ⓘ Vincent (1982 film)


ⓘ Vincent (1982 film)

Vincent is a 1982 stop motion short horror film written, designed and directed by Tim Burton, and produced by Rick Heinrichs. It is the second Disney horror film, the first being The Watcher in the Woods. At approximately six minutes in length, there is currently no individual release of the film except for a few bootleg releases. It can be found on the 2008 Special Edition and Collectors Edition DVDs of The Nightmare Before Christmas as a bonus feature and on the Cinema16 DVD American Short Films.

The film is narrated by actor Vincent Price, a lifelong idol and inspiration for Burton. From this relationship, Price would go on to appear in Burtons Edward Scissorhands. Vincent Price later said that Vincent was "the most gratifying thing that ever happened. It was immortality - better than a star on Hollywood Boulevard".


1. Plot

Vincent is the poetry story of a 7-year-old boy, Vincent Malloy, who pretends to be like the actor Vincent Price who narrates the film. He does experiments on his dog Abercrombie in order to create a horrible ravenous Zombie dog. He is obsessed with the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, and it his detachment from reality when reading them that leads to his delusions that he is in fact a tortured artist and mad scientist, deprived of the woman he loves, mirroring certain parts of Poes "The Raven". The film ends with Vincent feeling terrified of being tortured by the going-ons of his make-believe world, quoting "The Raven" as he falls to the floor in frailty, believing himself to be dead.


2. Production and release

While working as a conceptual artist at Walt Disney Productions, Tim Burton found himself two allies in Disney executive Julie Hickson, and Head of Creative Development Tom Wilhite. The two were impressed with Burtons unique talents and, while not "Disney material", they felt he deserved respect. As such, in 1982, Wilhite gave Burton $60.000 to produce an adaptation of a poem Burton had written titled Vincent. Burton had originally planned the poem to be a childrens short story book but thought otherwise.

Together with fellow Disney animator Rick Heinrichs, stop motion animator Stephen Chiodo and cameraman Victor Abdalov, Burton worked on the project for two months and came up with the five-minute short film. Shot in stark black-and-white in the style of the German Expressionist films of the 1920s, Vincent imagines himself in a series of situations inspired by the Vincent Price/Edgar Allan Poe films that had such an effect on Burton as a child, including experimenting on his dog - a theme that would subsequently appear in Frankenweenie - and welcoming his aunt home while simultaneously conjuring up the image of her dipped in hot wax. Vincent Malloy, the main character in the film, bears a striking resemblance to Tim Burton himself.

The film was narrated by Burtons childhood idol, Vincent Price, and marked the beginning of a friendship between them that lasted until Prices death in 1993. Burton credits the experience as one of the most formative experiences of his life.

The film was theatrically released for two weeks in one Los Angeles cinema with the teen drama Tex. Before it was consigned to the Disney vaults, it garnered several critical accolades when it played at film festivals in London, Chicago and Seattle, winning two awards at Chicago and the Critics Prize at the Annecy Film Festival in France.


3. Cameos

An early form of the character of Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas can be seen in the upper-left corner of the screen from 1:18-1:25 as well as in front of the embodiment of his deceased wife from 4:45-4:47. Jack also appeared in Tim Burtons Beetlejuice and the stop-motion animation film James and the Giant Peach. The first two cameos were years before production of Nightmare, though Burton had toyed with the original story idea while still an animator at Disney.

The character Prince Vince, from the Beetlejuice animated cartoon which would premiere seven years later, is named after and bears a strong resemblance to Vincent Malloy, both in appearance and mannerisms.