Tim Burton: Melancholy, Mirth and Magic, Part I
October 31–November 6
Starting out as an animator for Walt Disney Studios before moving on to direct live-action feature films, Tim Burton brought a cartoonist’s eye and a horror maven’s delight in the macabre to a string of offbeat comedies and dark fantasies that surprised with their wicked wit and visual flair, including PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE, BEETLEJUICE, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS and the landmark superhero adaptation BATMAN (1989). Part I of this series explores Burton’s most Halloween-tastic tales of things that both go bump in the night and tickle the funny bone, including boorish ghouls, lovelorn ghosts and re-animated dogs. Look for Part II in 2015.
AFI Member passes accepted at all screenings in the Tim Burton series.
Adapting Washington Irving’s classic short story for the big screen, filmmaker Tim Burton brings his trademark eccentricities to this visually lush gothic fairy tale, its style an homage to classic Hammer horror films. Johnny Depp is Ichabod Crane, an unorthodox New York City detective sent to investigate a series of strange murders that have taken place in the upstate town of Sleepy Hollow. All the victims were found decapitated, after traveling along a road deep in the surrounding forest. Local legend claims it’s the work of the Headless Horseman, the murderous ghost of a Hessian mercenary. The logic-loving Crane isn’t having it, and intends to find the real murderer. With Christopher Walken, Christopher Lee and Christina Ricci.
DIR Tim Burton; SCR Kevin Yagher, Andrew Kevin Walker, from the story by Washington Irving; PROD Scott Rudin, Adam Schroeder. US/Germany, 1999, color, 105 min, 35mm. RATED R
Fri, Oct 31, 3:00; Wed, Nov 5, 9:30
Adapted from Tim Burton’s 1984 live action short film, this feature-length quirky homage to Universal’s classic FRANKENSTEIN films and the 1950s' creature features of Burton’s youth is lovingly rendered in black-and-white stop-motion animation. When science-loving kid Victor Frankenstein’s faithful pup Sparky dies, he devises a plan to reanimate his canine companion. But when his stitched-up pooch gets loose, chaos and paranoia break out in the sleepy suburb of New Holland. Featuring the voices of Burton regulars Catherine O’Hara, Martin Landau and Winona Ryder, plus Martin Short and Charlie Tahan.
DIR/PROD Tim Burton; SCR John August, from an original idea by Tim Burton; PROD Allison Abbate. US, 2012, b&w/color, 87 min, 35mm. RATED PG
Fri, Oct 31, 5:10; Mon, Nov 3, 5:00; Wed, Nov 5, 5:00
A recently deceased couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) struggles to adjust to their new afterlives, not to mention the invasion of their beloved New England home, after a brash New York couple (Catherine O'Hara and Jeffrey Jones) and their teenage goth daughter (Winona Ryder) move in. Too nice to be effective at haunting their own house and scaring away the interlopers, the ghost couple turns to the ghoulish Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), a freelance "bio-exorcist" whose aggressive tactics and overreaching create an even bigger mess. Keaton is brilliant as the madcap and frightful Beetlejuice; director Tim Burton established himself as a quirky box office force with this left-field comedy hit.
DIR Tim Burton; SCR Michael McDowell, Warren Skaaren, from the story by McDowell and Larry Wilson; PROD Michael Bender, Richard Hashimoto, Larry Wilson. US, 1988, color, 92 min, 35mm. RATED PG
Fri, Oct 31, 7:00; Tue, Nov 4, 8:45; Thu, Nov 6, 9:30
Tim Burton returned to stop-motion animation with this macabre Victorian-era romance based on a Russian folktale. Johnny Depp is Victor, a bumbling shy guy betrothed to Victoria (Emily Watson) in an arranged marriage. Against all odds, the two actually fall in love, but Victor’s nerves get the better of him and he flees. Alone in the woods to practice his vows, he accidentally becomes engaged to the Corpse Bride (Helena Bonham Carter) and is dragged down into the underworld for their wedding. Caught between the two women, Victor must choose his one true love. Longtime Burton collaborator Danny Elfman provided the score and the film’s songs.
DIR/PROD Tim Burton; DIR Mike Johnson; SCR John August, Caroline Thompson, Pamela Pettler; PROD Allison Abbate. UK/US, 2005, color, 77 min, 35mm. RATED PG
Tim Burton's directorial debut was this mirthfully macabre stop-motion animation about a little boy named Vincent Malloy who, like his famous namesake, is drawn to the dark side of life. Narrated by Vincent Price. Price described the film as "the most gratifying thing that ever happened. It was immortality — better than a star on Hollywood Boulevard." DIR/SCR Tim Burton; PROD Rick Heinrichs. US, 1982, b&w, 6 min, 35mm. RATED G
Originally planned to be paired with a re-release of PINOCCHIO, this early effort by Tim Burton was deemed too scary for kids, leading the filmmaker to exit the studio and strike out on his own path. Suburban parents Ben and Susan Frankenstein (Daniel Stern and Shelley Duvall) lovingly support their young son Victor’s passion for home movies, often starring his bull terrier, Sparky. After Sparky is hit by a car and killed, the grieving Victor devises a plan to bring him back from the dead, inspired by a school science project dissecting a frog. But with the frisky pup now stitched up and running around, what will the neighbors think? DIR Tim Burton; SCR Leonard Ripps, from an original idea by Tim Burton; PROD Julie Hickson. US, 1984, color/b&w, 29 min, 35mm. RATED PG
Sat, Nov 1, 11:30 a.m.; Tue, Nov 4, 5:00; Thu, Nov 6, 5:00
Burton’s heartfelt and humorous tribute to Ed Wood, the inept director of schlocky, Z-grade horror and exploitation films, represents a career highlight for both the director and star Johnny Depp. Depp portrays Wood as a plucky can-do dynamo, devoted to his dream of making films and the de facto family of Hollywood has-beens and never-weres in his cast and crew. Martin Landau won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar® for his portrayal of a broken-down, drug-addicted but fiercely proud Bela Lugosi, still a great star in Wood’s eyes. Bill Murray, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette and Vincent D’Onofrio round out the excellent cast.
DIR/PROD Tim Burton; SCR Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, from the book “Nightmare of Ecstasy” by Rudolph Grey; PROD Denise Di Novi. US, 1994, b&w, 127 min, 35mm. RATED R
Mon, Nov 3, 9:00; Thu, Nov 6, 7:00