Short films are often regarded as test runs for directors, but that doesn’t mean they have to look shoddy. Here are a few examples of shorts that not only launched careers, but remain as good as anything their creators have made since:
“Vincent” (1982): Working as an animator at Disney in the early 1980s, Tim Burton found he wasn’t exactly a good match with wholesome family fare, but The Mouse was smart enough to let him make the Gothic six-minute short film “Vincent.” (Hard to imagine that happening today.) Told in Dr. Seuss-inspired rhyming couplets, the film follows a sickly-looking young boy who wished he was Vincent Price, and the coup de grace was getting Vincent Price himself to narrate. Burton’s trademark blend of Edward Gorey, Edgar Allen Poe, German Expressionism and Hammer Horror tropes was already fully realized here; note Vincent’s painting of his “ghoulish bride”, which looks almost exactly like the heroine of “Corpse Bride” some two decades later.