Tim Burton & Seth Grahame-Smith: An Obvious Partnership

Seth Grahame-Smith (aka Seth Jared Greenberg – why would you give yourself a hyphenated name on purpose?) has written Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies so far, and if you think he’s abandoning his gimmick just because everyone else is also cashing in on it now too (see also: Snow White & The Huntsman, Little Red Riding Hood with werewolves, Edgar Allen Poe: Murder Detective, Swordfighting Shakespeare, etc., etc., etc.), you’d be wrong. As his recent interview in The Hollywood Reporter begins:

Mash-up king Seth Grahame-Smith’s new novel Unholy Night re-imagines the story of the Three Wise Men of the Nativity as a swords-and-sandals adventure romp.
It turns Balthazar, one of the Wise Men, into a swashbuckling thief, who ends up helping Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus escape the clutches of Pontius Pilate, while encountering supernatural things along the way.


But it turns out, adding werewolves and zombies and vampires and Predator and the duppie (DA DUPPIE!) to old stories isn’t all he’s been up to (sidenote: come on man, the bible already has lepers, a talking bush, and the Jewish aquaman who can manifest booze and fish sandwiches, does it really need MORE supernatural?). Turns out he’s also a scriptwriter. Having already worked with Tim Burton on Dark Shadows, he’s also got a stop-motion animated project called Night of the Living and a Beetlejuice sequel, both for Burton.

I’m right in the middle of writing an animated movie for Tim Burton right now called Night of the Living.

THR:  Weren’t you going to do a movie set in the a cemetery?

SG-S:That’s Living in the Necropolis, which is a book we optioned and have a writer on now. Night of the Living is an idea I have had around for years that I’m doing with Tim Burton. When we were shooting Dark Shadows last year I worked up the nerve to tell Tim about it because I always thought it would make a good movie. When I saw what he had done with Frankenweenie and Corpse Bride, it always struck me as a great idea for that form. I’m writing it at Warner’s Bros. for him (as a stop-motion monster movie). As soon I’m done with that draft, I’ll move into Unholy Night,

The Beetlejuice sequel will come after Unholy Night in my schedule. The first opportunity to tackle that will probably be later this year.

Night of the Living sounds so much like a Tim Burton project that I’m surprised it already isn’t one. Is anyone surprised that these two hooked up? If anyone can help Seth Graham-Smith navigate his way through a long career of self-plagiarism, it’s Tim Burton. “You see, son, the trick is finding what people like about you, and then repeating that over and over until they hate your guts.”

Tim Burton Photo via Featureflash /