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It's ALIVE!!!

Frankenweenie is an unusual film from the mind of Tim Burton. The movie is a remake of a short movie with the same name that he made in 1984. It is also both a parody of and an homage to the 1931 film Frankenstein, which in turn was loosely based on Mary Shelley's 1818 book of the same name.

Set in the 1960s, Victor Frankenstein is reimagined as a young American boy with an interest in science. He doesn't really have many friends, but he really does love his dog Sparky, and even creates movies starring him. After Sparky is killed 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 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 of day in American theaters (it was initially supposed to be attached to reissues of The Jungle Book and then Pinocchio prior to this), though it managed to secure a theatrical run in the UK. 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 received 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. This version expands the story with some of Victor's fellow students discovering Sparky's miracle revival and deciding to create their own monster animals out of pets both living and dead. This only serves to bring more chaos to the town.

This was Disney's last theatrically released horror film for seven years, until 2019’s Ready or Not (albeit via Searchlight Pictures).


This film contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
  • Adaptation Expansion: The 2012 remake expands the cast and story of the original. For one, it adds the ongoing plot with the science fair, which causes each of the kids minus Victor to become aggressive competitors.
  • Adaptational Name Change: Victor's parents were named Alphonse and Caroline, but are renamed Edward and Susan. Igor meanwhile is renamed Edgar Gore.
  • Adaptational Nationality: Victor and his family are now American instead of Swiss like in the book.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: A double example when it comes to Victor.
    • In the original novel Victor was dedicated towards making the Creature simply to see if he could, and was immediately horrified by his creation. In this film Victor was motivated out of love to bring his dead dog back and continues to love him after he succeeds.
    • In regards to the original short, Victor was an ordinary kid who films monster movies with his Precious Puppy and turns to science to save his beloved pet from the grave. He's pretty calm and dresses in the normal clothes of the time period. Here, Victor is also an introverted and passionate scientist; his parents try to encourage him to go out and do things like play baseball.
  • Affectionate Parody/Homage: Of not only Frankenstein, but 1950's sci-fi horror films. The second trailer is even called "Homage."
  • Age Lift: A full grown adult in the original novel, Victor in this film is a child. Igor is usually an adult, but like Victor is made a child.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: "Wonder Volt" by Kaela Kimura is the theme song for the Japanese version.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: At first glance, the setting seems to be somewhere between The '50s and The '60s. You can tell it from the look of the cars, clothes, or domestic electrical. Plus Mrs Frankenstein is an Housewife, there is (save for Toshiaki and Nassor) a Monochrome Casting as if the segregation was still in effect, there are no cell phones (but there are phone booths), people film in super 8... It make sense if you consider that Victor is an Author Avatar, and Tim Burton was a kid in The '60s. And yet, Pluto demoted from its planet title is evoked (it happened in 2006). Also, Bob suggest to use a computer simulation rather than him as a guinea pig for the scientific experience of Toshiaki. And the Barbie doll Weird girl is seen playing with have a contemporary look.
  • Ambition is Evil: Edgar, Bob, Nassor and Toshiaki's desire to win the science fair leads to all hell breaking loose.
  • Animation Bump: Actually inverted with the 2012 remake. Burton noted that, during the production of Corpse Bride, 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.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Lightning can apparently do a multitude of magical things.
  • Artistic License – Biology: For a movie that reveres science so much, it sure has some strange ideas about what science can do. Somewhat justified in that it's an Escapist Fantasy about bringing your pet back to life after a senseless accident.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever / Kaiju: Toshiaki's tortoise, Shelley. He's really neat, though not exactly "friend to all children."
  • Attack of the Town Festival: The resurrected animals break loose and wreak havoc on the Dutch Day festival.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Inverted; according to the book Burton on Burton Disney wanted a G rating on the 1984 short film 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.
  • Bait-and-Switch Character Intro: When we first see Colossus, one of the undead pets, he's seen with a huge shadow and his footsteps were making loud booming noises. As it turns out, he's only a small hamster; the booming was because he was in an echo-y tomb.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: Sparky and Mr. Whiskers battle inside a flaming windmill.
  • Big "NO!": Twice, both from Victor. For added dramatic effect, he's even in the exact same pose both times: he has the exact same expression on his face, the same exact recording of the shout is used, and his parents are gripping him by the arms so he won't impulsively run forward into danger.
  • Big Shadow, Little Creature: The reveal that Colossus is ironically named (though to be fair, he did appear to be quite hefty for a hamster).
