, Higham, Jones, Lebenzon, Stamp and Phil Philmar-who played secret stealing bubble gummer Slugworth in CHARLE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY-and, inspired by music composed by Higham and Matthew Margeson instead of by Elfman, returned to Hallowe’en Town to implicitly roast the deluge of CGI enhanced super satirical animaction films battling their way through the Temple Theatre in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced animaction artbuster MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (2016), released on September 25, 2016 and inspired by the twilit and allegorical Ransom Riggs indie docufiction novel Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (2011).
“An Ymbryne’s main skill
is the manipulation of time.
We choose a safe place, a safe day
and create a loop.”
Indeed, the peculiar young charges with their unique super powers trapped forever in time in 1943 like the superheroes they resembled and parodies while being watched over protectively by the implicitly Milla Jovovich linked Miss Alma Peregrine-played by Green-at the Children’s Home at Llangarsydd on Cairnholm Island off the rugged coast of Wales-evoking the supposedly Welsh location of THE DARK and the Collins mansion in DARK SHADOWS-evoked the equally peculiar young mutants mentored by Charles Xavier aka “Professor X”-played by Patrick Stewart-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced X-MEN super satirical films that were inspired by characters created by Kirby and Lee for Marvel Comics, affirming the implicit MCU roasting intent of the film. The peculiar children reaffirmed that implication, for some were implicitly linked to film artists who had created super satirical film art, like the Nolan resembling and implicitly linked human dream projector Horace Somnusson-played by Hayden Keeler-Stone. Other peculiar children reaffirmed that implication by being implicitly linked to film artists who were implicitly linked to superheroes or superheroines in the MCU and the DC Expanded Cinematic Universe (DCECU) or telefilms, like the implicitly SCC linked botanist Fiona Frauenfeld-played by Georgia Pemberton-who reminded us that SCC was implicitly linked to ex-Russian assassin Natasha Romanoff aka “Black Widow”-played by Scarlett Johansson-in the MCU. Or like the implicitly Polley linked Emma Bloom-played by Ella Purnell-who reminded us that Polley was possibly linked to Kara Zor-El Danvers aka “Supergirl”-played by Malina Weissman as a teen and Melissa Benoist as a young adult, respectively-in the DC super satirical telefilm series SUPERGIRL (2015-2021).
Curiously, Miss Peregrine, Fiona, Horace and the rest of the peculiar children were joined by the implicitly Richard Kelly linked male lead and film narrator Jacob “Jake” Portman-played by Asa Butterfield-who reaffirmed the film’s implicit allegorical intent, as he reminded us that Kelly was implicitly linked to Scott Lang aka “Ant-Man”-played by Paul Rudd-in the MCU. And so Jake helped Miss Peregrine and the other peculiar kids face down and desperately defeat the implicitly Cronenberg linked head Hollowgast baddie Barron-played by Samuel L. Jackson-who, curiously, also manifested as the Bigelow resembling and implicitly linked psychiatrist Doctor Golan-played by Allison Janney-and the rest of Barron’s Evil Hollowgasts buddies. Indeed, the climatic final showdown in the English port city of Blackpool affirmed the implicit link of Barron to Cronenberg, for Blackpool’s waterfront and its Tower evoked the waterfront and CN Tower of Toronto, reminding us that most of the first X-MEN film and bits of the second were created in Toronto. The red brick base of the Blackpool Tower also evoked the red brick of the St. Lawrence Market just down Front Street from the CN Tower, reaffirming the implicit link of Blackpool to Toronto. Thus, the triumph over Barron and his Hollow baddie buddies, in the end, implicitly symbolized a victory for young CGI enhancement embracing artbuster film artists like Burton, SCC, Kelly and Nolan over older CGI eschewing film artists like Cronenberg.
Alas, MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN was as disturbingly blockbusterish as ALICE IN WONDERLAND, MARS ATTACKS!, PLANET OF THE APES and the DCECU and MCU CGI enhanced super satirical animaction films and telefilms that it was implicitly roasting. Just as insidious, the X-MEN like film was possibly the first in a dreaded franchise of beastly blockbuster loot lusting films. A dreaded franchise that SCC implicitly feared would arrive, for she implicitly roasted Burton in the implicit form of wounded Union Corporal John McBurney-played by Colin Farrell-in the twilit, allegorical and slightly CGI enhanced indie docufeature film THE BEGUILED (2017), released on May 24, 2017. And so another creepy, idiosyncratic, macabre and indie animaction artbuster was yet again a necessary follow-up for Burton, one that again it would take audiences and scholars away from the economic, historical, military, political and technological upheavals of the last four decades and off to a twilit but lighthearted and exuberantly creepy place as lighthearted and exuberantly creepy as Hallowe’en itself, an out of the way, jack o’ lantern guarded and sometimes dark and nasty but freedom, life, luv and creativity luving place nestled deep in a spooky hollow called…Hallowe’en Town.
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