Tim Burton has a flair for the creepy.

The noted director has made a career out of his weird, sometimes spooky, sometimes downright skin-crawling aesthetic. His films repeat similar elements — dead, lifeless trees, dark worlds interspersed with garish, bright splashes of colors and carnival-esque music.

Ghosts, ghouls and the dead’s interactions with the living are frequently woven together. He brought to life the fun-loving evil of “Beetlejuice,” the spooky sweetness of the “Corpse Bride” and the specter of Large Marge.

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In a celebration of Burton’s wild imagination, the Historic Artcraft Theatre will host a mini-movie marathon April 7 and 8 featuring some of his most well-known work. From the campy sci-fi of “Mars Attacks!” to the festive fun of “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” moviegoers will get a taste of the paranormal and off-kilter.

“If you look at the lineup, it’s like a shotgun approach to Tim Burton,” said Dave Windisch, public relations director for the Artcraft. “Here are all of the things that he’s done and all of the styles that he’s worked in — stop-motion, Batman, all the other things he’s done.”

The Artcraft has made these types of mini-festivals a regular tradition since 2012, Windisch said. The theater has done events focusing on Alfred Hitchcock films, movie monsters and classic science fiction flicks.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a movie that many Artcraft patrons request each year, and with an expansive catalog of well-known and beloved movies, showing it as part of a Tim Burton festival was a natural fit, Windisch said.

“It didn’t feel right to take up a whole weekend with ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ in April,” he said. “We started thinking that Tim Burton has a lot of awesome films that are quirky and over the top, but all artfully designed.”

The mini-festival will feature six films, two being screened Friday, and the other four Saturday. People can buy passes to all six, or pick and choose which ones they want to watch.

A new feature to the Artcraft’s film festival’s will come from Gabriel Fadale. The Franklin College music professor will give a short presentation between “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” and “Beetlejuice,” focusing on how composer Danny Elfman has contributed to Burton’s style.

“He’s focusing on the music, and how Tim Burton has worked so closely with Elfman to create the whole picture of the film,” Windisch said. “Kind of like how ‘Star Wars’ has John Williams, he has Danny Elfman.”

Fadale only moved to Franklin last year, and as he was considering taking the job teaching woodwinds and music theory at the college, he did his own investigation of the community. One of the gems that immediately appealed to him was the Artcraft.

“When I saw they were having a Tim Burton festival, I got really excited. I’ve been looking forward to the festival since last July, and thought that this is such a great local asset. Wouldn’t it be neat to have some kind of a partnership with them?” he said.

Using samples from the soundtracks of the featured films, Fadale will try to illustrate how the combination of Burton’s visuals and Elfman’s music contributes to the wide appeal of these movies, Fadale said.

“When I hear Danny Elfman music, I know it’s Danny Elfman music. It has that sound. When I think of both guys, the word that comes to mind is ‘quirky.’ It’s (Elfman’s) quirky sense of melody and use of rhythms that come up,” he said. “I want to highlight how both of their aesthetics come together to make the incredible films Tim Burton produces.”

Tim Burton Film Festival

When: Friday and Saturday

Where: Historic Artcraft Theatre, 57 N. Main St., Franklin

Tickets: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, college students and military members, and $3 for children 12 and under; full festival passes are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, college students and military members, and $15 for children 12 and under.

Information: historicartcrafttheatre.org


“The Nightmare Before Christmas”

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Stars: Voices of Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara and Ken Page

What: Jack Skellington, the “Pumpkin King of Halloween Town,” is bored with his routine celebrating Halloween. When he discovers Christmas, he and the other denizens of Halloween Town decide to take over.


When: 10 p.m. Friday

Stars: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger

What: The movie reboot of the classic comic characters features Keaton’s Batman squaring off against Nicholson’s iconic portrayal of the Joker in the dark, dingy recesses of Gotham City.

“The Corpse Bride”

When: 3 p.m. Saturday

Stars: Voices of Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter

What: In this animated tale, Victor accidentally marries Emily, a bride who was murdered on her wedding night. He’s taken to the Land of the Dead, and works to get back to the living so he can marry his love, Victoria.

“Pee-wee’s Big Adventure”

When: 5 p.m. Saturday

Stars: Paul Reubens

What: Pee-wee Herman tries to get back his stolen bicycle, hitchhiking to Texas, encountering biker gangs, getting into a rodeo and pretending to be part of Milton Berle’s entourage.


When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Stars: Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder

What: When Barbara and Adam die and come back as ghosts, they find that an obnoxious big-city family is intent on moving in. They get to work trying to scare the family away, eventually enlisting devilish demon Beetlejuice to help chase them out.

“Mars Attacks!”

When: 10 p.m. Saturday

Stars: Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox

What: Murderous aliens from Mars … attack. The goofy depiction of interstellar invasion features a talented ensemble cast, and the movie parodies classic B-movie shtick.

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Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727.