frankenweenie_movie_posterIf you love the old black and white Universal horror movies from the 1930s as I do then going to see Frankenweenie was a no-brainer. Tim Burton’s stop-motion animation is an extension of a short film he made many years ago which I know I have somewhere on one of the many versions of The Nightmare Before Christmas which I have kicking around (can’t help it, its one of my favourite films) but haven’t watched for an absolute age.

It tells the story of Victor Frankenstein who, when his beloved pet dog Sparky is run over by a car, brings him back to life in classic style as part of a school science project but then has to keep his existence a secret from the townsfolk of New Holland lest they burst out into classic pitchfork wielding mania as they do. And of course if you know anything about the old horror movies you can see most of where this is going to end up, but its the fun of getting there which makes this such a fabulous film. I spent most of the movie grinning with delight as I spotted loads of references and in-jokes and I’m sure there will be more to spot in the DVD, because oh yes this is in the must buy list.

Things I loved:

  • the whole premise is excellent and faithful to the spirit of the old movies
  • the science teacher with the impossible name, played by Martin Landau, sinister and inspiring at the same time
  • Victor’s parents are lovely, and come through for him in a really positive way which I thought was just great
  • Elsa van Helsing, a real Goth girl voices by Winona Ryder and her poodle
  • the classic Bride of Frankenstein moment
  • Colossus

I was mildly miffed that one of the main monsters in this (minor spoiler alert) was a cat, but I suppose if your undead hero is a dog then it was inevitable he’d have to face up to an evil moggy. Not as miffed about this as I was about a snow leopard being the bad guy in Kung Fu Panda…..

So, if like me you have watched b&w horrors since you were small, and your reaction to the original Karloff Frankenstein was “why are they being nasty to that big man” (as mine certainly was) then you will just loved this. I cried at the end (in a good way) and can’t wait to see it again.

One of my absolute favourite films of the year, (and the music’s good too….)