Coming Soon: ParaNorman (August 17, 2012)

Whenever a friend with kids tells me of how their children are frightened by loud noises, scary pictures, ghost stories and the like… a funny thing happens internally to me.  I feel a sense of sadness, of wishing they could buck up a bit, I get a bit giggly and, ultimately, I feel a sense of pride in my own kids… they seem to fear so little.  Not to say that my youngest daughter who plays with grubs, worms, snails and beetles doesn’t have an irrational fear of ants… but both of my kids just watched Alien with Mrs. Blahg and I, and my youngest was appropriately frightened during those heightened states of suspense… my older daughter said, “yeah, that was great.  The alien popping out of his chest was kind of cheesy looking… and cute.”  Not quite the reaction most nine year old girls are going to have.

What I’m getting at, and I’ve documented this many times before, is that I believe children are meant to be traumatized a bit.  Fear is a wonderful sensation for a child to endure.  I’m not advocating placing children in war zones or in any real harms way… and I realize everyone has different tolerances for scary movies and stories, I’m not that naive… but I do believe we coddle our children way too much and try to protect them to the degree that when confronted with any real emotion, and fear is nothing but an emotion, they are left impotent and useless.

The makers of ParaNorman seem to understand this fact.  Produced by the same people behind Coraline, Focus Pictures and Laika, these people seem to understand that children need a little horror in their lives… and they can handle it.

When this trailer appeared preceding Puss in Boots (which I did not review… watched during my two month writer’s block… I may not review it.  It was good, better than most Shreks… maybe I will) I found myself slack jawed in wonder at what I was seeing.  Not only a great song, Donovan’s Season of the Witch, but a nearly wordless montage of classic horror tropes, eerie hallucinogenic-like images of moving tiles and appendages forming from toilet paper, and a somewhat odd dead-eyed child protagonist… whom, I am assuming, is Norman.

Since first viewing this trailer, my girls have watched it over and over and over and over again.  We’ve dissected it frame by frame and are all very excited about it.  A while later, Neil Gaiman tweeted that he had the opportunity to view 20 rough minutes of this animated film and claims it is fantastic and very scary… and that man knows scary.  Add all of that together with the cast, which I just looked up and was quite surprised by… Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road, Let Me In), Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air, Twilight), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad, Kick-Ass), John Goodman, Leslie Mann and others… all seem to come together for one hell of an animated movie.

The only problem I can foresee with this film is the release date… August?  Really?  January’s red headed step-child of movie months?  Studios usually reserve months like January and August for those movies they don’t anticipate doing well.  Perhaps they are banking on summer overload by that point and trying to get the early Halloween crowd… either way, I’ll take two adult and two children for ParaNorman in 3D, please…

That will be $32 sir… *choke*
Cornelius J. Blahg

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