  • Bilingual Bonus: Toshiaki mumbles, "Where did you go?" in Japanese when his experiment on Shelley the tortoise seems to have failed.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On the one hand, the adults realize they were being jerks towards Sparky and his humans when Sparky pulls a Heroic Sacrifice saving Victor and Elsa from a burning mill. They help revive Sparky a second time, and he renews his budding romance with Persephone. On the other, the rest of the kids had to relive their pets dying a second time while becoming carried away with resurrecting them. They will also probably be grounded forever for causing an undead rampage.
  • Bizarre Beverage Use: Toshaki and Bob try to make a jetpack using shaken-up bottles of soda. Unfortunately, it only works for a short moment, and Bob ends up breaking his arm after falling off the roof.
  • Body Horror: Mr Whiskers' transformation into a cat-bat.
  • A Boy and His X: In this case, a boy and his undead dog.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Mr. Rzykruski. He's flamboyant and eccentric, teaching science in a remarkably theatrical manner, but he does manage to teach his subject with accuracy and (somewhat) competence.
  • Came Back Wrong: Not Sparky himself, but the other animals Victor's classmates try to revive.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Cats Are Mean: When fused with a possibly-rabid, possibly-vampire bat via mad science!
  • Comedic Work, Serious Scene: Frankenweenie is horror elements played comedically, but what kickstarts the plot is a dog named Sparky getting hit by a car and dying. This causes a lot of sadness for the Frankensteins, especially Victor, which is what causes him to reanimate him.
  • Creepy Child: This being a Tim Burton production, pretty much every kid in the thing is a tad disturbing in their own way, but Weird Girl takes the gold.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Literally with Shelley against Colossus.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The movie being in black-and-white is just another homage to Universal Horror films.
  • Dirty Coward: The mayor, who hides behind his niece when the monsters attack then flees for his own life. He shortly gets his Laser-Guided Karma.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Shelley is electrified and brought back to her/his tiny and dead state. It was by this time that you probably forgot about Mr. Whiskers.
  • Disney Death: The first example of a death doesn't quite count because the audience knew going into the theater that this movie was about a boy bringing his dead dog back to life. The second example of a death counts, because Sparky dies a second time after Mr. Whiskers drags him back into a burning windmill, said burning windmill then killing both Mr. Whiskers and Sparky. However, this time Victor's parents give Victor explicit permission to bring Sparky back to life, which he does.
  • Dog Stereotype:
    • Played straight with Persephone, at least in terms of "poodles are always female."
    • Averted with Sparky; bull terriers are usually portrayed as large and vicious, but Sparky is friendly, affectionate and good with kids, which is more accurate to how the breed is in real life.
  • Ear Ache: At one point in the film, Sparky scratches his ear, causing it to fall off. Victor quickly reattaches it.
  • Enthusiastic Newbie Teacher: Victor's class gets a new science teacher named Mr. Ryzkruzki after their old one gets struck by lightning (it's never said if he died or not). Mr. Ryzkruski is very excitable, loud, and poetic.
  • Evil Laugh: Toshiaki does one when he pulls out his video camera after Bob and Victor go to the "Dutch Festival" after seeing mutated Shelley.
    • One of the mutated sea monkeys does one to Mr. Burgermeister when they pop out of the portable toilet he's hiding in.
  • Expy:
  • Family-Unfriendly Death:
    • Mr. Whiskers, after being transformed into a Vampire Cat by Weird Girl's attempt to replicate Victor's experiment, gets impaled by a flaming beam within the New Holland windmill while fighting Sparky. They don't show the impact, but you do see the aftermath.
    • Not to mention Sparky himself, offscreen. Judging by all those seams and patches holding his body together, it's not hard to imagine what he looked like at the scene of the car accident.
    • The sea-monkeys die by eating popcorn and exploding into liquidy guts. And this movie got a PG rating.
  • Fantastic Aesop. You should be prepared to accept death and let go of loved ones, but if you're capable of re-animating the dead, go right ahead!
  • Final Boss: Mr Whiskers is the final mutant animal that Victor and Sparky have to face.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • "Goodbye Kitty" was there for more than just a Visual Pun.
    • When Sparky is running through the pet cemetery, a headstone reading "Shelley" is seen. Later, it's revealed that this was Toshiaki's pet turtle, who he resurrects for his science fair project.
    • When the undead Sparky gets out while Victor's at school. He casts a shadow on the piece of cloth Bob's mother hangs out on the clothesline to dry. The shadow Sparky casts looks similar to the were-rat Edgar creates.
