- Associated Press - Thursday, July 12, 2012

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Tim Burton knows what it’s like to be a boy with a dead dog.

The filmmaker came to the Comic-Con fan convention Thursday to show footage of “Frankenweenie,” his expanded take on Burton’s 1984 short film of the same name.

The film tells the story of a boy who brings his beloved dog back to life after the pet dies in an accident, using a kid’s variation of Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory.

“It stemmed from having a dead dog when I was a child and that sort of special first relationship you have with a pet,” said Burton, who later mixed in his love of monster movies such as “Dracula” and “Frankenstein.” “I just wanted to mix all of those elements, the horror, the humor, the heart of the story.”

Unlike the live-action original, the feature-length version is done in black and white through stop-motion animation using puppets meticulously shot one frame at a time.

Burton, who began as an animator, says it was a new experience back then to work with live actors but that the stop-motion version is the more pure take on his story.

“It’s nice to be able to shoot it this way,” Burton said. “It’s like little sets, and you shoot it like a live-action film. The puppets are so tactile. They’re amazing to feel and to touch.”

“Frankenweenie” hits theaters Oct. 5.

The voice cast includes Winona Ryder, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Landau.

The footage Burton showed off featured the filmmaker’s take on classic horror movie images and lines, including a dog with “Bride of Frankenstein” hair and one of the boy’s school chums uttering the mad scientist line “It’s alive.”

Burton answered questions from fans during his preview panel, among them queries from a group dressed as characters from his films, such as “Alice in Wonderland,” “Beetlejuice” and this summer’s “Dark Shadows.”

“It’s great,” Burton said. “It feels like my family has come to see me.”

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