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My Top 5 Favorite Romantic Tim Burton Couples

sleepy hollow tim burton
Sleepy Hollow. Photo: Paramount Pictures

Tim Burton is known for effectively mixing the horror with the romance to create some entertaining movies. Though he uses many common tropes for his romance stories and often uses the same players, they are nevertheless enjoyable and fun to watch. Sometimes the characters are not the most complex but I personally have always found them endearing and the characters who I am supposed to despise, I greatly enjoy despising.

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Sweeney Todd. Photo: DreamWorks Pictures & Warner Bros.

Please keep in mind this is my personal opinion. If you agree or disagree, that is wonderful! If you think there are couples that should be on the list and are not, then by all means sound off in the comments.

So without further ado, here are my personal favorite couples from Tim Burton films.

#5 Adam & Barbara from Beetlejuice

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Adam & Barbara from Beetlejuice. Photo: Geffen Company

Though we see their relationship at a much later stage than most romances and their story really begins at the end, the relationship between these dead newlyweds is nevertheless heartwarming and enjoyable to watch. Adam is a nice guy who wants to, and usually does, get along with everyone and live a peaceful life. He is a quiet person, with realistic, miniature sculpting as his preferred hobby. Before his death, he was creating a miniature model of his hometown.

Barbara is a woman who enjoys simple pleasures in life. Like her husband, she is introverted and would rather spend her free time at home and expressing her creativity through redecoration of her new home. Still, she is not above experiencing cabin fever after she and her husband die as they are unable to ever leave their house; with the exception of traversing to the Afterlife. She also becomes irritated that she can no longer clean their home like she once did when they were alive. It is revealed that Barbara tried and failed to have a baby when she was alive and this explains why even after her death, she still has a great fondness for children. It also explains why she is able to develop a motherly bond with Lydia, whose own mother barely knows her or gives her any attention.

Adam and Barbara have a warm familiarity with each other that I really like. They give each other sweet affection without being over the top or too syrupy. They know each other well and know just what to say or do to calm each other down when upset. After they realize they are dead, instead of panicking, Barbra reacts with confusion, “I don’t get it, I mean where are the other dead people in the world?” Adam turns the tragedy into something beautiful. He turns to Barbara and says, “Maybe this is heaven.” They are not the scariest of ghosts and their attempts to be scary are funny to watch. All they want is their house back so they spend their afterlife together in peace. In my opinion, it was enjoyable to watch them in their afterlife adventure with the infamous Beetlejuice.

#4 Victor & Victoria from Corpse Bride

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Victor & Victoria from Corpse Bride. Photo: Warner Bros

Personally, I have always preferred Victor and Victoria together because of how compatible they are and how they can relate to each other in terms of their upbringing. They both come from affluent families in which they were neglected and not shown enough love (if their passive natures and feelings of loneliness at the beginning of the movie are anything to go by). They are used by their parents to help their financial and social status, which is something that was not uncommon during the time period of the film. Victor and Victoria do what is expected of them, rarely standing up for themselves. They are both artistic and use their abilities to express themselves in subtle ways.

There is real compatibility between them that is illustrated during their wedding rehearsal. Victor is a nervous wreck and has continuously made mistakes when reciting his vows. Victoria functions as the backbone Victor needs. She is the only person in the room who show him patience, kindness and even gives him encouragement to keep trying. She even kindly lights his candle for him when he cannot light it on his own. I think she can be the one to help him develop confidence and stand up for himself. Victor shows Victoria respect and acceptance of her desires and dreams, which is something that was not too common for men to do during the time period. Victor can give her encouragement with the new things she would like to try, such as playing the piano.

Victor and Victoria can grow out of their shyness and learn to believe in themselves and help each other develop into stronger people than what they would have been if they never met. We get to see a little of this in the film when Victoria defies her parents for the first time in her life and Victor gets into a physical fight in order to save Victoria. They may not be the most popular pairing but to me, they are certainly worthy to be on this list.

#3 Edward & Kim from Edward Scissorhands

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Edward & Kim from Edward Scissorhands. Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Considering my utter adoration for Beauty and the Beast and stories that take inspiration and influence from it, it is no surprise that after I saw this movie for the first time, I ended up liking this couple as much as I do. Edward is full of child-like innocence and wonder. As a result of his sheltered upbringing, he is not the most socially aware. He is shy and quiet but still very kind to all he meets. Thanks to his scissor hands, he has an incredible artistic ability and can sculpt things out of shrubs, ice, and even hair. He creates what brings him joy and others eventually see that joy, including Kim.

