Back in the 80s Disney weren’t good friends with Tim Burton. The aspiring and uniquely visual filmmaker’s dark and twisted worlds were a little too much for the house of mouse.
The famous story tells of Burton being given the boot after the creation of the original Frankenweenie short, which they saw as macabre and morose. It is of course hugely ironic that almost 30 years later it was they who went to him to ask if he would remake his dog reanimation…animation as a full length feature where he was allowed full creative control.
Nowadays we have grown used to Burton’s dark side. We have come to love it and revere it – some people now mocking it as passé and stale. But imagine getting your first glimpse of that style; being a studio exec handed one of Burton’s visions when nothing else was anything close to the insanity. With that in mind you can kind of understand their concerns.
But this isn’t about Frankenweenie. This is about a long forgotten live action/stop motion mash-up adaptation of Hansel and Gretel, directed by Burton in 1982. This first real attempt at a film, with a zero budget, shows all the signature trappings of a Burton flick. It’s also like a really harrowing version of a Sesame Street cutaway video.
Congratulations if you managed to watch all of that without having to pause on at least 3 occasions for a wtf break. There is some seriously odd stuff going on there, even by the standard of today’s long accepted Burton quirks.
I’m a particular fan of the party trumpet blowing lizard at 2:06 and the terrifying clown faced puppet at 25:32. It must have caused quite a stir back in the days of Family Ties and The Gary Coleman Show.
More power to Mr Burton for breaking the mould and then carving his own, even in the face of Disney rejection.