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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Tim Burton on the benefits of horror

In the middle of Newsweek's otherwise unremarkable fluff interview with Tim Burton[*], the master of dark whimsy shares some of his insights into horror:

"Corpse Bride" is based on a folk tale? Fairy tales are basically horror stories. I always felt the purpose was to prepare children for the abstract of lifeā€”the things that are unknown. They give some kids nightmares. Yeah, but I remember waking up and crying at the sight of certain relatives. I had one aunt who had huge red lips and wore an incredible amount of perfume. It was like this strange alien coming at you.
I've been doing some reading about child development, and trying to force myself to remember what it was like - I mean really like - to have the vivid imagination of a child. I remember some amazingly intense (waking) episodes where my imagination got away with me, and I think Burton is on to something. The boundary between real and imaginary is a lot more permeable and mutable for a child, and fairy tales must in some way help them to deal with that instability. [*] I mean, really... "You and Johnny Depp are almost like a gay couple without being gay." I don't expect a lot of depth - or any depth, come to think of it - from a piece like this, but still... Feh. A wasted opportunity if you ask me.


Blogger HP said...

I have come to realize the relationship between horror and fairy tale is commutative -- now that I'm a grownup, I find that horror tales fulfill the same role for me that Grimm's (and Chuck Jones's) stories did when I was little.

I started listening to old-time radio horrors (Lights Out, Quiet Please, Suspense, Inner Sanctum, etc.) while lying in bed at night. It feels exactly like having bedtime stories read to you. Now I'm addicted to them.

That and those creepy Eurogothic movies from the sixties that I thought were so bo-o-o-o-ring when I was a kid watching Creature Features -- give me a castle, a madman, a buxom young woman in peril, and a comfy blanket, and all's right with the world.

(My verification word is "cgdildh." I believe Lovecraft once used this word to describe a particularly unctuous fungus.)

2/10/2006 05:49:00 PM  

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