The Horror Honeys: Honey Switch Month ~ Frankenweenie (1984)

Honey Switch Month ~ Frankenweenie (1984)

A January Switch - Head Honey Review by Lisa

Back when the Disney Channel was a new thing on television, they were masters of supplying Halloween programming throughout the month of October. One of my very favorite pieces of Halloween entertainment was Frankenweenie. This 1984 short film from Tim Burton is exactly why he was fired from Disney. They claimed that he had wasted studio resources and, ultimately, created something far too dark for children. Being fired wasn’t enough, though. Disney also refused to release it in theaters as originally planned. Instead of showing before the re-release of Pinnochio as intended, it was shelved. Thankfully, new cable channels are often starving for programming and Frankenweenie could be seen every October. 

If you’ve seen one Tim Burton film, you’ve kind of seen them all, so it’s refreshing to see his first project. Filmed in black and white, he used lighting exceptionally well and the whole thing feels like an old movie. Opening with a home made monster movie, starring his dog Sparky, we meet Victor Frankenstein. After the untimely death of Sparky, he becomes an exceptionally talented scientist and brings Sparky back to life. 

Set in the suburbia of Burton’s nightmares, everyone is very closed minded and Victor and Sparky end up facing some opposition. After an unfortunate meet and greet, Sparky proves that he’s just the same as he was before and a truly sweet moment of human kindness brings everyone together. As charming and heartwarming as Edward Scissorhands and as magical as The Nightmare Before Christmas, Frankenweenie packs a lot of horror themed sweetness into half an hour. 

In 2012, Burton released a full-length stop motion version of Frankenweenie. My ardent love of the original has prevented me from seeing this because, as far as I’m concerned, it was already perfect the way it is. 

Do you love the original Frankenweenie?
Tell Lisa on Twitter: @lcfremont

Frankenweenie is available on iTunes, Vudu, and as an extra on the 2012 blu-ray/DVD