Coraline Director Henry Selick Scares Children - And Likes It

Filed under: In The News

Henry Selick likes to scare children. And the director of the new film Coraline, opening February 6, is very good at it. "I absolutely believe that all kids love a good scare."

Tell us about Coraline. It's based on a best-selling children's novella by Neil Gaiman, and it's definitely not "Freckle Juice." It's "Alice in Wonderland" meets "Hansel and Gretel" set in modern times.It's contemporary but timeless -- an ordinary girl (voiced by Dakota Fanning) faces extraordinary, classic evil.

What's so scary about that? This is an alternate world where Coraline's parents are always fun and not working all the time. At first it seems like everything there is better than real life, until she finds that the "perfection" is anything but. Also scary: Everyone in the other world has buttons sewn over their eyes and there's a a closet populated by the ghosts of dead children. But just like in Nightmare Before Christmas [Selick's beloved stop-action film from 1993], when Sally's arm falls off, we see leaves. We're not trying to traumatize anyone.

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Why did you cast Dakota Fanning? Dakota first read the script when she was only nine years old (She's 14 now; stop-motion animation takes a long time), and she responded immediately, understood the character and loved the darker elements.

Are we talking Saw Jr? It's more like "Pinocchio" and "Fantasia," R.L. Stine's "Goosebumps" series and camp fire stories. If those tales from the Brothers Grimm have lasted hundreds of years, there's something about them that people like to hear. The best stories were always the scary ones.

Like a roller coaster? It is, that feeling of not being in control for a moment and getting scared. It puts the hairs up on your neck and sends a shiver down your spine. But just as the roller coaster takes you back safely to the start, in the end, good has to triumph over evil.

Coraline is best suited for ages eight and up.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.