Why Frankenweenie Holds a Special, Bull Terrier-Shaped Place in Our Hearts

Frankenweenie, Tim Burton’s black and white story about a boy who brings his loyal dog back to life, is one of our most favorite Disney movies. It’s darkly funny and altogether heartwarming, while managing to incorporate nods to old-school creepy classics. If you somehow missed it until this point, the Blu-ray trailer will give you some background, but read on to see why we think it’s so special.


It’s based on a live-action short of the same name, by Tim Burton.
Frankenweenie live action short


The amazingly talented voice cast included multiple actors who worked with Burton on previous films: Winona Ryder (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands), Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas), Martin Short (Mars Attacks!), and Martin Landau (Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow).
Frankenweenie cast at premiere


The entire film is in black and white, which is unique, beautiful, and likely completely foreign to many of the kids who saw it, in a good way. In an interview with Metro UK, Tim explained, “when you take the colour out of something, sometimes you start looking at other things, such as textures and characters.”
MR. BURGERMEISTER in Frankenweenie


All of the characters in Frankenweenie are based on drawings from Tim himself, either from the original short or from developing the new, animated version.
Frankenweenie and Persephone concept art


The character names—like Victor, Elsa Van Helsing, Edgar “E” Gore, and Mr. Burgemeister—are inspired by classic horror films from the 1930s.
Elsa Victor and Edgar E Gore in Frankenweenie


Our favorite characters, however, are Weird Girl and her fluffy prophetic cat, Mr. Whiskers. To elaborate, Mr. Whiskers is a cat who has dream prophecies about Weird Girl’s classmates that are revealed the following morning when he, err, does his business. Who could come up with this but Tim Burton? (Also, much to Weird Girl’s chagrin, Mr. Whiskers never seems to dream about his owner.)
Weird Girl and Mr Whiskers in Frankenweenie


On set, they had a “puppet hospital” that was always full. Highly trained model makers spent months repairing limbs, hair, skin, and costumes that were ripped or dirty. (Writing this, we’re realizing we completely missed the boat on a career in which we could play with toys, professionally. Shoot.)
Frankenweenie behind the scenes image


After something goes wrong with one student’s experiment, the Mr. Rzykruski tells off the entire PTA in the name of science: “You do not understand science, so you’re afraid of it. Like a dog is afraid of thunder or ballons.” As Big Hero 6’s Fred would say, “Science yeah!”
Mr Rzykruski tells off PTA in Frankenweenie


The whole film is full of moments inspired by old horror films, which through the vehicle of the characters who inhabit New Holland, come off as pretty hilarious.


We rest our case. (Unless Victor decides to bring it back to life, of course.)

Posted 5 years Ago
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