Frankenweenie (1984 film)


Promotional poster

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tim Burton
Produced by Julie Hickson
Rick Heinrichs
Screenplay by Lenny Ripps
Story by Tim Burton
Starring Shelley Duvall
Daniel Stern
Barret Oliver
Music by David Newman
Michael Convertino
Cinematography Thomas E. Ackerman
Edited by Ernest Milano
Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution
Release dates
December 14, 1984
Running time
30 minutes
Country United States
Language English
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. 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. 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".



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] 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. 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.


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. 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. Special Edition
  4. Collectors Edition
  5. 3D release
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