Frankenweenie (1984 film)

Frankenweenie is a 1984 short film directed by Tim Burton 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 later directed a feature-length stop-motion animated remake, released in 2012.[1]

Theatrical release poster
Directed byTim Burton
Produced byJulie Hickson
Rick Heinrichs
Screenplay byLenny Ripps
Story byTim Burton
StarringShelley Duvall
Daniel Stern
Barret Oliver
Music byMichael Convertino
David Newman
CinematographyThomas E. Ackerman
Edited byErnest Milano
Distributed byBuena Vista Distribution
Release date
December 14, 1984
Running time
29 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1 million
Box office$11.4 million


Victor Frankenstein (played by Barret Oliver) is a young boy who creates movies starring his dog, Sparky (a Bull Terrier, whose name is a reference to 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 it becomes still.


Home media

This short was included in the Special Edition,[2] Collector's Edition,[2] and Blu-ray 3D[3] releases of The Nightmare Before Christmas and on the Blu-ray release of its remake.[4]


Burton was fired by Disney after the film was completed, as the studio claimed that he had been wasting company resources and felt the film was not suitable for the targeted young audiences.[5] The short was originally planned to be released alongside the summer re-release of The Jungle Book, but its release was rescheduled with the Christmas re-release of Pinocchio on December 21, 1984.[6] 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. Following the success of Burton's later films Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman and Edward Scissorhands, 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 UMDl.[2]


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. "The Nightmare Before Christmas". September 28, 2010. Retrieved April 24, 2018 via Amazon.
  3. "The Nightmare Before Christmas". August 30, 2011. Retrieved April 24, 2018 via Amazon.
  4. "'Frankenweenie' Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D Dated and Detailed". High-Def Digest. December 3, 2012. Retrieved December 4, 2012.
  5. "Tim Burton: How Disney fired me". Archived from the original on September 14, 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  6. Mayo, Michael (February 1985). "Frankenweenie". Cinefantastique. 15 (2): 61. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
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