Frankenweenie (1984 film)

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Promotional poster
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTim Burton
Produced byJulie Hickson
Rick Heinrichs
Screenplay byLenny Ripps
Based onFrankenweenie
by Tim Burton
StarringShelley Duvall
Daniel Stern
Barret Oliver
Music byDavid Newman
Michael Convertino
CinematographyThomas E. Ackerman
Edited byErnest Milano
Distributed byBuena Vista Distribution
Release date
December 14, 1984
Running time
30 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1 million

Frankenweenie is a 1984 Tim Burton-directed short film produced by Walt Disney Pictures 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. It was filmed in 1983. 28 years later, Burton decided to work on a stop-motion 2012 remake of that film.[1][2]


Victor Frankenstein (played by Barret Oliver) is a young boy who creates movies starring his dog, Sparky (a Bull Terrier, whose name is a play on the use of electricity in the film). After Sparky is hit by a car and killed, Victor learns at school about electrical impulses in muscles and is inspired to bring his pet back to life. He creates elaborate machines which bring down a bolt of lightning that revives the dog. Victor is pleased, but when the Frankensteins decide to introduce the revitalized Sparky to his neighbors, they become angry and terrified.

Sparky runs away, with Victor in pursuit. 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 attempt to use a cigarette lighter to try to see in the windmill, it is accidentally set 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 falls in love with a poodle whose fur bears a strong resemblance to the hairdo of the Bride of Frankenstein and the film ends with Sparky's electricity making the words, "The End" and the it becomes still.



This short was included in the Special Edition,[3] Collector's Edition,[4] and Blu-ray 3D[5] releases of The Nightmare Before Christmas and on the Blu-ray release of its remake.


Burton was fired by Disney after the film was completed; the studio claimed that he had been wasting company resources, and felt the film was not suitable for the target young audiences.[6] The short was originally planned to be released alongside the summer re-release of The Jungle Book, its release was rescheduled with the Christmas re-release of Pinocchio on December 21, 1984.[7] Although the film was subsequently shelved, the film played in UK cinemas in 1985 in front of Touchstone Films' Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend. The film was given a home video release in 1992. It was released as an extra, along with Vincent, on The Nightmare Before Christmas DVD; Blu-ray; and UMD.[citation needed]


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.


  1. ^ Wheeler, Jeremy. "Frankenweenie". Allmovie. Archived from the original on September 29, 2012. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  2. ^ This was the last theatrical release to be distributed under the Buena Vista label. Future releases would be under the Walt Disney Pictures/Productions label.
  3. ^ "The Nightmare Before Christmas". 28 September 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2018 – via Amazon.
  4. ^ "The Nightmare Before Christmas". 28 September 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2018 – via Amazon.
  5. ^ "The Nightmare Before Christmas". 30 August 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2018 – via Amazon.
  6. ^ "Tim Burton: How Disney fired me". Archived from the original on 14 September 2017. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  7. ^ Mayo, Michael (February 1985). "Frankenweenie". Cinefantastique. 15 (2): 61. Retrieved September 13, 2017.

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