Frankenweenie (1984 film)
|Directed by||Tim Burton|
|Produced by||Julie Hickson
|Screenplay by||Lenny Ripps|
|Story by||Tim Burton|
|Music by||David Newman
|Cinematography||Thomas E. Ackerman|
|Editing by||Ernest Milano|
|Studio||Walt Disney Pictures|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
|Release dates||December 14, 1984|
|Running time||30 minutes|
Frankenweenie is a 1984 Tim Burton-directed short film produced with Buena Vista Distribution and co-written by Burton with Leonard Ripps. It is both a parody and homage to the 1931 film Frankenstein based on Mary Shelley's novel of the same name. Burton also directed a feature-length 2012 remake.
Victor Frankenstein (played by Barret Oliver) is a young boy who creates movies starring his dog, Sparky (a Bull Terrier, whose name is a joke on the use of electricity in the film). After Sparky is hit by a car Victor learns at school about electrical impulses in muscles and gets the idea to bring his pet back to life. He creates elaborate machines which bring down a bolt of lightning that revives the dog. While Victor is pleased, his neighbors are terrified by the animal, and when the Frankensteins decide to introduce the revitalized Sparky to them they become angry and terrified.
Sparky runs away, with Victor in pursuit, and they find themselves at a local miniature golf course and hide in its flagship windmill. The Frankensteins' neighbors, now an angry mob, arrive on the scene and when they use a cigarette lighter to try to see in the windmill is accidentally lit on fire. Victor falls and is knocked out but Sparky rescues him from the flames only to be crushed by the windmill. The mob of neighbors realizing their error use their cars and jumper cables to "recharge" Sparky. He is revived and all celebrate. Sparky later falls in love with a poodle whose fur bears a strong resemblance to the hairdo of the Bride of Frankenstein.
- Shelley Duvall as Susan Frankenstein
- Daniel Stern as Ben Frankenstein
- Barret Oliver as Victor Frankenstein
- Joseph Maher as Mr. Chambers
- Roz Braverman as Mrs. Epstein
- Paul Bartel as Mr. Walsh
- Sofia Coppola (credited as Domino) as Anne Chambers
- Jason Hervey as Frank Dale
- Paul C. Scott as Mike Anderson
- Helen Boll as Mrs. Curtis
- Sparky as Sparky
- Rusty James as Raymond
Burton was fired by Disney after the film was completed; the studio felt the film was not suitable for the target young audiences. It had been scheduled to be released cinematically in the U.S. before a re-release of Pinocchio on December 21, 1984, but was shelved. It did, however, play in UK cinemas in 1985 in front of Touchstone Films' Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend. After the mainstream success of Burton's features Beetlejuice; Pee-wee's Big Adventure; Edward Scissorhands and Batman, the film was given a home video release in 1992. It is currently available as an extra, along with Vincent, on The Nightmare Before Christmas DVD; Blu-ray; and UMD for PSP.
Disney and Tim Burton produced a full-length remake using stop motion animation, which was released on October 5, 2012 in Disney Digital 3D and IMAX 3D. The original film is included as a bonus feature on the Blu-ray home video release.