    • How Sparky growls at the invisible-fish, foreshadowing how the animals that Edgar, Bob and Toshiaki's resurrected dead animals turn out quite disastrous.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The kids who try to replicate Victor's experiment with disastrous results.
    • The mischievous, friend-hungry, and always-smiling Edgar "E" Gore (Sanguine).
    • The dangerously ambitious Toshiaki (Choleric), who creates the plan to upstage Victor.
    • The bleak and cynical Nassor (Melancholic), who often falls into The Comically Serious.
    • The eccentric and always calm Weird Girl (Phlegmatic).
    • The gullible and easily-swayed Bob (Eclectic).
  • Franken-X: Victor revives his dead dog Sparky, an event that causes terror in his neighborhood. And then other kids start copying Victor, with the various revived animals wreaking havoc.
  • Good Parents: Victor's parents, Susan and Edward Frankenstein. They're supportive of Victor's passions, take his grief over losing Sparky seriously, and do everything in their power to look out for Victor's wellbeing.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Sparky's death. His body isn't seen when he gets hit by the car, but Victor's expression is enough to tell the story.
  • Goth: Due to the black and white colour of the movie it's hard to tell. But Elsa's clothes in her first few scenes and her monotone voice suggests this.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Shown in a flashback when Weird Girl relates when Mr. Whiskers dreamed about Bob; later that day, Bob went for ice cream and didn't see where he was going until he was standing over an open manhole which he fell into.
  • Hammerspace: At one point, Toshiaki pulled out his video camera from some unspecified place behind his back.
  • Hard Truth Aesop:
    • It's okay to be "weird"—as long as you're careful about the consequences of your actions.
    • Science is a labor of love and should be practiced by people who are passionate and have good intentions. If not, the results will be disappointing at best, and horrific at worst.
  • Heroic Canines, Villainous Felines: Sparky and Mr. Whiskers.
  • Heroic Dog: Sparky at the film's climax. He's the one who leads the town to where Mr. Whiskers has taken Elsa, he's the one who beats Mr. Whiskers, and he ultimately helps Victor and Elsa get away... At the cost of his own life, since Mr. Whiskers drags him back into the burning windmill to die along with him.
  • High-Voltage Death:
    • The were-rat gets killed when it accidentally bites one of Sparky's bolts, causing it to revert back to a dead rat.
    • Victor takes out the giant turtle by electrifying a puddle of spilled beer it's standing in.
  • The Igor: Subverted. The trailers made it look like Edgar "E" Gore was going to be one of these, but while undeniably inspired by the concept, Edgar doesn't actually get to fill the role of being a Mad Scientist's assistant and Victor doesn't want him to. However, Edgar does share some of the personality traits of Bela Lugosi's Ygor character in the sense that he is less servile than the typical Igor, and that he openly encourages the resident Frankenstein to experiment with re-animation.
  • Injured Limb Episode: When Bob and his friend do the experiment to see if the shaken-up soda bottles will make Bob fly, it doesn't work, resulting in Bob falling off the roof and breaking his arm.
  • Inscrutable Oriental: Toshiaki. He's serious, stoic, and wears a dour expression throughout the entire movie.
  • Idiot Ball: What exactly was going through Nassor's head by having his resurrected yet normal hamster going against Toshiaki's gigantic mutated tortoise?
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Edgar, according to the junior novel. Along with the fact he wants to be with the cool kids and sit with them at lunchtime.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Edger and Victor have an extended version of this when Edger comes to confront Victor about resurrecting Sparky.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: During the fight in the windmill, Mr. Whiskers gets hit by a falling piece of rafter and is brutally impaled.
  • Japanese Ranguage: Toshiaki has a mild form of this, though it's somewhat justified by his Japanese accent.
  • Jump Scare: When the, there is one when the reanimated rat attacks the camera.
  • Killed Off for Real: Averted twice by Sparky, but played straight with Mr. Whiskers and the other lightning-animated critters.
  • Large Ham: Mr. Rzykruski's speech about the purity of teaching to children comes off as malevolent because of his hammy overtures.
    • Nassor is in ham mode full time.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Played straight. It even does different things to each animal brought back from the dead (based on "uncontrolled variables.") However, Shelley's growth was most likely helped by a can of Miracle-Gro fertilizer that Toshiaki happened to have around.
    • Possibly justified in that, for unknown reasons, the town has a thunderstorm every single night, indicating there may be something unusual about these particular bolts.
