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Frankenweenie (1984)

  Directed by: Tim Burton
Written by: Tim Burton, Leonard Ripps
Starring: Shelley Duvall, Barret Oliver, Daniel Stern
Links: Frankenweenie on the IMDb
Genre: Short

This movie gets: 7.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Less creepy than it sounds (and more fun)" - a review by mino

Like Vincent (1982), Frankenweenie is a rather dark and twisted short from the early career of the equally dark and twisted Tim Burton. In a rather fond spoof of Frankenstein (1931), a young boy named Victor Frankenstein (charming poppet Barret Oliver, known to all children of the 80s as Bastian from The Neverending Story (1984)), absolutely distraught at the loss of his beloved bull terrier Sparky, gets it into his head that maybe — with the judicious application of some electrical current — he could bring Sparky back to life.

What follows is a light-hearted and really quite funny romp, with Victor's parents (Daniel Stern and Shelley Duvall) initially horrified (as you would think), but slowly coming to accept Sparky as a part of their household once again. When Sparky (now rather comically covered in scars, with bolts coming out of his neck) escapes and starts wreaking havoc, though, the neighbours take issue and start calling for Sparky's blood.

Frankenweenie is a rather bizarre tale (and was basically shelved at the time by Burton's then-employer, Disney) but really isn't very horrific at all, and in fact is quite mild. While the idea of a kid reviving his dead dog is a little creepy, I guess, it's actually just a very lighthearted film, which has some wonderful recreations of classic moments from Frankenstein — the clever use of the windmill in particular is a real treat. Whilst it does get a little bit weak in parts, and some of the (deliberately hammy) acting gets way too hammy (notably that of a young Sofia Coppola, which is probably the scariest thing in the movie, maybe barring Shelley Duvall herself), it's a very clever little piece, and is worth hunting down for Burton fans.

mino gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 16 Jul 2004

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