When young Victor's pet dog Sparky (who stars in Victor's home-made monster movies) is hit by a car, Victor decides to bring him back to life the only way he knows how. But when the bolt-necked "monster" wreaks havoc and terror in the hearts of Victor's neighbors, he has to convince them (and his parents) that despite his appearance, Sparky's still the good loyal friend he's always been. Written by
Tim Burton was fired from Disney for "wasting" their resources on films like this which they deemed too scary for family viewing. That did not stop Disney from releasing it on VHS after Burton became famous, although only in a censored version. The The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) DVD is its first uncensored appearance on home video. See more »
The Frankenstein legend from a child's perspective, with a gentle sense of humor
It's hard not to like this film. You'll especially enjoy it if you've seen (a) James Whale's "Frankenstein" and "Bride of Frankenstein," and (b) Tim Burton's "Nightmare Before Christmas."
The plot is basically the Frankenstein legend. The variation is that it's about a little boy whose dog has been hit by a car. The boy raises the dog from the dead a la Frankenstein. Charming complications ensue.
This was Tim Burton's first film, and it's a great harbinger of things to come. Burton was an animator at Disney, but the company thought he was a little too weird and let him go as an animator. This film shows how he would treat children's films, and it's delightful. You'll recognize the art direction, especially in the graveyard, from "Nightmare."
The film does a wonderful job of including nuances from the Whale flicks, from the electrodes on the dog's neck to the resuscitation lab to the brief parody of "Bride."
There's enough scary-ish stuff (slightly more gentle than meeting the Almighty Oz) to keep kids going, and enough recognizable movie riffs and humor to keep adults going. What's not to like?
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