The eldest child of Peg (the woman who takes Edward in), Kim is a kind, intelligent high school girl on the cheerleading squad. Though she is frightened by Edward when she first meets him, who wouldn’t be as he was sleeping in her bed, she eventually warms up to him. It is through his art she sees his beauty and personality shine through. During the course of the movie, she sees how kind and gentle he is and realizes how he will pretty much do anything she asks of him. She accepts him and defends him when other people in her town, including some of her peers, are quick to spread rumors and say harsh things about him.

Through Edward simply being himself, Kim’s eyes become opened to the hypocrisy, selfishness and prejudice of the townspeople, including her ex-boyfriend. Knowing Edward and truly loving him, Kim grows as a person and, to me, becomes and even more likable character. Even years after her adventure, a part of Kim’s heart will always belong to Edward who still makes ice sculptures of her up on the hill. They are a tragic and lovely couple who have stayed with me since I saw them for the first time when I was 13. I am pretty sure they will not leave my memory anytime soon.

#2 Ichabod Crane & Katrina from Sleepy Hollow

Photo: Paramount Pictures
Ichabod Crane & Katrina from Sleepy Hollow. Photo: Paramount Pictures

Tim Burton takes this classic horror story and makes it his own. In this version of the story, Ichabod Crane is an eccentric and socially awkward investigator who wants to modernize the legal system with improved methods of investigation and justice. Unlike his book counterpart who is a man of superstition, this film version of the character is a man of reason and rejects Church doctrine and intolerance. Interestingly, despite his profession, he does not have a strong stomach for blood, performing autopsies or examining wounds. He often ends up fainting or letting out small whimpers of distress like that of a young child. He is still dealing with his childhood trauma of his mother, who is implied to be a witch, being murdered by his father, who was part of the Church and hid “behind a mask of righteousness.”

Katrina is the kind and beautiful daughter of a wealthy burgher. She is innocent and pure with an accepting and open-minded nature. She defies the strict societal gender roles of her time by reading and helping Ichabod solve the murders. She is also a witch and uses her powers to help others. It is not just her innocence and intelligence that draws Ichabod to her, it is also the similarities he sees between her and his beloved mother.

Their developing love is a slow burn but filled with stolen glances and light touches that say so much more than words ever could. They have their fair share of obstacles to overcome throughout the movie, but they do it together and their bond strengthens ever more because of it. Personally, I enjoyed watching their romance bloom alongside the gory horror of decapitations and I felt that it was just the right balance of sweet and darkness.

#1 Sally & Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas

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Sally & Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Photo: Geffen Company

It is a testament to Tim Burton’s flair for the ghoulish that he is able to create enthralling romantic leads out of a walking skeleton and a living ragdoll. In the film, their romance blooms over the course of an especially busy holiday season. I do not think I can say too much about this couple that has not already been said. They are a popular couple and loved by many people. I am no different in this regard.

I have always loved Jack; he is the best at what he does and is very much an (undead) gentleman. He is graceful, patient, determined and when he puts his mind to something, snow will fall in the desert before he changes his mind. Jack never loses his temper or calm and can usually be counted upon to do what is in everyone’s best interest. Oftentimes his logic is sound, however, his reasoning can be brought into question. I also really enjoy Sally; she is kind and clever but also shy and lonely. She has talents in cooking, sewing and potion making. Like the other females in the town, Sally respects and admires Jack. Unlike the other females in the town, she does so from afar but is always willing to help him when he needs her talents.

I like how their situations are different yet very much the same. He is the town hero and celebrity. She is a slave in her own home. Both of them feel trapped and are connected by the desire for something more in their lives. There is something inherently endearing about Sally’s love for the oblivious Jack. In my opinion, this makes their eventual coupling all the more satisfying. Danny Elfman’s quirky, moving, and emotional songs do nothing but heighten the experience and allow the characters to express their innermost feelings when words fail them. They are a lovely pairing from a truly memorable film.

Who are your favorite Tim Burton couples? Are there any couples I left out? Let me know in the comments below!

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By on October 31st, 2015

About Moriah Burbank

Moriah was born and raised in the state of Alabama, with its blistering summers and winters with no snow. In childhood, she had great difficulty learning how to read and write due to her learning disability. This developed into an eventual hatred of reading and writing that lasted for a few years. With the tireless and dedicated work of her mother, who was homeschooling her at the time, and the help of a tutoring center Moriah was eventually able to learn how to read and write and her enjoyment of the activities only grew with the discovery of audio books. It was with a great irony that by the time she grew into teenage hood and young adulthood she had developed a respect and love for reading and writing, now even reading and writing for her own enjoyment and relaxation. Moriah is currently studying at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, earning her Doctorate in Psychology.

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