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Activity 3

The modern gothic

Group 1: Edward Scissorhands

Scissorhands still
Edward Scissorhands is a 1990 dark fantasy film by Tim Burton. It recreates the story of Frankenstein, as a young character called Edward, whose creator passed away before finishing him. He then has to learn to live in a modern American neighbourhood.

Group 2: Jack Skellington

Nightmare Christmas
The Nightmare Before Christmas is a 1993 stop motion film by Tim Burton which narrates the story of Jack, the king of Halloween, on his quest to discover Christmas.

Group 3: Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie is a 2012 stop motion movie by Tim Burton, which revisits the story of Frankenstein, but with a dog instead, as a little boy tries to revive his dead buddy.
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You are in charge of one movie still.

What is it? What can you tell about the character and his origins?

Explain the differences between the character and his environment.

Useful vocabulary: Unlike... In contrast to...
As opposed to... It is different from...

Let's talk this out!


Share your findings and learn about the other characters.

What strikes you as odd in the pictures?

What is the effect on you? Discuss with your group.

Useful vocabulary: It is odd that... I find it...
It seems curious / peculiar / offbeat / outlandish...
It makes me feel... It appears to me that...


  • cadaverous (adj.)
  • grotesque (adj.)
  • deadly /ˈdɛdlɪ/ / lethal /ˈliːθəl/ (adj.)
  • blades (n.)
  • leather (n.)
  • skeleton (n.)

Let's learn!

Chain speaking

List the characteristics of Tim Burton’s films into these two categories, and justify your choices.
In groups of four, speak in turn to share your findings.

Cartoonish elements

Fear factors

Over to you!

Interview time

Let’s use what you have learnt in
Activity 3
and / or in
Activity 4

You are a journalist interviewing the director of one of these movies / series for a programme about gothic cinema and the promotion of their new TV show. Imagine the interview.

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