Fans who collaborated on this issue:
The filmmaker that found the line between macabre and mainstream.

Like David Lynch or David Cronenberg, Tim Burton’s films are instantly recognizable by his bizarre visual style and macabre recurring themes, yet Burton’s films have found that delicate balance between mainstream adoration and the introvert in all of us.  From his days as a Disney animator, to his first feature Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, to his reinvention of the superhero genre with Batman, to his mid-90s B-movie love letters Ed Wood and Mars Attacks! to his family friendly hits like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland, we celebrate the works of Tim Burton in all of their grotesque glory.

When it comes to movies, the standout heroes are typically outgoing, adventurous types with a grand journey ahead of them. Luke Skywalker is the simple farm boy who became an intergalactic savior. Tony Stark is the hot-shot party boy with a brightly a colored suit that he uses to fight supervillains. James Bond is a smooth-talking, womanizing super-spy. But the unsung stars of cinema are the quiet ones. They're the shut-in types with big dreams and dark secrets. They're the social outcasts that are both feared and ridiculed by the common folk. No other director has captured that sort of persona like Tim Burton. Though his films are often pegged as "dark," "creepy," or "weird," Burton taps into a style of storytelling that really appeals to film fans in a unique way. Instead of giving us dashing knights riding in on a white horse, he's given us characters that would rather be a wallflower. These characters are some of the most memorable in modern films, and it's all thanks to Burton's distinct style.

As a true introvert, Burton is able to present us all with accurate depictions of the introvert lifestyle. He himself has lived the life of an outcast, and he reflects those pieces of himself onto his many iconic characters. In 2010, he told Independent: "If you've ever had that feeling of loneliness, of being an outsider, it never quite leaves you. You can be happy or successful or whatever, but that thing still stays within you." His feelings of being an outsider have been represented in many iconic characters in his movies. Take Alice from Alice in Wonderland, take Sweeney Todd, take Edward Scissorhands. All of these characters are forced to live in environments where they are labeled as outsiders. Though they come off as "dark" and "weird," they are just representations of one person who just doesn't fit in.

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He's got dark, scraggly hair and can almost always be found wearing one of his infamous black suits, looking nearly identical to the Vertigo Comics character the Sandman. His name is Tim Burton. Like Sandman, Burton's profession very much involves dreams. In his case, bringing them to life on the big screen to share with the rest of the world. Burton has been in the dream industry for nearly 40 years now, and while he has directed some of the most phenomenal and emotionally stirring tales in the gothic film genre, what may not be known is how extensive his behind-the-scenes talents are — especially in regard to animation.

Everybody knows Burton's rise as a director beginning with Pee-wee's Big Adventure and continued spike thanks to the supernatural comedy Beetlejuice and his first big-budget production, Batman, not many know that Burton actually got his start in animation with Disney. Burton began making short movies when he was a kid in his backyard, ranging from live-action shorts with his friends to stop-motion animated movies without sound on his Super 8mm camera, many of which were inspired by some of his childhood heroes including Dr. Seuss, Roald Dahl and Edgar Allan Poe. In addition, he spent a lot of his time painting, drawing and watching movies.

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The Many Faces of Johnny Depp In Tim Burton Movies

As Edward in Edward Scissorhands (1990)
As Ed Wood in
Ed Wood (1994)
As Ichabod Crane in
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
As Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
As Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (2007)
As Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland (2010)
As Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows (2012)

When you consider the number of artists — filmmakers included — that weren't properly appreciated in their own time, the amount is heartbreaking. Van Gogh, Bach, Poe and Monet are just a few names synonymous with "masterpiece" in this day and age, yet in their own lifetimes were widely rejected and, all too often, died broke and without much consideration. And then there's somebody like notorious writer/producer/director/actor Ed Wood, a Hollywood legend that, long after his death, is widely considered to be "the worst director of all-time." Though during his lifetime this sort of accolade would likely have been considered an insult, the generation that Wood's low-budget genre films influenced would consider him to be an artist of great interest, easily on par with the more traditional choices for artistic inspiration. 

Movies like Plan 9 from Outer Space and Bride of the Monster are cheap, amateurish productions that were made for a penny and really only found a cult audience thanks to late-night TV and home video after stupendous box office failure. One of those fans was filmmaker Tim Burton, who would go on to craft the story of Ed Wood — along with screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski from Rudolph Grey's book — into the eponymous film that I would consider to be his best to date, released in 1994. One only has to watch Plan 9 to recognize how the troubled filmmaker influenced Burton aesthetically, but Ed Wood shows why he serves as brilliant inspiration for so many aspiring directors despite the objective awfulness of his movies.

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Hollywood is filled with an abundance of talented entertainers — directors, actors, actresses, singers — you name it. The stars who stand out brightest in the fluorescent night sky of Hollywood are the ones who have the most unique and intriguing style. For instance, Tim Burton is one of the most renowned directors in Hollywood due to his unique dark and gothic style and his critically applauded work. But more recently, the filmmaker has taken his moody approach to more family-oriented fare. Burton's films of the '80s and '90s gave children nightmares and blew the minds of their parents. But at the turn of the century, there was a perceived shift in Burton's career. 

He began to depart from his more disturbing works and make more family-friendly movies starting with Big Fish in 2003. While this movie did include some Burton-esque elements, it was pretty offbeat from his previous efforts. Big Fish is not a movie like Beetlejuice or Edward Scissorhands, where the imagery keeps kids awake all night. This Burton film is a very distinctly family-friendly that is emotionally powerful. Now, Big Fish isn't a bad movie in the least, but audiences at the time were expecting a much different movie from the filmmaker, given his work up to that point.

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You can't deny that Tim Burton is a masterful storyteller. The director's managed to do what many can't, creating his own brand of weird and wonderful stories fans have adored for over 30 years. And while Burton might be an expert when it comes to cinematic visuals and crafting oddball characters there's one thing he needs a little help on — making music. Thankfully, the filmmaker found a perfect partner and kindred spirit in the form of composer Danny Elfman. Elfman's composed music for 15 of Burton's 18 directorial efforts, with the team bringing a signature brand of off-kilter movies to fans. 

But their collaboration extends beyond that of your average filmmaker/composer pairing, succeeding thanks to a shared love of the weird and a passion for experimentation that's brought some outsider flair to Hollywood. Before jumping into the world of movies, Danny Elfman was the successful frontman of eclectic '80s band Oingo Boingo. The band served as a major outlet for Elfman's musical growth, starting in the early '70s with his older brother Richard as its leader. Originally called The Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo, the group launched as a theatrical music troupe that performed everything from Russian ballet compositions to '40s big band covers. 

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