10 Things You’ll See in Almost Every Tim Burton Movie

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We all know that Tim Burton loves pancake white makeup, black eyes, spirals and stripes — but those are not the only things he loves to feature over and over again!

You’ll see the same handful of characters, plot devices, and even facial expressions over and over again, throughout Tim Burton’s films. We’ve rounded up some common Tim Burton tropes and sorted them into categories, for your next drinking game.

Here are 10 things that turn up in almost every Tim Burton movie.

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10) The Pudgy Weasel
Never trust a smiling face with a bit of weight in a Burton movie.
Otho – Beetlejuice
Beadle – Sweeney Todd
Limbo – Planet of the Apes
Tweedledee / Tweedledum – Alice in Wonderland
Augustus Gloop – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Francis Buxton – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
Finis Everglot – The Corpse Bride
The Penguin – Batman Returns

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9) The Flashback
What better way to explain your character’s pain, than with a flashback!
Emily sings about her nasty death – The Corpse Bride
Ichabod Crane dreams of his busty mother’s death – Sleepy Hollow
Willy Wonka has hilarious flashbacks to his sad candy-free past – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The entire movie Big Fish is one flashback after the other
Sweeney Todd remembers his flaxen-haired family before they were taken away from him – Sweeney Todd
Bruce Wayne dreams of his parents – Batman
Alice remembers her Wonderland past and the Hatter his Wonderland war – Alice in Wonderland

8) The Same Actors
Burton loves to dip from the same well all the time. While some actors (Winona Ryder) have appeared in two or three Burton movies, these guys pop up over, and over again.
Johnny Depp
Helena Bonham-Carter
Christopher Lee
Jeffrey Jones

7) The Monster
The thing that goes bump in the night. Hardly ever the main character or real menace, these monsters are built to threaten, propel or set boundaries for Burton’s cast. But each one is pretty spectacular.
Oogie Boogie – The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Headless Horseman – Sleepy Hollow
Sand Worm – Beetlejuice
Jabberwocky – Alice In Wonderland

6) The Impossibly Kind Parent Figure
Someone needs a hug! The Burton world is stuffed with insanely wonderful parent figures. That’s not to say all the other parents are bad, but for each absentee father or neurotic artist, there’s usually one elderly character ready to pick up the pieces and tuck you into a soft waterbed.
The Inventor – Edward Scissorhands
Peg/Bill – Edward Scissorhands
Barbara/Adam – Beetlejuice
Karubi – Planet of the Apes
Alfred – Batman/ Batman Returns
Elder Gutknecht – Corpse Bride
Grandpa Joe (really the whole Bucket family) – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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5) The Witch
Whether misunderstood or just no good, Burton loves to throw in a sassy witch to stir the pot. Each one of these ladies is an intimidating creature on their own. With great powers that they use to get what they want.
Angelique Bouchard – Dark Shadows
Lady Van Tassel – Sleepy Hollow
The Witch – Big Fish
Mrs. Lovett – Sweeney Todd
The Red Queen – Alice in Wonderland
Catwoman – Batman Returns

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4) Nightmare Face
Horrific, bug-eyed scare jumps that make the audience jump out of their chairs. You never actually get to see Michael Keaton’s “nightmare face” in Beetlejuice, but there are plenty more to pick from in that movie.
Large Marge – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
Max Shreck’s Kiss with Catwoman – Batman Returns
The bug-eyed witch in the woods – Sleepy Hollow
Barbara rips off her face! – Beetlejuice
The horrific Smilex transformation in Batman, which is also the name of the toothpaste company Charlie’s father works for in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!

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3) The Punky Rebellious Young Lady
The misunderstood ladies trapped in a world of their own. These rebels are often the voice of reason in Burton’s mad, mad world.
Lydia Deetz – Beetlejuice
Ari – Planet of the Apes
Carolyn Stoddard – Dark Shadows
Alice – Alice in Wonderland
Sally – The Nightmare Before Christmas
Emily – Corpse Bride

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2) The Blonde Ingenue
The other side of the lady coin in Burton’s world. This director’s obsession with the innocent, blonde ingenue is so strong he’s be-wigged countless brunettes to get that perfect bleached from all sins look. In fact Dark Shadows might be the first Burton movie where the innocent love interest isn’t blonde (Corpse Bride doesn’t count, since Victoria’s hair was some sort of light grey).
Sandra Bloom – Big Fish
Katrina Van Tassel – Sleepy Hollow
Kim – Edward Scissorhands
Johanna – Sweeney Todd
Vicki Vale – Batman
Daena – Planet of the Apes
The White Queen – Alice In Wonderland

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1) The Skittish Outcast
Burton has built his entire career on the twitchy outcast.
Edward Scissorhands – Edward Scissorhands
Beetlejuice & Lydia – Beetlejuice
Pee Wee – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
Mad Hatter – Alice in Wonderland
Ichabod Crane – Sleepy Hollow
Willy Wonka – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Ed Wood – Ed Wood
Sweeney Todd – Sweeney Todd
Barnabas Collins – Dark Shadows

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