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Horror Movie references in Tim Burton's Frankenweenie

A note about spoilers: This post may contain spoilers. Although I will be talking about some events that happen in the movie, none of them will drastically ruin your enjoyment of the movie. If you have seen the trailer for Frankenweenie then you will know the basic story line before seeing the movie.

First and foremost, Burton is back!

I've never been a fan of Tim Burton... I know, I know. Go get your pitchforks. I think most of it had to do with his dark tones as I was growing up. It wasn't until my early adult life that I really began to appreciate horror movies, so it's no wonder that after watching this movie I am now a Burton fan!

"Frankenweenie" Trailer from DisneyMovieTrailers.

The plot follows the story of young Victor Frankenstein (voiced by Charlie Tahan) who lives in the town of New Holland. When his beloved dog Sparky dies, Victor uses science to re-animate him! Once the children of the town find out about his success, they all decide to follow in his footsteps creating their own re-animated pets. Not all goes to plan however, as not all pets are known as "mans best friend."

And now for some possible spoilers.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. I especially enjoyed the nods to the classic horror movies that were strategically placed into the story.

The Frankenstein family enjoy a home movie starring Sparky.
On one occasion we see a group of "Sea Monkeys" (re-animated by Edgar "E" Gore voiced by Atticus Shaffer) drinking at a bar and being very mischievous. This of course being a reference to one of my favourite Halloween/ Christmas movies, Gremlins.

In another scene we see two characters trapped in a telephone booth, while the Sea Monkeys attack the glass trying to get in. Immediately I spotted this as a reference to Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.

There is a clear reference to The Wolfman with a slight hint at An American Werewolf In London when a pet rat undergoes a transformation very similar to the transformation scenes from these movies.

Throughout the movie there are many references to other works by Burton. In one scene we see a newspaper with article with headlines such as "Man With Scissor Hands Wins The International Topiary Contest," and further stories relating to Burton's movies "Big Fish" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

A nod to classic Disney movies feature a movie theatre advertising a showing of "Bambi" and a "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" movie poster pinned to Victors bedroom wall.

Perhaps the most fascinating reference that I found, was when we are introduced to a pet turtle named "Shellie." This of course being a reference to Author of the original "Frankenstein" story, Mary Shelly.

A few things that we should also note is how long Tim Burton has been wanting to make this movie. In 1984, Burton made a short film with the same title. This short was scheduled to be released on the same program as the re-relsease of Pinocchio, but was pulled after test screenings upset children. Burton was later fired from Disney for wasting their recourses making films like this, which they deemed too scary for family viewing. Luckily as audiences changed over the years, Burton was re-hired by Disney. And as an added bonus it has been stated that many of the towns children that we encounter in the story, are based on kids from Burton's childhood.

The movie also has a great score composed by Danny Elfman, who immediately throws us into the story when the famous Disney opening credit sequence is interrupted by a loud organ and a crack of lightening. You can hear snippets from the soundtrack bellow, which is also available on

Needless to say if you are looking to get into the halloween spirit, this movie is definitely worth seeing!

This article was written as part of the Orlando Vacation Tips Blog.

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This entry was posted on Friday, 26 October 2012 and is filed under ,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

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