American filmmaker Tim Burton is best known for his gothic fantasy and horror films like Edward Scissorhands, The Night Before Christmas and Beetlejuice.
Three years before his feature debut Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Burton collaborated with American actor Vincent Price to create a short animated film for Disney titled Vincent in 1982. The six-minute film was a pastiche of various styles, influenced by the writings of Dr. Seuss and Edgar Allen Poe as well as a wide range of films, from B-grade horror films, German expressionism and the films of Vincent Price himself.
The title of the film does not refer to the actor but the protagonist of Burton’s short, seven-year-old Vincent Malloy. The narrator of the film (Vincent Price) describes him as, “He’s always polite and does what he’s told. For a boy his age, he’s considerate and nice. But he wants to be just like Vincent Price.”
Burton was one of the biggest fans of Price and this film was the beginning of a close friendship until Price’s death in 1993. Price described his experience as “the most gratifying thing that ever happened” and Burton would later cast the American actor for his 1990 film Edward Scissorhands. The stylistic use of pastiche in Vincent became a recurring trope of the Burton oeuvre. This 1982 short film gives us a revelatory insight into the macabre vision of Tim Burton before he had the chance to make any of his features.
Watch the short film, below.