  • Logo Joke: The Disney logo plays as normal with slightly altered music, but near the end, a Scare Chord is played and the music becomes creepier. The logo follows suit as color is drained from it, an Ominous Fog appears around the castle and a storm replaces the previously starry sky as the word "Disney" appears.
  • Lying Finger Cross: Edgar crosses his fingers when he promises to Victor that Edgar won't tell anyone about Victor's method of bringing animals back to life. He does at first keep Sparky's existence specifically a secret, but he tells the other kids about his "invisible fish" in order to win favor and eventually lets the part about Sparky slip without meaning to, which is what leads to the other kids trying to resurrect dead pets back to life as well.
  • Mad Scientist: Subverted. Mr. Rzykruski is an eccentric scientist, but he is the Only Sane Man.
    • Victor plays the role of one, though he doesn't actually fit the trope—he isn't arrogant, is fully aware that what he's doing isn't exactly ethical, and is too mild-mannered to be considered "mad."
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Nassor's name means "victor" in Egyptian.
    • Persephone, the poodle who falls in love with Sparky, shares her name with the wife of Hades in Greek mythology.
    • Mr. Burgermeister's surname is also his occupationnote .
    • Shelley refers, of course, to Mary Shelley—the author of the original "Frankenstein" (as well as being a pun on the fact that it's a tortoise).
    • Sparky is reanimated by electricity.
    • Elsa van Helsing is a double one, referring to both Elsa Lanchester and Van Helsing himself.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The homage trailer shows Weird Girl holding the paper with Mr. Whiskers'..."message" to Victor in the shape of a skull and crossbones. In the movie, it's just a turd in the shape of a V.
  • Monster Mash: Well, almost. There's a vampire cat, a hamster mummy, an invisible fish, a werewolfish rat, a kaiju turtle, Gillman-like sea monkeys, and, of course, a Frankenweenie.
  • Mummy Wrap: Nassor ends up mummified by streamers and trapped inside a cabinet.
  • National Stereotypes: Toshiaki, who is stoic, willing to go to extremes to win the science fair, cunning and underhanded, creates a kaiju from his pet turtle and is obsessed with catching everything on film, even if it endangers his own life to do so.
  • Never My Fault: When Bob breaks his arm doing a science experiment, no one accepts that Mr. Ryzkruzki had no control over the experiment they were going to do, and the parents latch onto him as a scapegoat rather than maybe monitor their kids' homework. Victor's parents argue to at least give the man a chance to defend himself.
  • No Antagonist: Throughout the movie, both Victor and Sparky have to deal with mean adults, creepy children and dangerous monsters, but there is no single antagonist causing the central conflict, i.e. learning to accept the undead dog.
  • Notzilla: Shelley the turtle is turned into a cross between Godzilla and Gamera.
  • Obviously Evil: Mr. Rzykruski looks to be this with a creepy tall body, long face, and jagged teeth. However this is subverted, as he is actually very nice and the only sane adult. That is, when he isn't brutally insulting people to their face.
    • Nassor, being a Large Ham who looks and sounds like Boris Karloff, is pretty obviously set up as a villain the first time we see him.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. There are two characters named Bob: the fat kid and Mr. Burgermeister.
  • Only Sane Man: Mr. Ryzkruzki of all people is this as a science teacher. While he is hammy and good at insulting people without meaning to, he understands that science is not inherently good or bad. As he tells Victor, what matters is your intention with science: are you going to do something out of love, or out of glory? Intentions will determine the outcome. Once he exits the movie, the kids go off the rails.
  • Oracular Urchin: Weird Girl, via Mr. Whiskers and his litterbox.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Edgar, the creepy hunchbacked kid who discovers the resurrected Sparky.
  • Perpetual Storm: It's mentioned by the students that the town they live in has lightning storms practically every night.
  • Personality Powers: All of the monsters the kids raise from the dead resemble them in some way:
    • The short Japanese student Toshiaki makes a Gamera-esque turtle.
    • The Igor-like Edgar creates a hunchbacked rat.
    • The creepy pale Weird Girl turns her cat into a monstrous hybrid.
    • The tall Boris Karloff-inspired Nassor creates a hamster mummy.
  • Pluto Is Expendable: One of the complaints the parents lodge against Mr. Rzykruski is that he doesn't consider Pluto to be a planet any more.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In this case, it kills your career. Mr. Rzykruski, in all of his hamminess, is very passionate about science and teaching it to others. This, unfortunately, translates to him trying to defend his position as science teacher by saying that he "rip[s] open the children's heads to get to their brains."
