Nightmare Fuel: Tim Burton
So it begins.
This is a man
who virtually defined the Nightmare Fuel trope. Just some sketches from his exhibit in New York City at the Museum of Modern Art alone is more than enough to give any child (and quite a few grown ups) reoccurring nightmares.
Pee-wee's Big Adventure
Oyster Boy and Other Stories
- After Willy Wonka's boat ride, the Trope Maker of Nightmare Fuel is our old friend Large Marge. And the evil clown dream sequence was rough going as well.
- See also the sequence where Pee Wee's bike is initially stolen; the formerly smiling, cheery mechanical clown he'd shackled his bike to suddenly adopts a pretty terrifying leer and a cackle sounds off.
- The animation style used for Large Marge would later be used for several scenes in Beetlejuice.
- The whole movie has an indefinable creepy vibe to it, really, even the non-scary scenes. Pee Wee's (and Francis') Man Child nature is can really be unnerving more than amusing. And yeah, Danny Elfman's Circus of Fear BGM ramped things up.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- This little book is extremely creepy even by Burton's standards. It features such stories as one about a girl who turns into a bed, a hideous penguin boy, and a pin-cushion queen.
- In the poem Melancholy Death Of Oyster Boy , the title character gets eaten by his own father at the end. As an aphrodisiac!
- Then there's Mummmy Boy. At the very end of the poem he's walking in the park with his mummufied canine companion, unfortunately it's on the exact same day as a Mexican Girl's birthday party. The Mexican Girl and the other kids mistake him for a pinata and smash him with their sticks and scarab beetles and other things come out from inside of him.
- Incidentally, Burton showed Danny DeVito the drawing of Jimmy the Hideous Penguin Boy to give the actor an idea of how the Penguin's character would be approached when they were getting ready to shoot Batman Returns...
- The Pincushion Queen.
- Most, if not all, of the drawings qualify for this trope to some degree.
- The scene with the singing ventriloquist-dummy-style animatronics, particularly at the end when the entire scene catches fire and the dummies melt, with a disturbing closeup of the eyes falling out of one. This being Burton, it was probably all intentional.
- For many, the fact that the dolls are sent to a doll hospital "Burn Ward", which was made recently, doesn't make it any better.
Alice in Wonderland
- Corpse Bride. Truly, stop-motion animation is the creepiest medium ever, and there's something unnerving about that cheery "We all pass away" song.
- After Emily transforms into a cloud of moths, moving on at last, it leaves you wondering "Why doesn't that happen to everyone? Are they stuck in that nightmarish town of the dead forever?"
- The fact that the rest of the town gets to stay in their happy afterlife, but what happens to Emily? She's just gone.
- "New arrival..."
- The scene, in silouhette, where Lord Barkis looms over Emily, and she screams... "And then, baby, everything went black..."
- Lord Barkis grabbing Victoria and violently shaking her.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
- Just the new promotional pics from his upcoming adaptation of Alice in Wonderland can give one the shivers.
- Johnny Depp can really make himself look awesomely creepy◊. Take his role as Willy Wonka for example...
- That Mad Hatter looks as though he stares into your soul and watches you. The eyes, the eyelashes...
- The trailer goes to show that no matter what version of the story he's in, the Cheshire Cat was, is and always will be Nightmare Fuel. GAH!◊ More Teeth than the Osmond Family, indeed.
- Tweedledum and Tweedledee. They're like medicine balls, except that everything about them is forced into that shape. And the EYES! Look them up on Uncanny Valley, if you dare.
- "To survive this place. You need to be mad... as a hatter!"
- The Red Queen's castle. The moat is filled. With. BLOOD AND HEADS.◊ At one point, shrunken Alice has to climb over and jump from head to head to get across the moat. And you don't even realize that they're heads at first. Apparently, one of the heads was Tim Burton's.
- Johnny Depp's head-spinning dance at the end.
- The fate of the Red Queen: the White Queen decrees that she be ignored until the end of time. Humans are social creatures — being intentionally deprived of contact is truly A Fate Worse Than Death.
- The fact that the White queen was always the pretty one and preferred over her sister, and STILL won over her, being loved by everyone and getting her kingdom and throne back, while nobody really loved the Red Queen, partially because of her large head, unfortunate personality and perfect little sister. Moral of the story, kids- be pretty and don't even kill a mosquito, or you will be deprived of your rightful possessions and be unloved. Yowch.
- The White Queen herself: has sworn "not to harm any living thing", but has no trouble giving the Vorpal Sword to Alice so she can harm living things. Also had no problem with using coins from a dead man's pocket, severed fingers, urine, and spit to make a potion. Also, that strange almost-black lipstick on the almost-paper-white face; one might expect her to do a Face-Heel Turn at the end and be the villain the whole time.
- Anything involving the Knave and Alice is this. Especially when, after she's been identified as Alice, he mentions remembering her last visit as a tyke. This is the very next day after he cornered her in a hallway with a forceful and blatantly sexual advance.
- The scene where Jack Napier gets his first look at his new makeover, the creepy atmosphere is only compounded when Jack Napier begins cackling after it seemed like he began sobbing, and then the lightbulb is smashed and we don't get a clear look at Jack's disfigurement. The final laugh is just the icing on the nightmare cake...
- The scene where Vicky splashes off the Joker's fleshy makeup. He covers his face and pops back up laughing and looks like a giant cackling skull with the skin torn right off!
- One particular scene that can creep people out is when the Joker takes one of his men by the hand and electrocutes him to death with a buzzer eventually causing the skin to melt off his face.
- There's Burton's early film ''Vincent''. The ending of Vincent has the titular character all alone in his room faking his death and reciting the last lines from the Raven. Let's ''hope'' he was faking....
- Then there's Frankenweenie.
- Burton's movie Big Fish is much less scary than his other films, but the scenes in Spectre were just creepy. The scene where the little girl stole the protagonist's shoes and hung them on the clothesline ...the town seemed way too perfect, like there had to be a catch.
- There is a catch. YOU CAN NEVER LEAVE.
- Mars Attacks!. The Martians kill people For the Evulz. Have fun!
- Something about those Martians is really freaky. They were obviously intended to be goofy and silly more then anything, but something between the way their faces look, those "ACK ACK!" noises they make, and the way they're just unstoppable sends a chill up the spine every time. You try to Nuke them, they just turn it into a bong. Further, they seem to just show up everywhere, without warning. You could turn the light on, and there it is, and it's all you see before it shoots you.
- Hansel and Gretel, a short that was shown only once on Disney Channel, on Halloween 1983. There's a very creepy-looking Gingerbread Man. Let's just say its eye meets a candy cane. Here are some◊ pictures◊ of the little freak.
- A Real Life example would be his stories about his brief stint at Disney animating The Fox and the Hound, which involve graphic scenes of animalistic outbursts and gory self-mutilation. Of corse, he often concludes this with "You try drawing a cute fox with Sandy Duncan's voice for two years!!"