Edward Scissorhands

  • Directors: Tim Burton
  • Producers: Tim Burton, Denise Di Novi
  • Writers: Screenplay, Caroline Thompson, Story, Tim Burton, Caroline Thompson
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
  • Actors: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Alan Arkin, Vincent Price

An elderly woman tells a story to her granddaughter of a man with scissors for hands named Edward, the creation of an inventor. The inventor was inspired to make an artificial man due to the anthropomorphic appearance of his other inventions. He raised Edward as his son and tutored him in various subjects, but died while in the act of offering a pair of hands to Edward. Many years later, local Avon saleswoman Peg Boggs, after failing to make profits in her suburban neighborhood, visits a Gothic mansion on a hill. There, she finds Edward, and convinces him to have her take him in. Edward befriends Peg’s young son, Kevin and, after an initial misstep, her teenage daughter Kim.

Peg’s neighbors become thrilled at Edward’s masterful skills at hedge clipping and haircutting. However, two of the townspeople, a religious fanatic named Esmeralda and Kim’s jock boyfriend Jim, dislike him immediately. Joyce, a “lonely housewife”, suggests that Edward open a haircutting salon with her. While examining a proposed site, she attempts to seduce him, confusing Edward, who escapes the room in a state of panic. Edward attempts to bring up the subject of her actions while the family is having dinner, but no one reacts to the news.

Kim heads to the mansion and reunites with Edward. Jim follows them and battles Edward, and is eventually killed by him. Kim professes her love for Edward and convinces the townspeople that Edward and Jim killed each other in the fight. All the neighbors return to their homes, while Joyce is seen guilty for making up the rumor about Edward. The elderly woman from the beginning reappears, as she finishes telling her granddaughter the story. It is revealed that Edward is still alive and “creating snow” from his ice sculptures, which fall upon the valley below. The elderly woman reveals to her granddaughter that she is, in fact, Kim. She refuses to visit Edward because she wants Edward to remember her the way she was in her youth.

Corpse Bride

  • Directors: Mike Johnson, Tim Burton
  • Producers: Tim Burton, Allison Abbate, Jeffrey Auerbach, Joe Ranft
  • Writers: John August, Caroline Thompson, Pamela Pettler, Tim Burton
  • Genres: Animation, Comedy, Fantasy, Music, Romance
  • Actors: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Watson, Tracey Ullman, Paul Whitehouse, Joanna Lumley, Albert Finney

In a Victorian era town, the Everglots, a family of recently bankrupt aristocrats, reluctantly agree to marry off their daughter Victoria to the timid Victor Van Dort, son of nouveau riche fishmongers. Despite their initial uneasiness about the situation, having never before met, Victor and Victoria hit it off immediately. Unfortunately, after his clumsiness ruins their wedding rehearsal (accidentally lighting Victoria’s mother’s dress on fire), Victor is banished until he can learn to recite his wedding vows properly. Victor wanders deep into the forest while practicing, eventually performing a flawless mock recital. In doing so, he places his bride’s wedding ring on a tree root resembling a human hand. However, it turns out it is a hand, which comes to life and grabs Victor by the arm. Emerging from the earth is Emily, the “Corpse Bride,” a beautiful undead girl in a moldy bridal gown who declares Victor her husband.

Emily takes Victor to the Land of the Dead, where Victor learns how she was jilted, murdered and robbed while trying to elope with a mysterious stranger, and had been waiting for her true love to return ever since. Victor tries to flee from Emily, who finds and attempts to bond with him, even reuniting him with his beloved and long-deceased dog as a wedding present. Dearly wishing to return to Victoria, his own true love, Victor tricks Emily into returning him to the Land of the Living under the pretense of introducing her to his still-living parents. Just as Victor reunites with Victoria, Emily discovers them and spirits Victor away back to the Land of the Dead. Feeling betrayed, Emily gets into an argument with Victor, climaxing with Victor telling her that their marriage was a mistake. Heartbroken, Emily leaves thinking Victor only loves Victoria for being alive while she herself is not.

