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Tim Burton shares "Frankenweenie" back story at Comic-Con

Director Tim Burton speaks at Comic-Con on July 12, 2012 in San Diego, Calif.
Director Tim Burton speaks at Disney's "Frankenweenie" panel at Comic-Con on July 12, 2012 in San Diego. Invision/AP

(CBS/AP) SAN DIEGO - Costumed fans made quirky film director Tim Burton feel right at home Thursday at Comic-Con's Hall H, where he previewed his fall movie "Frankenweenie."

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Many of those at his presentation ere dressed as characters from his films, such as "Alice in Wonderland," "Beetlejuice" and this summer's film version of the soap opera "Dark Shadows."

"It's great," Burton said. "It feels like my family has come to see me."

While showing footage of the 3-D "Frankenweenie," an expanded take on his 1984 short film of the same name, Burton explained the personal stories behind the movie about 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."

The 53-year-old filmmaker, known for the dark themes of his movies, said he fleshed out the creepy tale with variations on teachers and fellow students from his school days.

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."

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."

"Frankenweenie'' hits theaters Oct. 5.

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