The mayor of the town is Mr. Burgermeister, which means "mayor" in German. His name/appearance is also a homage to Burgermeister Meisterburger, the antagonist of the stop-motion film Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (1970).
The film's release spawned a fan theory that this film, and Burton's other two stop motion animated films, The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) and Corpse Bride (2005), all are taking place in a shared continuity, and tell one big story spanning several centuries, and the possibility that Victor Frankenstein and Sparky are descendants of Victor Dort and Scraps from Corpse Bride (2005).
The demonstration that Mr. Rzykruski shows in class of the frog's legs twitching when given electricity is based on actual experiments in 1771 by Italian physicist Luigi Galvani, who was the first to discover that the legs of dead frogs and other dead creatures twitched and moved when sparked by electricity. This led to the study of bio-electricity and further study of the nervous system and its functions. The study of "galvanic" effects in biology is named after Galvani, who is seen as the discoverer of bio-electricity. Several of Tim Burton's movies have played with this theme, most notably Frankenweenie and Edward Scissorhands.
Mr. Rzykruski looks a lot like Vincent Price, an actor by whose films Tim Burton was influenced. Vincent Price also played Dracula now the 1958 movie that Victor's parents aren't watching during the lightning storm.
Nassor is strongly similar in appearance and speech to the original monster from Frankenstein (1931) while his hamster is a Mummy. Both Frankenstein's monster and The Mummy (1932) were played by the actor Boris Karloff.
While Tim Burton based the town of New Holland on a similar town in which he grew up outside Burbank, California, Disney officially chose New Holland, Pennsylvania as the town where the film takes place. After the principal of New Holland Elementary School (also the name of the school in the film) contacted Burton and the film's producers about the fictional town's similarities to New Holland, PA, Disney representatives brought movie segments and promotional materials to the school. Disney representatives also brought a parade float to New Holland's fall festival. New Holland, PA is also known for its Pennsylvania Dutch background and holds a fall festival similar to the "Dutch Day" in the film.
Burton stated in an interview for the CBBC show Blue Peter (1958) that if the studio had said they would not permit him to do the film in black and white, he would leave the project as he felt it reflected the classic horror movie style of the the film.
The town's name New Holland was once the name of the island continent of Australia from the mid 1600s till the 1800s. It was named by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman after whom the Australian island state Tasmania was named.