To What Extent Can Tim Burton’s ‘The Corpse Bride’ Be Seen As A Modern Gothic Story? ‘The Corpse Bride’ is a stop-motion-pro picture film, set in a Victorian European village. The director, Tim Burton created a film that is built upon several varying genres and the movie has fundamental ‘gothic’ themes. The Corpse Bride can be classified as a ‘gothic’ genre, but there are several elements of the film that do not fit into the conventions of a ‘gothic’ motion film. In The Corpse Bride the basic underlying theme is death.
Death is an important attribute to the film because it links the two worlds together, and it also creates a ‘gothic’ tone which fits in with the story. Other significant themes are marriage and romance, a sense of as misery and dread, well as a distressed heroine. All of which are very common in the ‘gothic’ genre. The main theme of The Corpse Bride is the idea of another world after death. The afterlife is displayed as a fun and colourful place, because all of the stress and worries of life are lifted and the dead are free of all boundaries and expectations.
The film has aspects of comedy and romance, both of which are examples of the varying themes in The Corpse Bride. Another theme of the film is that it is an animation. This makes the film easier to be seen as a ‘gothic’ movie because of the way the characters and settings appear. The settings of the film contribute to the ‘gothic’ theme, the settings displayed differently for the two worlds. The ‘land-of-the-living’ is very dark, grey and bleak, in mono-tone colours. For example, the Everglot mansion is bare and uninviting.
It is completely grey, with long corridors and hallways, as wells as large echoing floors. The colouring makes it seem very cold and empty. However, in contrast the ‘land-of-the-dead’ is colourful, exciting and bright. This is ironic, because the dead are usually supposed displayed as gloomy and ominous, and this creates the idea that the dead are free and happy, and the living are burdened and miserable – almost like the two worlds have swapped personalities. In The Corpse Bride the characters’ have very exaggerated body shapes, with long, unnatural faces and long, thin limbs.
For example, some characters have awkwardly shaped faces. The characters are gaunt looking, their complexions, pale and unhealthy, with dark circles under their eyes. it shows that the genre is rather dark. The characters’ clothes are old-fashioned and Victorian, including suits and long gowns, and the costumes are strange and over-the-top. The characters all have large luminous eyes and very high defined cheekbones, and most characters have abnormal, unpleasant expressions. The abnormality and sinister character appearances contribute to the idea of the film being of a dark, ‘gothic’ style.
The ‘Mis En Scene’ contains many items that are considered as ‘gothic’. This includes full moon, bats and crows. These are regarded as ‘gothic’ because they are mysterious and spooky. There are also dark forests and tall crumpling towers which add to the creepy settings. Also the large contrast of the two weddings create a huge separation between the two worlds – the wedding of the living being mournful and unhappy and the wedding of the dead being a huge celebration, full of joy and excitement. In conclusion, Tim Burton’s ‘The Corpse Bride’ can be categorised as a modern ‘gothic’ story.
However, the film also includes themes that are not regarded as ‘gothic’, such as the frequent humor and uncharacteristic was the ‘land-of-the-dead’ was displayed. The overall ‘gothic’ genre is displayed through music, themes, settings and character appearance as well as character types. To make the film ‘modern’, the director needed to add some different traits to the film, to attract a wider range of audiences. In general, despite some of the themes in The Corpse Bride breaking the conventions of the ‘gothic’ genre, The Corpse Bride can be seen as a ‘gothic’ story to a large extent.