ParaNorman: Final Preview - Zombie of the Week

Posted by Grey Friday, August 17, 2012

This weekend, embark on a most unique undead (mis)adventure with ParaNorman, the latest stop-motion feature film from the talented folks from LAIKA, Inc., the stop-motion animation studio that brought us the excellent animated adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Coraline back in 2009.

Ahhh... Not the moan of the undead but the moan of the relatively stale state of the zombie pop culture. Yes, AMC's third season of The Walking Dead certainly seems remarkable and the never-ending hordes of zombie-related survival horror video games remained exactly that... never-ending. Just like the year before this. Is it a little too much to ask for some brainy innovation in the brain-dead genre? Apparently not, with the release of ParaNorman today.

A visually-stunning, good ol' fashioned 3D stop-motion animated adventure horror film produced by LAIKA, Inc., the talented folks from the stop-motion animation studio behind the remarkably animated adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Coraline back in 2009, ParaNorman continues the studio's surprisingly exceptional mix of black humor and adolescent fun. With ParaNorman, the studio aims to outdo themselves with one particular element now synonymous with the horror genre: Zombies.

In the film, Norman, a misunderstood boy who can see and communicate with dead people, were called upon to save the day when the small town he resided in comes under siege by hordes of undead. To top the adventure, Norman has to come face to face with ghosts, witches and silly grown-ups as the threat became much more complicated than what he originally believed. Directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell, ParaNorman features the vocal talents of Let Me In‘s Kodi Smit-McPhee as protagonist Norman, as well as a star-studded cast featuring John Goodman, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Casey Affleck, Leslie Mann and Jeff Garlin.

Influenced by The Goonies, E.T. and the other feel-good adventure films of the 80s defined by the likes of Stephen Spielberg, ParaNorman boldly imposes an unconventional twist on the tired zombie genre (social satire anyone?) with an invigorating energy amplified by the gorgeous hand-crafted excellence with the meticulous nature of stop-motion combined with modern 3D technology.

The first of its kind to utilize a 3D color printer to create character faces, early reviews of the film has been sweepingly positive with most praising both the astonishing animation as well as the wonderful script.

While the fact that the film has been described as "John Carpenter meets John Hughes" as well as "a zombie movie for kids" might turned off so-called "hardcore" gore and thrill-seeking zombie fans, we opine that this is an intriguing route to take to give a refreshing stab at the stale genre.

For more on the production details on the film, head over to Collider to check out the very comprehensive set visit video blog they had on the film.

Here are the trailers for the film.

Official Web Trailer.

Official Theatrical Trailer.

Official Teaser Trailer.

You Don't Become a Hero by Being Normal

The animated "Goonies with zombies" horror flick ParaNorman is stuffed with floating green spirits and an adorable ghost puppy dogs (who've been horrifically sliced in two). In this exclusive featurette, the voice cast of Leslie Mann, Anna Kendrick and Jeff Garlin explain how real experiences with the paranormal and certain real-life ghosts that influenced ParaNorman. Plus, check out lots of new spirit-centric footage tucked away in this featurette.

A Norman Childhood

Faces of ParaNorman

Playing as a Profession

Making Norman


Ghost Stories

This Little Light

Just in time for the recently-ended Olympic Games, the talented folks at Laika churned out these nifty TV spots for the film.

Nailed It

A Champion Rises

And one last TV spot on why life shouldn't just be for the living.


For more cool video features on the film, head over to the film's original YouTube channel to check out some intriguing undead goodies.

Posters from the film.

Courtesy of Collider, here are some behind-the-scenes set images that are telling of the complexity of the making a stop-motion animated film.

Here's the official synopsis of the film:

The new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA, reteaming the company with Focus Features after the groundbreaking Academy Award-nominated “Coraline.” “ParaNorman” is, following “Coraline,” the company’s second stop-motion animated feature to be made in 3D. In “ParaNorman,” a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst, of all, grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.

Featuring the voices of Kodi Smit-McPhee, Casey Affleck, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, John Goodman, and Alex Borstein, ParaNorman opens in 3D tonight (August 17).


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