ByOlivia van der Will, writer at

Tim Burton is one of my favorite directors; his films always have his unique stamp firmly placed on them and his artistry is just incredible. You can always tell it's a Tim Burton film when you are watching one of his creations. I just love how the films so often blend horror with fantasy, adopting a similar style so that each film already seems familiar.

Even the characters come across as ones we may have seen before. Could this just be Burton's style of creating characters or are these films really just one big story running together? I am always amazed by the fan theories I read online and how people take fandom and curiosity to a new level.

'The Burton Theory' is an ongoing fan theory which connects all of Burton's original films together. Since 2013 Tumblr user ScreenNameMissing has been piecing together the connections - could this really be one big movie?

Jack sure looks skeptical...

The Theory

All of Tim Burton’s original films (Frankenweenie, Vincent, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Nightmare Before Christmas and, Corpse Bride) are connected.

Let's see how this theory adds up...

Vincent Malloy

It all begins with Vincent, Tim Burton's delightfully dark first ever stop-motion. This sweet short horror film follows a troubled young boy called Vincent, who has a disturbing imagination.

Vincent is a theatrical young boy who has macabre motives.

"He likes to experiment on his dog Abercrombie, in the hopes of creating a horrible zombie. So he and his horrible zombie dog could go searching for victims in the London fog."

If you haven't seen it before take a look at the incredible movie in full:

The fan theory then posits that Vincent's Mom gave Abercrombie the Dog away to save him from Vincent experimenting on him further. Abercrombie is then eventually adopted by Victor (Frankenweenie) who renames him Sparky. Seems legit.

The huge difference here is their noses, but let's not lose faith just yet - there's more fan theory to come. Maybe Abercrombie just had a Pinocchio moment in his debut in Vincent or potentially got himself a nose job?


Vincent's ''Wife'' and Sally

Vincent is a highly imaginative little boy, so it's obvious that his ''Wife'' never existed, despite him insisting he buried her alive and that she died this way. But at least Vincent believed and decided one day to dig her up. He decided to bring her back to life and rebuild her. This is when Sally (The Nightmare Before Christmas) comes into this fan theory, as Vincent's wife moved onto the spirit world of Halloween Town and changed her name to Sally.

Vincent/Nightmare Before Christmas
Vincent/Nightmare Before Christmas

Now it's time for Frankenweenie to join the theory

Another Tim Burton character to join Sally in Halloween Town is Sparky (from Frankenweenie). After the lovable dog dies for good, they bury him in the Pet Cemetery. Sparky then becomes the spirit in the afterworld in a place called Halloween Town and is adopted by Jack Skellington who gives him the name "Zero." This wild little fan-created theory then goes on to suggest that the reason Zero's nose glows is because he is in fact Sparky!


Supposedly there is a 'fun fact' that we can see Zero's gravestone in the Pet Cemetery as Victor is walking toward Sparky's grave in Frankenweenie, did you spot it? I sure haven't!


These three sure share similarities, but is this enough to suggest they are the same dog?

Victor/Frankenweenie/The Nightmare Before Christmas
Victor/Frankenweenie/The Nightmare Before Christmas

Edgar ‘E’ Gore

Frankenweenie/The Nightmare Before Christmas
Frankenweenie/The Nightmare Before Christmas

I always found Victor's lab partner Edgar entirely creepy and irritating but even he manages to slide into this theory too. Supposedly Edgar dies in a failed experiment but his spirit returns in Nightmare Before Christmas where he meets Dr. Finkelstein in the afterlife of Halloween Town. Dr. Finkelstein then employs Edgar as his assistant giving him the task of creating the Reindeer.

The theory points out this tidbit in case you hadn't noticed:

*NOTE: They both have three teeth. 2 on the left and 1 on the right.


The Nightmare Before Christmas/Frankenweenie
The Nightmare Before Christmas/Frankenweenie

Oh look, another death, reborn into Christmas Town this time. If dying once isn't enough already, Bob then gets chased by an angry toy on the loose.

