Corpse Bride dir. Mike Johnson & Tim Burton (2005) Short for a feature film, refreshingly straightforward, and not weighed down too heavily by songs or Tim Burton’s trademark love of the macabre. The darkness in this case works with the story, and the Victorian era stop-motion character design is exquisitely ghoulish.
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas dir. Henry Selick (1993) Cue the skeleton: “If Christmas fills your heart with woe, a schmaltz-fest souring your December maybe you’ll prefer macabre stop-motion Halloween adventures (but) Disney brings the curse of singing, rhymes so trying, Walt’s will lurking Elfman’s lyrics don’t deliver Burton’s dark disturbance.”
Batman dir. Tim Burton (Warner Bros., 1989) By far the pick of the franchise pre-Nolan — albeit not as funky as Prince’s soundtrack would intimate — the original Batman soared, giving us Jack Nicholson as a whimsically understated over-the-top Joker and Michael Keaton as the most beguiling Bruce Wayne of all.