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Victor Frankenstein is a young boy who creates movies starring his dog, Sparky. After Sparky is hit by a car, Victor learns at school about electrical impulses in muscles, and gets the idea to bring his pet back to life. He creates elaborate machines which bring down a bolt of lightning that revives the dog. While Victor is pleased, his neighbors are terrified by the animal, and when the Frankensteins decide to introduce the revitalized Sparky to them, they become angry and afraid. The movie stars Shelly Duvall, Daniel Stern, and Barret Oliver. The movie was first made as a short film in 1984 by Tim Burton for Disney, which resulted in his termination from the studio under the idea the movie was too scary for children. The film was shelved and didn't see the light in U.S. Theaters but managed a theatrical run in the U.K. Despite the trouble, the film caught the attention of Paul Reubens who would champion Burton for directing on his film Pee Wee's Big Adventure which would be Burton's feature length film debut. The film is getting a feature length remake as a Black and White Stop-Motion Animation film in 2012 with Tim returning as director and his long time composing partner Danny Elfman. The cast includes Catherine O'Hara, Winona Ryder, Martin Landau, Martin Short, Robert Capron, Atticus Shaffer, Charlie Tahan and Conchata Ferrell, and Glen Shadix in his final role following his death in 2010.
This film contains examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: The 2012 remake, which expands the cast and story of the original.
- Animation Bump: Actually inverted with the 2012 remake. Burton noted that during the production of Corpse Bride that many people thought the puppets moved with such fluidity that they mistook the animation with that of actual CG; he thought it undermined the beauty of the artform, and thus decided to make the animation cruder for this film.
- Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Inverted; according to the book Burton on Burton Disney wanted a G rating but the movie was given a PG rating. Though Burton asked the MPAA what he could do to get a G rating, the MPAA said there was nothing he could do to have the rating changed.
- Expy: Victor is essentialy a younger version of Vincent Van Dort.
- Shout-Out: Sparky pre-transformation looks very similar to another Burton canine.
- The End - or Is It?: The trailer ends with this phrase!