The Gruesome Stories of a Real-Life Frankenweenie
The reanimation of dead dogs has basis in scientific history.
You may think that Tim Burton's acclaimed new animated movie Frankenweenie is just a comedic riff on the classic horror novel Frankenstein, and it certainly is, but the reanimation of dead dogs has some basis in scientific history.
This article at io9 mentions two 20th century scientists -- Robert Cornish and Sergei Bryukhonenko -- who each dabbled in bringing deceased canines back to life, but with far less success than Burton's Victor Frankenstein enjoyed.
Between 1934 and '35, Robert Cornish manage to reanimate two dogs -- Lazarus IV and Lazarus V -- who had been put to death. Oh, yeah, he actually killed the dogs himself by suffocating them. He brought them back to life using a seesaw to get their blood flowing, and then chemicals and artificial respiration to revive them. He succeeded, but both dogs suffered brain damage and physical defects as a result of their "resurrection."
Cornish's experiments inspired the 1935 movie Life Returns, where Cornish appeared as himself.
Then there's Sergei Bryukhonenko, who decapitated dogs and then provoked stimuli from them via his heart and lung machine. One poor pooch's head was kept "alive" on a plate for awhile. Bryukhonenko's experiments are documented in the 1940 film Experiments in the Revival of Organisms.
As you can see, these real Frankenweenie-esque stories aren't exactly the stuff of heartwarming (albeit Burton-ized) family fare. Thankfully, Hollywood's still good at telling far happier stories than real life sometimes can.
The film Frankenweenie is out today in a theater near you.