"Frankenweenie" (opens Oct. 5) may be a new film to most viewers, but for director Tim Burton it was a return trip to familiar territory. He had first directed the story as a live-action short in 1984. Why did he want to take another stab at his Frankenstein-esque story, this time using stop-motion animation? "Obviously it was great to do the live action thing so many years ago, but over the years, kind of going back and looking at the drawings I did for it from the beginning and loving stop motion, and also because it was such a memory piece, I started thinking about other memories I have of other kids at school, the weirdness of certain teachers, and the monster movies and things," Burton said. "For me, with all those elements -- stop motion and black and white;  it just felt like a whole different project for me."

Though the animation may not have the lurch of old-school stop-motion, Burton promises that "Frankenweenie" has some intentional rough edges. "I think the thing is, if you look at this movie compared to 'Corpse Bride' or something, it’s a slightly bit funkier," he said. "It got to the point with 'Corpse Bride' that people almost thought it was computer animation. So we kind of went back to a slightly rougher style of animation, because I thought it was important that it felt like a stop motion movie. Because the technology has gotten so good, the line between is this computer or is it stop motion had gotten blurred. We actually kept things a little cruder on this one so it still had that stop motion feel to it… It’s a little bit jerkier than some of the other ones."

What may have been more surprising than the animation was the fact that the entire film is in black-and-white -- a first for a full-length animated feature. Burton said it wasn't the hard sell one might expect. "Disney was actually quite accepting about it. I think maybe it helped it was it was one of the cheaper animated films around. I think if it had been like a normal, expensive movie there might have been a little more, but they understood the emotional side of it. It had to be in black and white. I wouldn’t had done it if they had said you have to do it in color, I probably would have said no."

Even though "Frankenweenie" is in 3-D, what kept the film from being more expensive wasn't cutting back on the quality of the animation. "We kept the crew pretty small," Burton explained. "We try to keep it a small, weird family." Of course, with Burton that "weird family" usually consists of stars he's worked with on previous projects. "On this one, it was nice, because, especially it’s people that I love I hadn’t worked with in a while, Catherine, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Winona Ryder, all people that I love. It was nice on a project like this to make things as personalized as possible… knowing those people made it more special."

Liane Bonin Starr is an author, screenwriter and former writer for EW.com. Her byline has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Variety and a lot of other places. Her last book was called "a scandalously catty, guilty pleasure" by Jane magazine. Expect the same from Starr Raving.