After Victoria and Barkis’ wedding, the town erupts in panic as the dead arrive, but their fear is replaced with joy when the living residents recognize their loved ones among the dead; Barkis, however, is shocked to discover that Victoria is penniless. During the ceremony, Emily spots the heartbroken Victoria and realizes that Victor’s death will cheat her out of a happy life, calling off the ceremony before Victor drinks the poison and reunites him with Victoria. Barkis then crashes the party to reclaim Victoria, with Emily recognizing him as the man who jilted, murdered and robbed her. Victor engages Barkis in a sword fight (though Barkis is the only one with a sword while Victor is armed with a dinner fork). Before Barkis can land a killing strike, Emily takes the blow instead, completely unscathed. Upon being ordered to leave, Barkis proposes a mock-toast to Emily and drinks the wine intended for Victor; however, he does not realize it is poisoned until it’s too late and dies within seconds, the outraged dead proceeding to make hell out of his afterlife. Content that Victor can now live happily with Victoria, Emily finds herself at peace and ascends to the heavens in the form of hundreds of butterflies as Victor and Victoria watch on.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

  • Directors: Henry Selick
  • Producers: Tim Burton, Denise Di Novi, 2006 reissue, Don Hahn
  • Writers: Story, Tim Burton, Lyrics, Danny Elfman, Adaptation, Michael McDowell, Screenplay, Caroline Thompson
  • Genres: Animation, Family, Fantasy, Musical
  • Actors: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O Hara, William Hickey, Glen Shadix, Ken Page

“Halloween Town” is a dream world filled with citizens such as deformed monsters, ghosts, ghouls, goblins, vampires, werewolves, and witches. Jack Skellington (“The Pumpkin King”) leads them in a frightful celebration every Halloween, but he has grown tired of the same routine year after year. Wandering in the forest outside the town center, he accidentally opens a portal to “Christmas Town”. Impressed by the feeling and style of Christmas, Jack presents his findings and his (somewhat limited) understanding of the holiday to the Halloween Town residents. They fail to grasp his meaning and compare everything he says to their idea of Halloween. He reluctantly decides to play along and announces that they will take over Christmas.

Jack’s obsession with Christmas leads him to usurp the role of Santa Claus. Every resident is assigned a task, while Sally, a rag doll woman who is created by the town’s mad scientist, begins to feel a romantic attraction towards Jack. However, she alone fears that his plans will become disastrous. Jack assigns Lock, Shock, and Barrel, a trio of mischievous children, to abduct Santa and bring him back to Halloween Town. Against Jack’s wishes and largely for their amusement, the trio deliver Santa to Oogie Boogie, a gambling-addict bogeyman who plots to play a game with Santa’s life as the stake.

Meanwhile, Sally attempts to free Santa but is captured by Oogie. Jack slips into the lair and frees them, then confronts Oogie and unravels his outer covering to spill out all the bugs that live inside him. With Oogie gone, Santa reprimands Jack before setting off to deliver the right presents to the world’s children. He makes snow fall over Halloween Town to show that there are no hard feelings between himself and Jack; the townspeople are confused by the snow at first, but soon begin to play happily in it. Jack reveals that he is attracted to Sally just as she is to him, and they kiss under the full moon in the cemetery.

City of Ember

  • Directors: Gil Kenan
  • Producers: Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman
  • Writers: Jeanne Duprau, Caroline Thompson
  • Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Bill Murray, Saoirse Ronan, Harry Treadaway, Mackenzie Crook

The movie introduction explains that the City of Ember is a fully-contained city built underground to house a human community for 200 years as a shelter from an unspecified disaster. A box has been provided which automatically opens after 200 years, and contains a tool and instructions for returning to the surface. Mayors of Ember keep the box a secret and only disclose its existence to their successors in office. When a mayor suddenly dies while still in office, the box is put in a closet in Lina’s house and unnoticed by anyone when it automatically opens as designed.

Some decades later Ember’s food supplies are becoming depleted and blackouts are increasingly frequent and longer-lasting, as the hydroelectric generator that powers the city has deteriorated. Much of the knowledge and technology from the city’s near-mythic Builders and earlier generations has been lost.

Two young friends, Lina Mayfleet (Saoirse Ronan) and Doon Harrow (Harry Treadaway) are graduating from school. Lina is assigned to work in the Pipeworks of the hydroelectric generator, but trades jobs with Doon, who does not like his assignment to work as messenger. Lina witnesses the city’s decay as she relays messages, and Doon learns that the Pipeworks are held together with increasing amounts of patchwork. Nobody knows in detail how any of the city’s systems work. After a major malfunction of the generator during the city’s annual celebration, Lina and Doon conclude that Ember is in danger of imminent collapse. With the city’s adult population either largely ignorant of their plight or cowed by the corrupt Mayor Cole (Bill Murray), Lina and Doon search for the clues left by the Builders showing the citizens of Ember how to save themselves.

