The Horror Honeys: ParaNorman ~ You Don't Become a Hero by Being Normal.

ParaNorman ~ You Don't Become a Hero by Being Normal.

A Revenge Honey Spooky Kid SQUEE Review by Linnie

ParaNorman (2012)

How do you coherently talk about a movie that means more to you than just any old movie? How do you explain your love for a film that through animation, manages to reconnect you to your own childhood, if that seems a little insane given the story? How do you try to sell people on a film that is marketed toward children, but is in fact one of the most shrewd and loving tributes to horror films/fans ever created?

Well, frankly... You don't. You just squee about it to anyone who will listen until everyone has seen it for the remarkable movie that it is. So today, your Spooky Kid Squee movie is ParaNorman, another remarkable Laika Studios release, and if you don't already love it... you will soon enough.

The Story: Norman Babcock is a little boy who can speak with the dead.

This was me. Often. Don't judge.
Norman's family thinks he's crazy, and while his mom is supportive, his dad wants him to grow up and stop speaking to his dead grandmother as if she's hanging out in the living room.

Uh... your dead relatives didn't talk to you while you watched TV?
At school, Norman is ostracized and called a freak because of his abilities. His only friend is Neal, who's about as awkward as he is.

What? Like you're so athletic?
But when a group of Puritanical zombies (yes, actual Puritans) are brought back to life due to a witch's curse, only Norman can save the day, with the help of Neal, Neal's brother Mitch, and Norman's sister Courtney.

ParaNorman isn't just adorably animated, but it's stocked to brim with horror-in jokes and little touches that will only be recognizable to people who grew up on horror. Norman is obsessed with zombie films, especially classic B-movie zombie films, and his bedroom is full of posters paying tribute to the zombie giallos of old.

He also makes a darn cute zombie himself.
Additionally, when Norman's phone rings, it plays the John Carpenter-penned theme music from the original Halloween, and Neil stops by to visit Normie in some familiar attire.

But ParaNorman is so much more than just a collection of adorable horror jokes or a zombie film for kids. This movie, directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell, is all about teaching kids that incredibly important lesson of acceptance. You discover near the end that the "witch" of the film's central ghost story was just a little girl named Aggie, suspected of witchcraft by Puritans. In her sadness, she put a curse on the town that lasted hundreds of years, but can you blame her?

Through Aggie and Norman, you learn that people are rarely what they seem, and always more complicated, beautiful, and exceptional than you could ever see with just a single glance. Norman learns to accept his powers for the magical gift that they are, and Aggie is at last at peace, now that people know her story.

And the Puritans got a little comeuppance.
Additionally, through Mitch, we have one of the first openly gay characters in a children's film in history, something for which Laika should be exceedingly proud. The reveal is wonderfully adorable and every woman can relate, making it a moment worth celebrating. But best of all, ParaNorman teaches us that being different is undeniably awesome.

As they should be.
Even if you don't relate to Norman, even if your childhood wasn't... odd... Chances are that if you're here, you know how it feels to be different. ParaNorman is the kid's film we all wish we had when we children, telling us it's ok to be true to who you are.

Revenge Honey Rating: 5 ugly cries/happy squee's out of 5

ParaNorman is available via iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube VOD, Vudu, Google Play, & blu-ray/DVD

Do you love ParaNorman like I do?
Tell me on Twitter: @linnieloowho