Oct 142012


When the family dog is tragically killed, Victor isn’t willing to let him go. The budding young scientist conducts an experiment to bring the dog back from the dead. Check out the review of the heartwarming horror Frankenweenie after the jump.

Victor doesn’t have many friends – he is more interested in spending time in his attic conducting science experiences with the aid of many of his mother’s kitchen implements. Victor’s best friend is his dog Sparky – he is always there by Victor’s side and gives him all the friendship that he needs, until one day when Sparky is killed in a tragic accident. Victor is inconsolable, and is unable to move on – life just doesn’t seem as bright.

Just when things seemed like they would always be dark and lonely, Victor gets an idea to bring Sparky back to life, and somehow it works. While Victor is overjoyed, one just simply can’t bring something back to life without serious consequences. His family and school-mates know that Sparky is dead, so how can Victor keep him hidden? and what will happen if the secret gets out? The power to bring something back from the dead is a power that many people would be interested in having – we all have departed pets we would love to see again…


Frankenweenie is just as dark as it is delightful and heart-warming. An ode to horror and childhood dreams, as well as an uplifting story about the love we have for our pets and the pain we feel when we have to let them go. This film is both the essence of Tim Burton’s childhood and his most successful films. Burton was an outsider as a child, one who preferred creating to conforming. Victor is very much like this, and we feel extremely sympathetic for this bright yet somewhat isolated child. Much like early Burton films, there is a playful nature to the horror here. But don’t be fooled – the film is about the death of pets, and as such it does have a slightly macabre and somber tone. This is a kids movie suitable for only the bravest kids, although it is far more amusing that it is scary.


The true delight in this film lies in the fascinating and unique characters. The nerdy (yet scary) Japanese kid, the scary bug-eyed girl with the cat, the dim-witted bully with the terrible teeth – they are all so different and so very amusing. Victor has issues with all of them, and much of the humour in the film is found in the interactions between the children.

It goes without saying that the stop-motion animation is gorgeous. I love the fact that in 2012 Burton was able to put out a black and white film (as was his 1984 film of the same name) – it really adds so much atmosphere and a general “creepy” feel to the film.

Frankenweenie is truly an uplifting horror delight.


By Sam McCosh

The Facts

Director: Tim Burton
Writer(s): Leonard Ripps, John August, Tim Burton
Starring (voices of): Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Charlie Tahan
Runtime: 87 minutes
Release Date(s): New Zealand: October 18 2012; Australia: October 25 2012; USA: October 5 2012