Indeed, Lina has the box in her home and has begun to understand its importance. While the mayor eats food, he accuses her that he steals food from Ember. Lina jumps the table stealing the second card while the blackouts occur. The pair escapes and tries to find their way out of the city with the instructions left in the box by the Builders, and receive unexpected assistance from Doon’s elderly mentor Sul (Martin Landau). Meanwhile, Mayor Cole goes to his bunker and he died by a giant star-nosed mole. Arriving at the surface they are initially disappointed that it is dark there as well, as described in Ember’s folklore, but when the sun rises they discover that light has returned to the skies and the planet has recovered. They also see through a hole the lights of Ember deep below the surface and realize they had lived in an underground city. Lina and Doon drop a message tied to a rock through the hole down to Ember telling the other citizens how to leave the city, where it is found by Loris Harrow (Tim Robbins), Doon’s father and one of the few adults aware of the city’s serious situation.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

  • Directors: Henry Selick
  • Producers: Tim Burton, Denise Di Novi, 2006 reissue, Don Hahn
  • Writers: Story, Tim Burton, Lyrics, Danny Elfman, Adaptation, Michael McDowell, Screenplay, Caroline Thompson
  • Genres: Animation, Family, Fantasy, Musical
  • Actors: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O Hara, William Hickey, Glen Shadix, Ken Page

“Halloween Town” is a dream world filled with citizens such as deformed monsters, ghosts, ghouls, goblins, vampires, werewolves, and witches. Jack Skellington (“The Pumpkin King”) leads them in a frightful celebration every Halloween, but he has grown tired of the same routine year after year. Wandering in the forest outside the town center, he accidentally opens a portal to “Christmas Town”. Impressed by the feeling and style of Christmas, Jack presents his findings and his (somewhat limited) understanding of the holiday to the Halloween Town residents. They fail to grasp his meaning and compare everything he says to their idea of Halloween. He reluctantly decides to play along and announces that they will take over Christmas.

Jack’s obsession with Christmas leads him to usurp the role of Santa Claus. Every resident is assigned a task, while Sally, a rag doll woman who is created by the town’s mad scientist, begins to feel a romantic attraction towards Jack. However, she alone fears that his plans will become disastrous. Jack assigns Lock, Shock, and Barrel, a trio of mischievous children, to abduct Santa and bring him back to Halloween Town. Against Jack’s wishes and largely for their amusement, the trio deliver Santa to Oogie Boogie, a gambling-addict bogeyman who plots to play a game with Santa’s life as the stake.

Meanwhile, Sally attempts to free Santa but is captured by Oogie. Jack slips into the lair and frees them, then confronts Oogie and unravels his outer covering to spill out all the bugs that live inside him. With Oogie gone, Santa reprimands Jack before setting off to deliver the right presents to the world’s children. He makes snow fall over Halloween Town to show that there are no hard feelings between himself and Jack; the townspeople are confused by the snow at first, but soon begin to play happily in it. Jack reveals that he is attracted to Sally just as she is to him, and they kiss under the full moon in the cemetery.

The Addams Family

  • Directors: Barry Sonnenfeld
  • Producers: Scott Rudin
  • Writers: Charles Addams, Caroline Thompson, Larry Wilson
  • Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, Dan Hedaya, Elizabeth Wilson, Christina Ricci, Jimmy Workman, Carel Struycken, Judith Malina

The story begins as Gomez (Raúl Juliá) mentions to his lawyer, Tully Alford (Dan Hedaya), that he has not spoken to his brother Fester since a quarrel twenty-five years ago. Morticia (Anjelica Huston) invites Tully and his wife to a séance in which they will attempt to contact the spirit of Fester, believed to be lost in the Bermuda Triangle all of this time. Tully gets a surprise visit at his office from loan shark Abigail Craven (Elizabeth Wilson), and her son Gordon (Christopher Lloyd), who have come to collect what he owes them. Gordon harasses Tully until he discovers the gold doubloons with which Gomez has paid the monthly expenses. Tully notices that Gordon appears similar to Fester, and proposes that Gordon pose as Fester to infiltrate the Addams’ vault where the family fortune is kept.

At the séance, the Addamses attempt to contact Fester’s spirit, demanding he knock three times. As they ask, they hear three knocks at the door. They answer it to find Gordon (as Fester with amnesia) and Abigail (posing as a psychiatrist named Dr. Greta Pinder-Schloss). Gomez is initially overjoyed, but his elation quickly turns to suspicion as Fester fails to remember key events from their childhood. Fester attempts to break into the vault but is foiled by several treacherous booby traps, such as rusty chains, a toxic underground lake, and a piranha tank.

Seven months later, all is well with the family as they are throwing a Halloween party. Fester had vanished in the Bermuda Triangle and developed amnesia, and Abigail made him think he was her son so that he would assist in her criminal schemes; the book’s lightning strike restored his memory. As everyone rushes out to the graveyard for a rousing game of “Wake the Dead,” Gomez ponders what could possibly make life better. Morticia reveals she is pregnant, and the two share a passionate kiss.