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Five Favourite Films With Tim Burton

Tim Burton

Top 5 Tim Burton's Films

At the time of writing this I'm currently sitting on the cold cement outside the Performance Center Alexanderhoehe (Iserlohn, Germany). It's 4.30am and I suspect about 4'C, although I don't think I want to know the actual temperature in case it's way worse. I've spent the past three hectic days covering Tim Burton: The Exhibition, a career retrospective of sorts for the legendary director aka one of my all time great inspirations. I've toured the exhibition before its opened, attended special events with Burton and interviewed him twice, but still, here I am queuing to be one of the first to have their The Art Of Tim Burton book signed.

Yes, I am a massive geek. But I also appreciate that a Goth visualist and universal creative genius like Tim Burton only comes around once. Suffice to say I have a huge amount of Burtonesque content coming in the next few days, so I suggest you stay posted for exclusives, insights and pics.

In the meantime, as regular readers of my blog would know, one of my favourite questions to ask anyone even mildly film-related is what movies are their favourites and what ones have inspired them. I sat in on a session with Burton on Tuesday night where he discussed just that. It was an extremely interesting peek into the directors mind and without further delay, here's a list of Tim Burton's five favourites along with the reasoning behind his choices.

Dracula

#5: Dracula A.D. (1972)

"Christopher Lee is not to proud of this, but it’s a favourite of mine. It was one of first films I saw; you could pay 50 cents and see three films back at a cinema in Burbank. I think this is where I saw it. I loved how it combined the `swingin’ 60s and 70s London with Hammer horror films. You become hypnotised by how crap they are.

When I was younger I went to Grauman's Chinese Theatre and it had a picture history of every film that has won an Academy Award. I went `well, I’ve never seen that or that’. You know, I wouldn’t really know a good movie if it bit me in the face. But in these kind of films there’s something that takes you back to a weird, pulpy fairytale. Some of their flaws are actually part of their strengths and I found that to be more powerful to me than Academy Award winning types of films. I enjoy mistakes sometimes."

The Wicker Man

#4: The Wicker Man (1973)

"It’s like a weird musical, a weird, twisted musical. That’s actually one of Chris’s favourite movies of his. It’s like a weird dream. It wasn’t very popular at the time, but it’s one that has grown on people over time. Growing up in Burbank was bit like this village, except we had no fishermen. It was quite nice, quite friendly, but there was always something bubbling under the surface."

The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad

#3: The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad (1974)

"Ray Harryhusen did the special-effects on this, he’s incredible. He’s an inspiration to me, I’m actually missing his 90th birthday in London at the moment. He came on the set of the Corpse Bride and was a real inspiration to everyone. After Clash Of The Titans he didn’t really do anything and then when I met him years later he’s still very intelligent, inquisitive and a real artist.

You can see the artist at work there, even in crappy science fiction films his acting of the characters was better than the real acting. It inspired me, that’s what I like about movies is the fantasy. Stop-motion is really exciting, not just in terms of the movement, but having the artists around working on it."

War Of The Gargantuas

#2: War Of The Gargantuas (1966)

"This is one of my favourites. It’s my 2-year-old daughter's favourite movie and she’s as obsessed with it as I was. She’s the green gargantuan and my son is the brown one. One of the other things I love about it is, unlike hardcore film people, I don’t mind dubbed movies. There’s something about the language and the way it comes across relating to the movie; it’s like weird poetry. I’ve always much preferred the dubbed version as opposed to the original Japanese movie. And plus, subtitles take about from the imagery.

I’ve always had a little bond to Japanese culture and they (their films) have a real heart to them in a weird way. There’s a lot of great dialogue. There’s another part when a man reports to the General and goes ‘there has been great damage to the city and over 100, 000 people have been killed’ and the General goes ‘that’s weird’. It’s quite surreal.

One of the things I love about monster movies, the monsters were always the most soulful characters. Usually because they were the main characters and misunderstood, and the actors were so bad the monsters ended up being the emotional focal point. That’s why I was always fascinated when people said `why do you like all those monster movies?’ The characters were great and at the end of every movie the characters would get killed and it was a very tragic, Shakespearean death that they had. I always found it quite moving in most monster movies."

The Omega Man
#1: The Omega Man (1971)

"The thing I like about this is the vampire characters are played by real people which is nice and they had a cool look to them. They all were wearing cool black robes with cool black glasses and they just looked cool.

I actually am quite obsessed by him, Charlton Heston is like the greatest bad actor of all time. I mean, just between that and Planet Of The Apes and also The Ten Commandments, which I know is like this big religious film, but I always thought it was the first zombie movie. He starts out as a real person and by the end of it he’s like this weird zombie.

(In The Omega Man) I also love the scenes where he’s talking to himself and then when he watches Woodstock and is quoting lines to himself. The family are also great, they’re probably my favourite characters. It’s one of those movies where the rough edges make you love it more. Also, he was the first person in my mind to kind of bring in the line, the kind of Arnold Schwarzenegger thing `I’ll be back’, the cheesy one-liners.

I’m sure everybody has got films where if they come on TV late at night or they’re on cable they’ll watch them. They’re part of your make-up, your DNA. They will just stay with you, for better or worse. I guess that’s why some people might say I’ve made some bad movies because bad movies I watch and enjoy."

Tim Burton: The Exhibition runs at the PCA (Performance Center Alexanderhoehe), along with a whole program of Burtonesque events.

Five Favourite Films With Tim Burton, 8 out of 10 (based on 398 votes)