Tim Burton is the first director I knew by name and actively sought out his films based upon nothing else. I was drawn in by the Gothic style and energy of his work. In 1995 at the age of 13 I must have watched Ed Wood at least a dozen times. A film my parents had two questions about; why does he like this movie so much? And why the hell is this rated R? To this day I am a Tim Burton apologist, while Big Eyes was a great step back to credibility I still feel incredibly burned by Dark Shadows and Alice in Wonderland.
Back in 1990 Burton was still a new and exciting name and his fourth film Edward Scissorhands was released. Grossing $56 million dollars on a budget of $20 Million the film was a financial success with a following that continues today. The most recent incarnation is IDW’s new series, an ongoing monthly title following Edward’s further adventures. In the original film Edward only wants to belong and be accepted despite his differences, he talks about needing to ‘fix’ himself, and is encouraged to by those around him. Being like everyone else would make life easier for him, yet he shouldn’t need to. He is the story’s protagonist and clearly not the villain. The story of Edward Scissorhands is a simple fable, with a clear message to accept the differences of other people. I watched this film recently, then overheard people freaking out about crossing dressing and Caitlyn Jenner.
Edward Scissorhands, despite being 25 years old is still relevant, because despite the simple message of the film, a sentiment we instill in our children, we do not live by this message. As a culture we are still quick to judge and quick to dismiss that which is different, simply because it is. There is a simple, enduring haunting beauty in Tim Burton’s film. Its thesis is so simple, and even those who don’t enjoy the film probably agree with it. Yet in the end life is like art and Edward is chased away every time.
M.R. Gott is a published horror author who is in no way self conscious about his height.