30 Things You Missed in Coraline (2009)

I know there are going to be people who try
to claim that Coraline isn’t a horror movie, and therefore I can’t cover it here, on
my horror channel. And I’d just like to remind those people,
before we get started here, of a few of the things that happen in Coraline. Roll the clips. “AHHHHH!” “Forever…” “HA-HA!!! AGHHH!!” Yeah. Horror movie. There are also references to a couple of the
most well known horror movies of all time, so stick around to the end of this video if
you want to hear about them. [INTRO] Before we get into the truly creepy stuff,
there are a few Things You Missed at the beginning of the movie, where the filmmakers just couldn’t
help but calling attention to themselves. Coraline’s family is moving into their new
home with the help of the Ranft Brothers moving company, and we end up seeing the Ranft Brothers,
whose name tags read Jerome and Joe. This is a reference to the real life Ranft
Brothers, who are a pair of character sculptors in many great animated films, and while they
didn’t sculpt the characters in Coraline, they did work on director Henry Selick’s
previous stop motion film James and the Giant Peach. So naturally, they’ve graffitied the words
StopMo Rulez on their own truck. And when Joe receives a tip for his moving
services, the photo of George Washington on the bill has been replaced by that of the
director, Henry Selick. The moving truck is also green, and we first
see it pulled up next to the house, which is covered in pink. In the novella, one of the things that Coraline
finds off-putting about the other world beyond the door is the way her other bedroom is painted
in shades of green and pink. But the movie does a great job of showing
us how Coraline found her world to be drury and boring in ways that the novella was not
able to. Take these two scenes in the garden for example,
where the real world is made to look damp and devoid of color while the other world
is bursting with life and colors. The film also introduces details that the
novella lacked, like the fact that her parents in the real world are gardners, or at least
that they write about gardening, and her other mother is eventually revealed to be a predatory
insect like creature; insects are the natural enemy of gardeners. Throughout the movie you can spot plenty of
clues pointing to this insect motif, and like her two sets of parents, most of them come
in pairs. Examples include the dragonfly pin in Coraline’s
hair and the dragonfly decorations over her bed, the mantis tractor that her other father
rides and the mantis picture frame holder by Coraline’s bed, the fact that the family
drives a Volkswagen beetle and the chocolate beetles that her Other Mother snacks on, and
the picture of the boy in the other drawing room is in a spider picture frame, and Coraline
ends up fighting the Other Mother on a giant spider web. I also think there’s something to be said
about the fact that the Other Mother created this world as a trap to capture Coraline’s
soul. It’s not a big world, but as one line in
the book puts it, “spiders’ webs only have to be large enough to catch flies.” She crafted this world, and tries to trap
Coraline by sewing together the doll as bait, and she sews buttons onto the eyes of all
of her victims, so there’s a comparison to be made there with spiders, who weave their
webs from a string in a very similar manner. And of course, her final form most closely
resembles a giant spider, and that’s not the first time we’ve covered something like
that. “Ho-ho!!!” I also found an interesting piece of text
on her real father’s computer screen, right before Coraline accidentally turns off the
power. If you pause at just the right moment it reads:
“Everything is smelling like success from out of the cove, a slime covered blob crawls
out from your compost containing *something* falls to the ground.” It reminds me a lot of the scariest scene
from the book, where Coraline discovers an underground cellar, which she comments has
a strange smell, and finds a creature that “had almost no features on its face, which
had puffed and swollen like risen bread dough.” There seem to be a lot of similarities between
these two descriptions. We soon find out that The Other Mother is
in control of everything in the other world. She’s referred to as a Beldam…. “And shush, for the Beldam might be listening…” ….which traces back to an old French word
meaning old woman or witch. Coraline has to fight witchcraft with witchcraft. She uses this stone, which is known in our
world as an adder stone or witch stone to locate the ghost children’s eyes, and at