  • Possession Presumes Guilt: The citizens think Sparky the zombie dog killed Elsa the mayor's niece because he was holding her wig.
  • Prophetic Name: The dog who gets reanimated by lightning is named Sparky.
  • Punny Name: Edgar's full name is Edgar Gore, aka "E Gore."
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Victor's parents are very understanding and supportive of their son's hobbies and quirks, even after learning he brought his dog back to life. Though Edward is a little pushy at getting Victor to try sports, it's only because he worries that Victor doesn't spend much time with people other than Sparky (which, to be fair, he doesn't). Best shown when they are the only ones to speak up for Mr. Rzykruski at the town hall meeting.
  • Reconstruction: Of the original Frankenstein story. Victor Frankenstein here does resurrect a creature from the dead, but it's his beloved pet. As a result, he dotes on Sparky both before and after the accident, treating him with love and affection. He even makes sure that Sparky has the proper food to eat: electricity! It allows Sparky to remain normal and a Precious Puppy in turn. The other pets, in contrast, have more in common with Franksenstein's monster in that they are rampaging mindlessly because they weren't resurrected with love or care.
  • Retro Universe: Word of God is that that while the setting appears to be The '50s, it's not quite that, yet not quite present day either, with the closest reference to a modern-day event being a parent complaining how Pluto doesn't qualify as a planet anymore, which happened in 2006.
  • The Rival: While all of the kids want to stop Victor from winning the science fair, Toshiaki is the only one who sees Victor as a genuine rival (at least when it comes to science).
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Played straight with the dead rat Edger reanimates, causing it to grow to the size of a child. Averted with Colossus, whose name remains non-indicative even after reanimation as a hamster mummy.
  • Saying Too Much: How the other kids find out that Victor has come up with a way to bring animals back to life. The other kids accuse Edgar of lying about his "invisible fish," and in his rush to defend himself, Edgar insists that Victor can bring animals back to life, because that's how Victor brought Sparky back.
  • Science Is Bad: Played with, but then resoundingly defied. While Mr. Rzykruski says science is neither good nor bad, he also says that it can be used both ways. He says that science needs love to work well. By the end of the movie, however, the science-fearing townsfolk are shown to be unambiguously wrong by the only actual qualified scientist in town.
    • Also played with.
  • Sea Aping: Bob conducts electricity into his "Sea Creatures" which turn into small monsters that resemble a cross between a monkey and the Gill-Man from Creature from the Black Lagoon.
  • Secret Pet Plot: The young Frankenstein and his parents own a dog named Sparky. When Sparky dies from being hit by a car, Victor reanimates him and keeps the zombie dog secret from his parents.
  • Shout-Out:
    • For starters, Victor Frankenstein, which is the name of the scientist who created the infamous monster.
    • The gravestone across from Sparky's, on which Victor piles the dirt as he's digging Sparky out reads "Goodbye Kitty" with a picture of Hello Kitty with X's on its eyes on it.
    • Elsa is named after Elsa Lanchester, who played the title role in Bride of Frankenstein (that she is an expy of Lydia Deetz just adds to the fun). Her poodle Persephone gets her very own Bride of Frankenstein beehive hairdo, compliments of a static charge from Sparky.
    • Mr. Burgermeister is named after Burgermeister Meisterburger of Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town fame.
    • Nassor and his mummy hamster are a reference to Boris Karloff's role in the 1932 version of The Mummy. Nassor's flat hair is also a reference to Frankenstein's Monster, a role that Karloff famously played.
      • Nassor getting wrapped up in streamers and then falling into a matryoshka-shaped cabinet riffs on Karloff being mummified alive in the 1932 film.
    • Similarly, Edgar is modeled on Fritz and Ygor, two characters fulfilling the same purpose from the Karloff Frankenstein movies. Though he looks more like the one from Young Frankenstein.
    • The mutated Sea-Monkeys tiny Fish People, probably a reference to Creature from the Black Lagoon (and possibly Gremlins), given the movies penchant for Universal monster movies.
    • The goldfish is pretty much a straight-up shout-out to The Invisible Man (1933), right up to it starting to go mad before disappearing altogether.
    • Elsa's last name is "van Helsing."
    • Toshiaki's giant turtle monster looks like a cross between Gamera and Godzilla. Of course, it's also named Shelley.
    • The general premise of the movie (a person's loved one is killed, and out of grief he digs up the corpse and resurrects it, creating a myriad of unintended consequences) seems very much like an homage to Pet Sematary, down to the loved one being run over while chasing a toy of some kind. The use of the The Ramones' Pet Sematary seems to compound this only further.
