We all have a favorite spooky movie we re-watch on Halloween. If you’re an animation fan, then you know there are plenty to choose from. ParaNorman may not be a Halloween classic yet, but give it a few more years and I think it could be in league with The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s a bold statement, I know. But here are ten reasons why ParaNorman should become a Halloween classic or, more accurately, ten reasons why ParaNorman is awesome.
1. The Scares
Let’s start with the main ingredients you need for a Halloween movie: the jumps, the scares, and the just plain creepy. This movie has it all. There’s a spooky house, a mystery to be solved, chasing, curses, and ghostly ghouls. It ticks most, if not all, the boxes needed for a Halloween movie night.
2. The Family
This movie is PG-rated, something you may need if you have children or family to entertain. But what I love about this movie is it’s ambiguous target audience. It’s animated and the main character is a kid so that mean it’s for kids, right? Not necessarily. There is too much for teenagers, young adults, and adults to enjoy for this to strictly be a kids movie. You could even go as far to say ParaNorman should be for an older audience because it gets a little too creepy for comfort at times.
3. The Triple Threat
Ghosts, zombies, and witches. This movie has all three and the best part is they’re not all shoe-horned in. They all service the plot. Norman can speak to ghosts, so of course there are ghosts. The witch’s curse causes the dead to walk the earth, so zombies becomes the main threat. Norman can speak to the dead, so that, cleverly, includes zombies too. Even though viewers are in a fictitious world you never question the existence of the supernatural. It’s not forced or fake and you really sense the ominous threat throughout the movie.
4. The Laughs
If you’ve managed to avoid hearing about the jock’s punchline at the end of the movie, I won’t spoil it for you now. But if you know the scene I mean, then you know it’s a perfect example of the movie’s more mature sense of humor. When the macabre gets to be too much there’s usually a joke around the corner to lighten the mood and, just like the monsters in the movie, they don’t feel forced. The humor is delivered naturally from the characters (as should be the case in all good comedies).
5. The Horror Movie References
This is another reason why an older audience can enjoy ParaNorman on Halloween. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, then I don’t want to ruin the classic horror movie references for you. But I will mention a popular one: Neil’s arrival at Norman’s house in a hockey mask. Need I say more?
6. The Setting
I love the setting in this movie. Norman’s town is supposed to be based on one of those tacky tourist attractions that sell corny postcards and keychains. It’s a setting that gets you in a real Halloweeny mood and there is a real history to Blithe Hollow. The flashbacks of the pilgrims are some of my favorite scenes. All that aside, the movie captures the autumn cold and colors really well and the viewer feels rooted in that nippy month of October.
7. The Effects
The blend of CG and stop-motion is astoundingly well done. If you’re looking for an animated movie that looks good and doesn’t disappoint in the special effects department, then ParaNorman is your movie. The showdown at the end is particularly where the effects shine. It always makes me excited to see what LAIKA will achieve next.
8. The Music
Jon Brion scored this movie and I’ve never known music to fit a movie so well. The music simultaneously stands in the foreground and blends into the background. How do you do that, Brion? If you’re a fan of ParaNorman and haven’t listened to the soundtrack isolated from the movie, then I suggest you do that now. And, if you want some quirky music to carve pumpkins to, then look no further:
9. The Message
There are some very solid messages in this movie. I’m not saying every movie has to have a message, particularly Halloween movies, but this is a wonderful exception. One of my favorites will always stay with me: “There’s always someone out there for you. Somewhere.”
10. The Satisfying Ending
Don’t worry, no spoilers here. But I have to say that the ending elevates this movie from good to great. You don’t always get this with Halloween movies. Sometimes the victims meet their tragic doom, sometimes the monster/villain/supernatural-entity is defeated, or, sometimes even worse, the “Big Bad” doesn’t die so there can be many pointless sequels. ParaNorman suffers from no such cliché. But don’t take my word for it. Go and find out for yourself how all is resolved.
Will you watch ParaNorman this Halloween? Do you think it could become a Halloween classic?
MJ is a writing and film graduate who loves to relax with scented candles and herbal teas. She is a dog-walker by day and a pie-maker by night. She loves movies starring Christopher Reeve and her favorite animated film is Meet the Robinsons. MJ also loves anything that LAIKA and Tim Burton come out with.