This gleefully debauched fairy tale, produced by the painstaking stop-action puppet process, stars Burton's muse and alter ego, Johnny Depp, as a timid, 19th-century schlub who falls under the spell of a dead girl (Helena Bonham Carter) with marriage on her mind. Middle-schoolers will likely delight in its candy-colored Halloween party of play-gore and mock-ghastly ghouls, but in just 78 eye-popping minutes, Burton also draws on everything from Jewish myth and Russian folklore to the cartoons of Charles Addams and the German expressionist films of the 1920s. The morbid visual treats on display here include the bride's rotting face, which has a beauty all its own, and a wiseass green maggot who pops out of her eye socket and announces: "If I hadn't just been sitting there, I would have thought you lost your mind." Featuring another collection of songs by Burton regular Danny Elfman, who also did Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The visual whimsy here is not just great fun, it's high art.
Director: Tim Burton and Mike Johnson
Writer: Pamela Pettler and Caroline Thompson
Producer: Allison Abbate and Tim Burton
Cast: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Watson, Tracey Ullman, Paul Whitehouse, Joanna Lumley, Albert Finney, Richard Grant, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough, Jane Horrocks, Enn Reitel, Deep Roy, Danny Elfman, Stephen Ballantyne and Lisa Kay