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50 Greatest Tim Burton Characters

The Inventor - Edward Scissorhands (1990)

The Character: Vincent Price plays the gifted inventor whose home is adored with elaborate and interesting contraptions.

His final and most complex project: putting together a humanlike boy is tragically left unfinished when he dies, leaving his creation with scissors in place of hands.

Tim Burton Touch: Burton wrote the role of the Inventor specifically for his horror film hero and friend Vincent Price.

In addition, the Inventor's look and wardrobe echos that of the style of Vincent Price's horror films which originally inspired the director.

Ed Bloom - Big Fish (2003)

The Character: On paper, the protagonist of Daniel Wallace's novel Big Fish: A Novel Of Mythic Proportions Ed Bloom, doesn't feel very much like a Tim Burton kind of person at all: he's charming, optimistic and very comfortable in his own skin.

However, he's also in possession of an intensely wild imagination which the director jumps on and utilises to tell his story.

Tim Burton Touch: It's the small details that make Bloom a Burton character, like his choice in an item to sell from door to door.

The skeletal Handi-Matic contraption would look very much at home in most Burton films.

Headless Horseman - Sleepy Hollow (1999)

The Character: Christopher Walken portrayed Burton's terrifying version of the Headless Hessian Horseman of Sleepy Hollow, who haunts the village galloping around decapitating residents late at night. With his creepy looks alone, he manages to induce fear despite having no proper dialogue in the film.

Tim Burton Touch: As with most things the director adapts, Burton gave Sleepy Hollow an even darker and more gothic feel.

When it came to the Horseman, Burton opted to give him sharpened yellow teeth and wild eyes to intensify the scares.

Vincent - Vincent (1982)

The Character: In one of Burton's earliest shorts, scraggily-haired and quite disturbed Vincent Malloy, a young boy obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe fantasises that he is actually Vincent Price and a tortured artist.

Tim Burton Touch: Vincent is an amalgamation of so many of Burton's cinematic influences; from 1920s German Expressionist films to horror film star Vincent Price.

The latter lent his voice to the film as the narrator.

Bonejangles - Corpse Bride (2005)

The Character: Bonejangles is the ridiculously fun, one-eyed, singing skeleton with an exaggerated Sammy Davis Jr. underbite who leads the exposition filled musical numbers in the land of the dead.

Tim Burton Touch: Not only does Bonejangles lead a skeleton band and dance troupe who use each other's bones as instruments (skeletons already being a favoured motif) but he is also lovingly voiced by long time collaborator and fellow magic maker Danny Elfman.

Stainboy - Stainboy (2000)

The Character: Making his first appearance in Burton's book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories , Stainboy is strange sort of superhero whose special power is the ability to literally stain things instantly.

In 2000, Stainboy graduated into a series of flash animation shorts depicting his adventures working for the Burbank police investigating social outcasts.

Tim Burton Touch: Stainboy is a freakish and grim character, yet a tragic humour shines through him. Sound familiar?

Sally - The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The Character: Shy ragdoll Sally is possibly the least monstrous creature in the whole of Halloween Town.

She enjoys examining nature, holding a candle for Jack Skellington and avoiding the clutches of her possessive creator Doctor Finkelstein.

Tim Burton Touch: Sweet-natured Sally is particularly charming when she is stitching her limbs back on - stitching and the sense of pulling oneself together being a motif which also cropped up with the director's interpretation of Catwoman in Batman Returns .

The Penguin - Batman Returns (1992)

The Character: Burton’s interpretation Batman villain The Penguin was much darker and grimier than the character’s initial origins. Scrapped was the image of an eloquent gentleman of crime and in his place was a gross, mutated, sleazy lunatic.

Tim Burton Touch: Although Burton maintained The Penguin’s passion for trick umbrellas and his trademark large top hat, he instigated several stark physical differences to reflect the darker sides of the villain.

This included the character’s new choice of wardrobe (a very Burton Victorianesque tuxedo), his more menacing deformed flipper hands and his dripping black bile covered teeth.

The end result looked like something out of The Cabinet Of Doctor Caligari - a key influence on the director.

Sweeney Todd - Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (2007)

The Character: When Burton adapted the 1979 musical depicting the English barber turned serial killer Sweeney Todd, he placed his own mark on the tale by not holding back on the bloodshed and macabre.

His antihero also under went a makeover: instead of a rough man who has aged without much grace, Burton cast a middle aged yet still aesthetically pleasing Johnny Depp - giving the character the eerie feel of a man who died in his youth.

Tim Burton Touch: Sweeney Todd is yet other character sporting wild, shaggy dark Burton hair.

What makes his do so special though is his lighting-white streak - a nod to the Burton-influencing Bride Of Frankenstein .

Ed Wood - Ed Wood (1994)

The Character: Burton's depiction of real life B-movie director Ed Wood highlights the characteristics the two directors appear to share. Wood is shown to be a misfit, as well as misunderstood and misperceived in his field, as Burton has also been at several points in his career.

Tim Burton Touch: Due to his fondness towards his subject, Burton admitted he could not help but present Wood in an exaggeratedly sympathetic way.

Harnessing an eccentric performance from regular collaborator Johnny Depp, he pushes to bring across the characteristic that divides him from Wood: the late director's optimistic spirit and enthusiasm in the face of failure.