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The Month of Horror Day 18: ParaNorman

Basement contributor Matt Bellamy has taken it upon himself to watch and review at least one horror movie a day for the month of October . . . because he's awesome that way! For tonight's installment Bellamy tackles . . . a kid's movie!?! What the deuce?

Sure hasn't been much family fare on this list so far, has there? Let's aim to correct that! A movie that just about everyone can watch, save for very small children, 'ParaNorman' is one of the most fun "horror" movies released in years and I don't know why it was never released around Halloween or why it hasn't caught on more since then but it's a beautiful, hilarious, and at times, spooky little flick! The animation is handled by the studio Laika, also responsible for 'Coraline' and they seem to specifically work in stop-motion, and models which is so cool and contrasts really nicely to your standard CG animation you see elsewhere. The amount of detail work is staggering and from a technical point of view, whenever I watch this movie, all I can think is how these guys and gals are geniuses in what they create, how they get it all to move while also managing to tell a great story, and even get us to care about characters that are essentially moulded out of clay--what a feat!

'ParaNorman' tells the story of a young boy named, wait for it, Norman who can see and even speak to the dead! He sees ghosts everywhere he goes and actually seems to be pretty OK with it because he's a big fan of horror movies and welcomes the dead into his life. His parents think he's weird, his sister doesn't have much time for him, his classmates alienate him and the rest of the town thinks he's completely disturbed so suffice it so say, I found a lot in common with this kid! It turns out that there is a witch's curse hanging over the town and if Norman doesn't do whatever he (and a group of rag-tag misfits including his sister) can to stop it then the whole town will be destroyed! Can't have that! Ghosts, goblins, ghouls and zombies--mummies, werewolves, vampires and one big ass witch descend upon the townspeople and before long it's insanity and everyone is running for their lives!

I really love this flick, it grows on me with each viewing and if I were 10 when this came out then I'm confident in saying it would easily become one of my favourite movies of all time. It's definitely a bit of a "boy" movie as it has its share of gross humour and maybe not as much aimed at girls but I think they would enjoy the crazy hijinks here, too. It can get a little too scary and intense at times for younger children so that's a heads up, there's also a little bit of salty language used here and there and even a couple gay jokes that may be slightly inappropriate but overall it's fairly harmless. With plenty of horror "in-jokes" (listen to his cell phone ring tone!) to keep horror enthusiasts happy as well as everyone else more than entertained, 'ParaNorman' is a winner and should go on to be a classic!

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  1. I agree whole heartedly with this review. I LOVED "ParaNorman". I would put the animation, humour, and fun on par with what Tim Burton accomplished with "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Corpse Bride" (though the latter isn't as enjoyable as the former).


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