    • And the Mr. Whiskers / bat hybrid monster is notably vampire-like, though its means of creation mirrors The Fly.
    • Edgar's re-animated rat becomes bipedal, sprouts loads of fangs, and attacks in the manner of a movie werewolf.
    • The angry mob and burning windmill are oft repeated homages to Frankenstein (1931).
    • Mr. Rzykruski's look is based on horror veteran Vincent Price.
    • Mr. Whiskers' transformation sequence is right out of An American Werewolf in London.
    • Man hiding in a portable toilet to escape giant reptilian creature. This time thankfully the man doesn't get eaten.
    • Victor's parents hide into a phone booth which is stormed by the sea monkeys. The scene is reminiscent of the bird attacks in The Birds.
    • Bambi Meets Godzilla: The Colossus versus Shelley scene. Later, the movie theater sign shows Bambi and Godzilla films as now playing.
      • Nassor's and Toshiaki's pets battling may also be a reference to Mons battling. Nassor even yells, "Go, Colossus!" before setting him down.
    • The movie itself could also be a metaphor for stop motion in general, in the sense that one of the major themes is the animation (or reanimation) of dead bodies.
  • Slurpasaur: Victor dressed Sparky up to play a kaiju in his homemade film.
  • Soda Can Shakeup: Bob and Toshaki try to make a jet pack out of shaken-up soda bottles, but it doesn't work and Bob breaks his arm.
  • Straw Nihilist: Nassor, who has a bleak, "doomsday" view on life.
  • Stylistic Suck: By Burton's own admission. The film's stop-motion animation could've easily been animated more smoothly like its rival movie, ParaNorman, but Burton declined to do so as he wanted the film's stop-motion to be a little stiff with the movement in keeping with the horror vibe of the film.
  • Suburbia: The setting of the movie.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Victor's home movie ends with this phrase. So does one of the trailers.
  • The Power of Love: This is why Victor's attempt to bring Sparky back to life worked, and the lack of it is why the other kids eventually bringing animals back to life doesn't work and just turns them into monsters.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Mr. Rzykruski attempts to give one of these to the townspeople after they blame him for the "science experiment" that resulted in one student breaking his arm. He labels their behavior insane, explains that he was trying to expand the students' minds, and that their charges against him are unfounded. The speech doesn't work; he's fired and his position is replaced by the gym teacher, who knows nothing of science. It also didn't help at the fact he stated all of this by calling them idiots and saying he wanted to crack the kids' heads open in his description.
  • Running Over the Plot: Sparky the dog gets fatally hit by a car, prompting Victor to reanimate him and kicking off the plot.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: After seeing the kaiju-ified Shelley, Nassor sets his pet hamster Colossus on Shelley. While it's set up to seem like Colossus has a hidden skill that will help him fight, it turns out that he really is just a hamster and gets curbstomped by Shelley.
  • Toilet Humor:
    Weird Girl: Mr Whiskers left a message.
    Victor: ...Did you get that from the litter box?
  • Torches and Pitchforks: Well, just torches—it is suburbia, after all. Still, even torches out of nowhere is pretty out there.
  • Überwald: At least, the closest one can make American suburbia into this trope. Many of the characters have Germanic or Slavic last names (Frankenstein, Van Helsing, Burgermeister, Rzykruski), and the town of New Holland celebrates a Dutch Day.
    • Mr. Rzykruski's home country may well be Überwald, considering his accent and his comment that back home, "everyone is scientist."
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Two examples. First, Mr. Whiskers is responsible for the resurrected Sparky leaving the house the first time and causing trouble, providing quasi-justification to the mayor's feelings of animosity towards Sparky. Second, Edgar finds out Victor's secret, and then tries to use it to win favor for himself by means of an "invisible fish." This causes a chain reaction that eventually leads to Edgar letting slip the fact that Victor's methods can resurrect animals, which is what leads to the other kids turning their dead pets into monsters by accident and almost getting the town destroyed.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Victor decides to go this route in bringing Sparky back from death. Unfortunately, Toshiaki decides to do the same thing with other animals in order to one-up Victor, which goes horrifically wrong.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The invisible fish does not come up again after its apparent disappearance.
    • None of the other kids are seen or mentioned after the chaos in the town square. Nassor is stuck in a cabinet, but the others may just be hiding given that their parents will probably ground them for life...
    • In fact, the movie has no epilogue. This seems to be par for the course for Burton.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Nassor.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Weird Girl’s eyes have these.

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