Classic Monsters References in Burton's Batman
by ZUPERZERO and Slash Man

Tim Burton has always shown his Classic (Universal) Monsters influences in movies like Edward Scisscorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow, Sweeney Todd etc. I feel "Sweeney Todd" very much like Tim Burton's Batman movies: Characters lost in tragedy and looking for revenge. monsters creating monsters, i feel Sweeney Todd like a perfect combination of Batman and Edward Scissorhands movies.

Batman is the best excuse for Burton to show his childhood taste: the Monsters (Universal and Hammer) Batman is trying to be a monster in Gotham City, that's why he dress like a bat, i believe Burton's batman character is somehow charged with vibe from:

Wolfman: animal-monster who only go out at night. The Danny Elfman's Batman theme have (in some points) the same notes as the score from the universal classic "Wolfman" with Lon Channey jr.


Frankenstein: Monsters creating Monsters and somehow Batman is like Bruce Wayne's Monster; Batman is like a creation of jack napier, and Joker is a creation of Batman at the same time Bruce Wayne creates Batman and Jack Napier creates the Joker, and everyone is a creation of a corrupted city where the citizens don't care to sell themseves to a killer (200 anniversary parade)

The Scene where Vicky Vale arrives to the Batcave is a clearly reference to "the Phantom of the Opera" scene where the girl discovers the real face of the Phantom

"Batman Returns" and "The Bride of Frankenstein"
For me the more visible references are in "Batman Returns", There are many James Whale's "Bride of Frankeinstein" references:

In some time "The Bride of Frankenstein" was named "Frankenstein Returns" or "The Monster Returns" on "the Bride of F.." DVD special features appears that name.

The prologue from both films are very similar:
The 1st Scene from "Batman Returns" Burton drive us to the Coplebot's Manor on The Penguin's birthday: we see Penguin's Father watching the icestorm; on the Bride of Frankeinstein on the 1rst scene we see Mary Shelley's Manor and Lord Byron Character is watching the storm, the rooms are very similar too.

The Catwoman costume is clearly a reference to Frankeinstein, she is like the Bride of Frankeinstein (or Batman)

Catwoman and the Bride of Frankenstein are characters that demostrate the oppression male have over female.

"Batman Returns": Catwoman is a Max Schreck-Batman creation, why Batman creation? because Selina Kyle's character gets influenced by Batman when he save her from "The Red triangle" asault, so Max Schreck kill her and she decides to create her own monster too: Catwoman.
"The Bride of Frankenstein" the Bride is a Dr Pretorius-Dr Frankenstein creation just like Max Schreck-Batman's creation: Catwoman

Batman wants to be with Catwoman like Frankenstein's monster wants to be with the Bride, but Both Batman and Frankenstein's monster are rejected

Danny DeVito's Penguin make-up seems to be partially inspired by Lon Chaney's in the 1927 film "London After Midnight".

The sunken eye sockets, the pointed teeth, the frizzy hair, and even the tophat all harken back to this classic (but sadly lost) film.

The scene where Catwoman confronts the Penguin is similar to when Henry Frankenstein confronts his monstrous creation at the windmill in the 1931 Universal classic Frankenstein. The scenes are shot in an identical fashion.

Both characters circle around a spinning object, whether it be a wheel or a parakeet cage.

The camera then focuses in on each "monster" from the opposite side, staring across at the other.

It is consistantly shown that Burton intended Catwoman to represent Henry Frankenstein and Penguin to the monster. Perhaps it represents how one was born a monster, and the other became one.

There's a blink-and-you-miss-it moment in Batman Returns that parallels the silent classic, The Phantom of the Opera. In that film, The Phantom attends a ball dressed as the "Red Death" to make his frightening appearance.

During Max Shreck's masquerade, someone is also dressed as the "Red Death", in the same position at the top of a stairway. In Returns, however, the "Red Death" moves out of the way to reveal Selina Kyle. Some subtle foreshadowing thrown in there.

Other reference i remember now is the way The Penguin die: is very similar the way James Whale the director of Frankeinstein and Frankeinstein 2(The Bride)was found death: drowned on his pool.

The end of both movies are this: in "Batman Returns" Catwoman kills Max Schreck and Penguin's liar explodes; In "The Bride of Frankenstein" the Monster kills Dr. Pretorius and Dr Frankenstein's laboratory explode.

The Monster references fits perfect with Batman because he tries to be a monster and Bob Kane create the character influenced in superheroes (superman) and the german Expressionism terror movies

IRONIC: Burton and Whale only get to do the 2 first movies of the franchises, and i don't believe Burton was concerned about that in the time "Batman Returns" was made.

Also Burton was going to direct a Superman movie that was cancelled; James Whale was going to direct a Dracula movie but it was cancelled too. Check this design from Tim Burton's Superman Lives movie, this movie (based in the death and return of Superman) was going to be released in 1998. Tim Burton again seems that finds a parallel between Frankenstein and Superman: it seems like Superman was going to be revived like with a Frankenstein look:

"Batman" and "Batman Returns" connection
Other funny detail not related to classic monsters that i like to coment is about a conection between "Batman" and "Batman Returns": in "Batman"(89) the Joker says to Vicky Vale on the Cathedral: "We are like the Beauty and the Beast, of course you are the beast and i am the beauty" this dialogue conects "Batman"(89) to "Batman Returns", remember that scene after ice princess killing where The Penguin and Catwoman are discussing on the Rooftop. in that scene the Penguin says to Catwoman: "You are like the Beauty and the Beast in one" obviously that means that Catwoman is both: Joker and Vicky Vale, and she really is, foe and lover.

From author ZUPERZERO
I hope you have enjoy it and watch again this movies with this in mind, they are really a Masterpiece where you can find more and more layers everytime you see it. Tim Burton and James Whale are masters in telling you things not especifically with words, but with Images: great images, In that way you learn to read more carefully the images they create

I HOPE SOMEDAY WB LET TIM BURTON FINISH HIS TRILOGY: at least as animation movie or maybe a "The Dark Knight Returns" comic kind of story where Batman is old.

Sorry for the bad english (i'm from Mexico) Let me know your thoughts: discuss this in the forum

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