There’s a Thin Line Between Dreams and Nightmares
With it’s dark atmosphere, spunky protagonist and fantastic use of stop-motion animation, Coraline became an instant classic in the eyes of movie-goers. While the morals and fantastical journey of the titular heroine was certainly investing, what really stuck with audiences was just how mature and truly terrifying it could be, especially when it came to the Other Mother. With so much Burton-esque imagery to digest, you might have missed out on these five bits of on-screen trivia.
#5: Lightning Hand
After offering Coraline a delicious looking Welcome Home cake, Other Mother suggests that they all go out to play in the rain and mud. When Coraline points out that it isn’t raining, there’s a sudden crack of lightning and it starts to pour down. It happens so fast you can’t see it unless you’re looking for it, but in the disappearing lightning is clearly a skeletal hand – much like the one that will follow Coraline into the real world later. This creepy hand is a hint as to the sinister power that the Other Mother wields, allowing her to shape the world around her.
#4: The Soundtrack
While most people get caught up in the visual beauty of the movie, the soundtrack likewise deserves praise and attention. The Other Mother seems to enjoy it, too, as she hums the songs throughout. Except for the song by the Other Father – more on that later – there are no REAL words in any of the tracks . . . even though it sounds like there are. For example, in the scene where Coraline explores the Pink Palace, a woman seems to sing in a foreign language – with sounds that sometimes resemble French. But they’re in fact complete gibberish. By seeming real but not quite right, the “lyrics” give the film another disjointed, eerie layer.
#3: Mr. B’s Medal
The Pink Palace gives Coraline some fairly … eccentric neighbors. But maybe the strangest is Mr. Bobinsky – or Mr. B, for short. The energetic, spindle-legged Russian trains mice – or so he claims – and has blue-tinted skin. With all that already out in the open, it’s easy to dismiss the medal pinned on his dirty tank top as just another unique character feature. However, closer inspection of the medal shows that it was the type given to those who participated in the clean up after the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster in 1986. Maybe all that radiation explains the blue skin?
#2: Dollar Bill
Falling under the blink and you miss it category, this was clearly animators having a little fun. After the Ranft brothers move the Jones’ into their new home, mover Joe patiently waits outside for a little tip. A hand distractedly extends through the door and taps a bill into his palm. When he looks down, he sees that it’s a measly one dollar. Sigh, indeed. Even though it looks like your typical American one-dollar bill, however, that’s not George Washington’s face staring back up at audiences, but the film’s director Henry Selick.
#1: Message in Song
While the final soundtrack for the film is for the most part all instrumental, this wasn’t always meant to be the case. Originally the band They Might Be Giants created several songs for the movie that ultimately didn’t make the cut. One song that did remain, however, is the jaunty tune the Other Father plays for Coraline. It’s so lively and upbeat, you almost don’t notice how sinister the lyrics are. As the piano plays, the Other Father sings about how “she’s a doll,” cute as “a button in the eyes of everyone” and their “eyes will be on Coraline.” It’s too bad that the eyes they have in mind are the soul-stealing kind.
Be sure to check out the video below to see our picks for the Top 10 Things You Never Knew About Coraline.