Back to the dog

Seeing how miserable Victor from Frankenweenie is after Sparky's final demise, his parents decide to buy him a new dog to help cheer him up. The dog's name is Scraps (seen in Corpse Bride) and then Scraps dies as well. Unable to handle a second dog's death, Victor picks up his tiny little legs and runs away. He eventually finds a home with the Van Dorts in Corpse Bride. (Don't ask me why... this is all part of the 'Burton' theory)

Victor's new foster parents are poor and after adopting him they force him into an arranged marriage with Victoria so that they can be saved from the poor house.


Little victor becomes... Victor?
Little victor becomes... Victor?

Could these two Victor's be the same person? Is Victor from Corpse Bride the grown up version of Frankenweenie's Victor? There is no doubt that they look similar, both share the same name and both have the same looking pet dog. Sheer coincidence, or could this wild theory have some truth to it?

Elsa Van Helsing

This cute little one is Victor's (Frankenweenie) neighbor, there is for sure some chemistry between the gloomy looking Victor and Elsa. Now for the next part of the 'Burton Theory' to kick in. After Victor ran away it was unbearable for Elsa to cope so she slipped into a deep depression. Her parents could not help her. So, with heavy hearts they gave their little Elsa up for adoption.

You have actually seen Elsa before. Wanting to move forward, she changed her name to Lydia and was adopted by Delia and Charles Deetz and moved into Barbara and Adam Maitland's old house at the beginning of Beetlejuice.

Mr. Burgermeister and Finis Everglot

Corpse Bride/ Frankenweenie
Corpse Bride/ Frankenweenie

These two also look undoubtably the same. Supposedly, these two are brothers, one received all the luck and money while the other is poor and on the verge of landing in the poor house.

Weird Girl / Kim

Frankenweenie/Edward Scissorhands
Frankenweenie/Edward Scissorhands

''Weird Girl'' is actually Kim in Edward Scissorhands, her parents believed she was going crazy when she tried to explain what had happened to her beloved Mr. Whiskers. So, they put her up for adoption, and eventually Peg and Jim Adopted her. Supposedly, there are no photos of baby Kim in the house because she was adopted as a young girl, so only photos of her from then until now exist.

Victor is Jack Skellington

When Victor dies, he moves on to the spirit world of Halloween Town and becomes Jack Skellington. This part of the theory comes from YouTube.

So let's recap: the dog sure appears in many movies, first he is almost killed by Vincent (Vincent), then he really really dies in Frankenweenie, reappears as Scraps in the Corpse Bride and eventually gets adopted in the afterlife by Jack Skellington (The Nightmare Before Christmas). Okay so, both Victor's look like each other, Lydia (Beetlejuice) and Weird Girl (Frankenweenie) along with Kim (Edward Scissorhands) also look undoubtably the same. These similarities conveniently bring the live-action movies and the animated movies together.

Frankenweenie actually paid tribute to Tim's dog that he had when he was a young boy:

"I had this strong connection with a mutt we had named Pepe it was a good connection. Like your first love. It was very powerful. The dog was not meant to live very long because of a disease he had, but he ended up living quite a long time. So you have this strong connection, and then you think: 'Well, how long is this going to last?' You don't really understand those concepts of death at the time."

The more I wrote about this theory, the less I believed any of it. I really do doubt that Tim Burton sat and elaborately planned this all as one universe. One of the biggest flaws is that Corpse Bride takes place in the late 1800s and Frankenweenie takes place around the 1940s, so without some serious time traveling this connection cannot really be bridged. This Youtube channel really smashes the theory apart.

I still think that it is a great effort from ScreenNameMissing to have collected the theories. It is still an unfinished theory and it will be interesting to see how this theory evolves. Maybe, once the rest of the pieces join this puzzle it will look more believable.


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