Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Children's Horror Part 1: ParaNorman

Well it is officially Autumn and that means that people aside from me are going to start getting excited about Halloween. With this comes movie channels gradually moving to horror movies 24/7 until the wonderful month of October is over. It also means that children's channels will start showing Halloween and junior horror films. What is a junior horror film you might ask? Well there aren't as many good ones to point to in recent history, but if you are around my age you might remember a few. To me a good junior horror movie has 1. a real monster, 2. a combination of jump scares and humour 3. a lack of real blood and gore so parents don't feel they are corrupting their children & 4. at least a couple of jokes or moments only the adults being forced to watch these with the wee ones will get. A prime example to me are the Scooby Doo movies of the late 90s where there are real zombies & a twist I didn't see coming as a kid and in the other they solve a mystery of a fake witch only to have it turn out there is a real witch's curse that gets released by a Stephen King wannabe. Another would be Beetlejuice, I mean come on who doesn't love Beetlejuice? I'd watch Beetlejuice anytime of th- OH SHIT I said his name three times!

I hope you now understand what I mean when I say junior horror because this is the first in an ongoing series of articles basically about modern junior horror . And for our first instalment for your reading pleasure is my observational review of ParaNorman. If you don't want any accidental spoilers than please watch the movie, then read this. Otherwise click on to read more.

First I loved the opening of ParaNorman, it was a great homage to old B-horror movies like Plan 9 From Outer Space (but not as terrible as Manos: The Hands of Fate). Like me, Norman has an obsession with zombies and horror, which makes him instantly likeable... right? Of course I'm not quite as cool as him, I can't talk to ghosts, at least not yet. At least I don't have a creepy uncle. It was pretty funny when his uncle came back to stalk haunt him in the bathroom, I'm sure a rather awkward trip to the school nurse followed.

Don't you just hate when toilet paper monsters attack, but they just won't scare the crap out of you.

Of course Norman's abilities have a very unfortunate side effect, he appears schizophrenic to everyone around him. If the witch's curse never happened then I'm sure there would have been a whole lot of unwarranted medicating in his future. Of course even medication couldn't protect him from the most disgusting unibrow in stop motion animation history. Of course unibrow girl helps to introduce us to Norman's sidekick who follows him like a puppy dog and gives the best description of him, "This one's not weird, he talks to dead people!". I loved the touch of Norman's ringtone being the Halloween song, but when his friend shows up HE'S WEARING THE WRONG MASK! But that doesn't matter to Norman because he is busy reading a book called "You're Not Creepy" sounds like a book I should be reading.

Now we finally get to the zombies, which are designed so fabulously that they are equal parts disgusting and charming. Now what makes these zombies child friendly is the fact that they just go around scaring people, they never actually kill anyone or even attempt to do a little brain eating (which of course fits with the moral which almost every children's movie has). In fact these zombies aren't even evil, they are just unfortunate dead people. The coolest part is probably that the townspeople end up acting like the horde of zombies chasing after the real zombies and groping at the teens behind the reinforced windows and doors.

Aren't those zombies the cutest little things.

Probably the most humourous part of the movie though is that fact that McLovin' voices the bully. Seriously the biggest dork becomes the bully, that is some evil irony or something. For the finally the tweens/teens head to the witch's grave which, who would have guessed, is located at where the swirling vortex of doom is coming from. After he saves the day everyone believes him about speaking with ghosts. Funny enough that's what the witch got killed for, I hope you see the connection there since she had the same last name as his creepy toilet fetish uncle. (I'm sure you did, I'm just trying to be funny)

In conclusion I had a great time seeing this movie. It is an awesome time for both children and adults alike. ParaNorman will hopefully become a staple for Halloween time in the years to come and I would recommend it for a post trick or treating wind down movie.


  1. Have you seen Monster House? It slipped under the radar a couple of years ago, but it's an excellent children's horror movie, I recommend seeking it out.

    1. Oooo, I will have to add that to my watch list. Also just watched another good one: The Hole.