This fall brings a trio of creepy kiddie flicks, from Laika's ParaNorman to Genndy Tartakovsky's Hotel Transylvania and Disney's Frankenweenie, but only the last comes from the peculiar mind of Tim Burton. Based on his 1984 live-action short of the same name, Frankenweenie centers on an inventive young boy named Victor Frankenstein whose passion for science is only matched by his deep devotion to his dear dog Sparky. So when Sparky meets a premature end, Victor takes his scientific know-how to raise his beloved pup from the dead.
The film's latest trailer showed several elements that pay clear homage to Burton's admitted idol, Vincent Price. Before his death in 1993, the master of old school terror had worked with Burton a handful of times, most memorably playing the mad scientist who created the misunderstood monster at the center of Edward Scissorhands. Mimicking the look of many of Price's films, Burton has opted to make Frankenweenie black and white, taking his penchant for pallor to its natural next step. But the clearest allusion to his long-admired mentor is the character design of Mr. Rzykruski. Voiced by recurring Burton collaborator Martin Landau, Rzykruski the science teacher who accidentally inspires Victor to raise the dead. Take a look at him—along with a string of other curious characters from Frankenweenie--below.
Of course another obvious influence on Frankenweenie is James Whale's classic Frankenstein. The stature, haircut and grim countenance of Nassor (voiced by Martin Short) is a clear descendent of Boris Karloff's iconic monster portrayal. But despite his physical similarities to Frankenstein's monster, Nassor is a shrewd and serious young man who gets wind of Victor's science experiment and won't be stopped until he uncovers the truth.
Also culled from the tropes of classic horror is the name and character design for the treacherous toadie Edgar “E” Gore. Desperate for friends, Edgar (voiced by Atticus Shaffer) is eager to be Victor's science partner and confidante, but when breaking his promise of secrecy could allow for more buddies, he proves to be less than loyal.
And last but not least is a character known only as "weird girl." Voiced by Catherine O'Hara, she is a misfit thanks to her penchant for doling out ominous warnings with an eerie stare. Well, it wouldn't be a Tim Burton movie without a haunted and lonely girl, would it?
Frankenweenie opens October 5th. To see more from the movie, head over to our Blend Film Database.