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Halloween Scenes: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

 Leave it to Tim Burton to put a glorious Halloween Scene in a movie about candy.  

After all, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory IS about candy.  It's right there in the title.  

We could debate the pros and cons of Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka over Johnny Depp's Wonka all day, but one thing the 2005 version has over the 1971 version is an origin story about Willy Wonka's overbearing father taking away his candy on Halloween.


The scene opens with a wide shot of a wet cobblestone street.  Jack o' lanterns can be seen blazing away on the front steps of many brownstones.  The colors are almost black & white, but there's an orange/brown tint to the shot, indicating fall.


Trick or treaters ascend stairs to knock on a door.  It's here where we start to see Burton's attention to detail. Halloween oozes from every corner of the frame.  Orange string lights outline the banister.  The windows are peppered with black bats on white, orange jack o' lanterns on orange curtains, and spiders on purple.  Not to mention a very-Beistle-like pumpkin on a door, dead leaves on the ground, and lit jack o' lanterns on the street.  

After knocking, the camera takes on the POV of the woman answering the door, and we get a good look at their costumes:  Wonka as the ghost, a pirate (with a very unique skull & crossbones design on his hat), an angel, and a straw-haired witch. 


Young Wonka the ghost, walks home alone at the end of the night and the locked off shot could be a panel from a Peanuts comic.  The rounded head of the ghost, the flat backdrop of the doors, the witch and bat silhouettes in the window--- you can practically hear the flute from Vince Guaraldi's "Breathless" as he walks back to the one door withOUT any decorations.  


Once inside, it's revealed that young Wonka's father is played by Christopher Lee!  Dracula himself!  And it should be noted, that despite Lee's appearances in numerous Hammer and Amicus horror films, and having played Count Dracula 20 times, I don't think we've ever seen the actor paired in the same shot with an orange plastic jack o' lantern.  That's a first. 


After dumping Wonka's take for the night into a dish, we get to see the sugary treats the future Golden Ticket creator has acquired.  There are various foiled candies with ghosts, skull and crossbones, pumpkins, and some eyeballs--- all presumably chocolates.  White sticks lead to orange lollipops, some stamped with white jack o' lanterns.  


When Wonka's father ("Wilbur Wonka, D.D.S.") lectures his son on the dangers of sweets, he grabs an orange jack o' lantern bon-bon to punctuate his point, before unceremoniously tossing all of the candy into the fireplace, where they turn the flames pale blue like a packet of Magical Flames.  


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