Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Horror for Kids #3: Coraline

Do you ever have one of those moments where you watch a film and then feel sad that it took you so long to get around to seeing it, because it's amazing and if you'd seen it when it came out you'd have had it in your life that bit longer? Well, that's what happened to me the other day when I finally watched Coraline. I was going to post something about it straight away, but I wanted to read the book first and write about them both together.

The relationship between the book and the film is really interesting. Whereas most film adaptations take stuff away, this film takes Neil Gaiman's wonderfully creepy modern fairy tale and adds a few new elements and a few new characters in order to make it work over the 100 minute running time. The great thing is that all those elements enhance the story without ruining it.

I have to say, this is one of the creepiest stories I've read or seen in a long time. I was really interested to see in the introduction to the 10th Anniversary edition of the book that Gaiman originally started writing it for his five year old daughter. Given that the story involves child neglect, disappearing parents and people sewing buttons over their eyes, I'm fairly certain that it would have scared me witless at that age! I wonder if Neil Gaiman's daughter still has a love of all things terrifying? If so, she must be pretty hardcore by now.

Anyway, both the book and the film are magical, existing in that childhood state of mind that can just except weird shit happening and deal with it. It's fantastical and beautiful, and at the same time I thought Coraline came across as a really believable character, especially in the way she is constantly having to correct people's pronunciation of her name.

If you like creepy stories, whatever your age, you will love this one. If you are a more delicate soul, then take heart in the fact that the main message of this story is that real bravery comes from being scared and still doing the right thing, and then read the book and watch the film anyway.

Oh, and click on the link above to the book's website. It's awesome!

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