Tim Burton is known for his strange films. While the genre
he usually works in, which lies somewhere in between horror
, is not unique -- Ed Wood
(the subject of one of Burton's own films) invented the genre with his own incredibly poor films, director Sam Raimi
pioneered making such films intentionally with his Evil Dead
movies, and Peter Jackson
's big claim to fame (before Lord of the Rings
anyway) was Dead Alive
, in which a priest "kicks ass for the lord" -- while the genre is not unique, Burton's approach to it is.
Rather than juxtaposing humor with horror to make each more so in relation to the other, as most directors in the genre do, Burton unifies humor and horror along their unified element: the strange. Both humor and horror arise, most commonly, when we see something that is completely unexpected in the normal world around us.
With his films, such as Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice, Burton places strange and horrific elements into the everyday world around us. However, he also accentuates the strangeness of what we consider normal, making everything around wonderful and terrible at the same time. The topiary sculptures that Edward makes in the suburban california town he comes to live in look in place, and yet they are also larger than life -- reality and that which exists outside of the normal reality coexist here in their oddity to one another, and the conjunction is both delightful and disturbing. The same can be seen in Beetlejuice where the main characters, who are ghosts, are comparatively normal next to the people who come to live in their house, whose sculptures and architecture are as strange and horrific as anything in the underworld scenes.