the beginning of the movie, she uses a branch of poison oak as a dowsing rod, and her neighbor
Wybee accuses her of witchcraft. “I heard about water witching before but it
doesn’t make sense. I mean it’s just an ordinary branch.” We’re first given the idea that the Beldam
is in control when Coraline meets her Other Father, and he plays her a song on the piano,
but the piano is the one controlling him, not the other way around. It does this by taking control of his hands,
and the Other Mother’s hands being in control becomes another motif seen time and time again
in the movie. The reason for this is because in the novella,
when Coraline and Other Mother make the wager, Other Mother agrees to let Coraline go if
she wins, and swears on her mother’s grave that she’ll keep her word. But that’s not good enough for Coraline,
so she also swears on her right hand. And there are a ton of references to that
hand in the movie. When Coraline discovers the other world’s
garden, Other Father has this to say. “Mother said you’d like it. She knows you like the back of her hand.” There are also several close ups of Other
Mother’s hands throughout the movie, even before her hand is detached. We also see several other images that resemble
the true form of the Other Mother’s hands, like the lightning strike outside the window,
clouds that part to reveal the moon after her defeat, and the tea leaves that Ms. Spinks
interpret as a sign of danger in Coraline’s tea. On the contrary, Ms. Forcible reads the tea
leaves upside down, and sees them as a giraffe, which may be a clue about her eventually becoming
trapped in the other world, where there’s a giraffe toy in Coraline’s room. Or maybe it’s actually a clue about the
true form of her enemy whose neck extends like that of a giraffe. Or maybe it’s actually a clue about where
Coraline’s parents are hidden, in the snow globe from the zoo, because giraffes are an
animal you find at the zoo, I don’t know. It’s gotta be one of those, OK? Coraline’s main quest in the movie is to
retrieve the eyes of the three ghost children and find her parents. Although Coraline never knew that children
had gone missing in that house until later, there are some clues early on in the movie. Actually, the first thing we see is the repurposing
of the doll resembling Mrs. Lovat’s sister. Then, when Coraline explores the house on
the rainy day, she discovers what she calls a painfully boring portrait of the little
boy who seems to be the ghost boy that once lived there. “One boring, blue boy. In a painfully boring painting.” And finally, Other Mother has pictures of
three children on her own kitchen wall, two girls and one boy, just like the three ghosts. In the book, Coraline’s favorite hobby is
being an explorer, and that’s true in the movie as well. The carpet in the drawing room is an image
of a compass. Another difference from the book is in the
clothes that Coraline changes into in the other realm. In the movie it’s a shirt with stars on
it. After sending the Other Mother’s hand down
the well, Coraline has the following thought about the stars: “Someone had once told her that if you look
up at the sky from the bottom of a mineshaft, even in the brightest daylight, you see a
night sky and stars. Coraline wondered if the hand could see stars
from where it was.” “…supposed to be so deep, if you fell to
the bottom and looked up, you’d see a sky full of stars in the middle of the day.” So Coraline wears that shirt while she is
trapped in that other realm. Her situation is bleak, just like being stuck
at the bottom of a well. Now if all of this was not enough horror for
you, let me point out a couple of horror movie references I found in Coraline. The first is pretty obscure, but the chair
in Coraline’s other room has the same design as Jack Torrance’s chair from The Shining. The other can be spotted after she escapes
from the other world, where her father is playing with the squid toy on her bed in exactly
the same way the facehugger Xenomorph attacks it’s victims in Alien. And if that doesn’t convince you that this
is a horror movie, I don’t know what will. So that covers the movie adaptation of Coraline,
but there’s so much more to analyse in this story, so coming up on Horror History, I’ll
be covering the scariest details that were left out of the movie as I talk about Coraline
Jones and The Other Mother. You don’t want to miss out on that so make
sure you’re subscribed to CZsWorld for new horrors every week, ring that deathbell for
notifications and I’ll see you in the next one. Assuming we both survive.


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