Spooktacular Family Fun with Frankenweenie: The Perfect Family-Friendly Scary Movie!


Frankenweenie is a 2012 American 3D stop-motion-animated fantasy film directed by Tim Burton. 


It is a remake of Burton’s 1984 short film of the same name and is a parody of and a homage to the 1931 film Frankenstein based on Mary Shelley’s book of the same name.

The original 1984 Frankenweenie
The original 1984 Frankenweenie
The original 1984 Frankenweenie

The voice cast includes four actors who worked with Burton on previous films: Winona Ryder (Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands); Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas); Martin Short (Mars Attacks!); and Martin Landau (Ed Wood and Sleepy Hollow).

Frankenweenie is in black and white. It is also the fourth stop-motion film produced by Burton and the first of those four that is not a musical. The film won the Saturn Award for Best Animated Film and was nominated for an Academy Award; a Golden Globe; a BAFTA; and an Annie Award for Best Film in each respective animated category.


Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) is a science nerd and an outcast at school, but he has one true friend: his dog, Sparky. But then tragedy hits, and Sparky dies. Victor is upset, but his science teacher (Martin Landau) suggests a method for reviving old Sparky. The experiment is a success, and everything seems to be going well until Victor’s classmates discover his secret and use it to raise other dead animals, with horrible results.


(1) This is Tim Burton’s first film without Johnny Depp since Big Fish (2003), his first without Helena Bonham Carter since Sleepy Hollow (1999), and his first without neither since Mars Attacks! (1996)

(2) The third collaboration between Winona Ryder and Tim Burton. Edward Scissorhands (1990) was their previous film, released 21 years prior.

(3) One of Tim Burton’s regular actors, Christopher Lee, did not take part in this film, but archive footage of him in Horror of Dracula (1958) is watched by Victor’s parents on television.

(4) Mr. Rzykruski’s demonstration in class of a frog’s legs twitching when sparked by electricity is based on actual experiments conducted in 1771 by Italian physicist Luigi Galvani, who was the first to discover that the legs of dead frogs and other dead creatures twitched and moved when sparked by electricity. This prompted further research into bio-electricity and the nervous system’s operations. Galvani is credited with discovering bio-electricity, and the study of “galvanic” effects in biology is named after him. This issue has been explored in several Tim Burton films, most notably Frankenweenie and Edward Scissorhands.

(5) The pet cemetery features the grave of Zero from The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).

(6) A turtle named “Shelley” is buried in the pet cemetery. Mary Shelley wrote “Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus,” the novel on which this film is loosely based.

(7) This film reunites Tim Burton with Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara who previously worked with Burton on Beetlejuice (1988).

(8) The mayor of the town is Mr. Burgermeister, which means mayor in German.

(9) Victor’s friend and next-door neighbor is “Elsa Van Helsing”, a reference to Abraham Van Helsing, Bram Stoker’s Dracula character, and Elsa Lanchester, the original “The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)”.

Elsa van Helsing
Elsa van Helsing

(10) The film’s release spawned a fan theory that this film, and Burton’s other two stop motion animated films, The Nightmare Before Christmas  (1993) and Corpse Bride (2005), all are taking place in a shared continuity, and tell one big story spanning several centuries, and the possibility that Victor Frankenstein and Sparky are descendants of Victor Dort and scraps from Corpse Bride (2005).

(11) Tim Burton created the Weird Girl (“Staring Girl”) in his book “The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories” (1997).


(12) Nassor is strongly similar in appearance and speech to original 1931 Frankenstein’s monster while his hamster is a Mummy. Both Frankenstein (1931) and The Mummy (1932) where played by the actor Boris Karloff.

(13) This was originally scheduled to be released on the same program as the 1984 re-release of Pinocchio (1940), but was pulled after test screenings upset children.

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