Tim Burton Shoots Two Music Videos for The Killers

Nobody could ever accuse Tim Bur­ton of under­pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. The past decade has seen him not only direct sev­en fea­ture films but step into the music video game as well. Most direc­tors inclined to do music videos begin there in order to tran­si­tion to full-fledged movies, but Bur­ton has, to put it mild­ly, nev­er hewn to tra­di­tion. At the top of this post, you can watch his very first music video, pro­duced in 2006 for the song “Bones” by post-punk revival­ists The Killers. Fea­tur­ing mod­el Devon Aoki and 90210 star Michael Ste­ger, the video shows off Bur­ton’s sen­si­bil­i­ties both by plun­der­ing the his­to­ry of ick­i­ly thrilling and sly­ly trans­gres­sive cin­e­ma — pieces of Loli­ta, Crea­ture from the Black Lagoon, and Jason and the Arg­onauts appear — and by mak­ing much the­mat­ic and aes­thet­ic use of the human skele­ton. Most of its action takes place in an ear­ly-six­ties desert dri­ve-in the­ater gone to seed, which seems to me the ide­al venue in which to screen Bur­ton’s fea­tures.

The imag­i­na­tive auteur’s sec­ond and most recent music video came out just this past Sep­tem­ber. Work­ing again in the ser­vice of The Killers, Bur­ton dreamed up anoth­er piece of haunt­ed whim­sy for their song “Here With Me”. In it, a black-clad, seri­ous-eyed ado­les­cent boy — a Bur­ton­ian arche­type if ever there was one — steals and makes a com­pan­ion of a wax man­nequin mod­eled after his favorite B‑movie actress. Fans can thrill to the fact that, to fill the role of this B‑movie actress, in comes Winona Ryder, star of the beloved Bur­ton col­lab­o­ra­tions Beetle­juice and Edward Scis­sorhands. Ryder has led a career filled with its share of both B- and A‑movies, but to which of those lev­els do Bur­ton’s rise? Nei­ther, it would seem, or per­haps both at once, or, even more like­ly, to the lim­i­nal state in between — a hard-to-define psy­cho­log­i­cal space, both Bur­ton’s boost­ers and detrac­tors would agree, of his very own.

Relat­ed con­tent:

Tim Bur­ton: A Look Inside His Visu­al Imag­i­na­tion

Tim Burton’s The World of Stain­boy: Watch the Com­plete Ani­mat­ed Series

Vin­cent: Tim Burton’s Ear­ly Ani­mat­ed Film

Six Ear­ly Short Films By Tim Bur­ton

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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