Isn’t it funny how tastes change? Back in 1984, a young Tim Burton made a black-and-white live action short called Frankenweenie which got him fired from Disney for making a film too scary for family audiences. Fast-forward to 2010 and Disney had one of their greatest successes with Burton’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, and macabre stories are more popular than ever thanks in part to the ground laid by Burton’s post-Frankenweenie features such as Edward Scissorhands. Now the company has bankrolled a feature-length retelling of Burton’s Frankenstein homage/parody, in black-and-white stop motion animation. The film tells the story of Victor (Charlie Tahan), a young boy who loses his beloved dog Sparky and harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life. The voice cast includes Burton-regulars Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder, Martin Landau, Martin Short, Conchata Ferrel, and an uncredited Christopher Lee. To be honest I was done with Burton after the dreadful Alice in Wonderland — and I’m not the least bit excited about his forthcoming gothic soap opera Dark Shadows — but after seeing this first trailer for Frankenweenie I’m cautiously optimistic. The animation reminds me of 2005’s enjoyable Corpse Bride, and the similarity shouldn’t come as a surprise given that a number of the same people worked on both films including animation director Trey Thomas (who was an animator on Fantastic Mr. Fox, Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas). I wouldn’t say the trailer has completely sold me on the film — I’m far more excited about Laika’s ParaNorman— but let’s just say I’m intrigued at this point.
Frankenweenie is due October 5. Watch the first trailer below (via Slashfilm).
Watch Tim Burton’s 1984 short Frankenweenie below.