Zombies get new lease of life in "ParaNorman"

Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:30pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Stop-motion films have been breathing life into inanimate objects for over a century, but "ParaNorman" takes on the undead, bringing zombies, ghosts and ghouls to a quirky family comedy.

"ParaNorman" - in U.S. movie theaters on Friday - follows the journey of a young misfit with the ability to speak to the dead.

Norman must save his unsuspecting town from an impending zombie apocalypse, aided by his friends, family and even the school bully on an adventure that has car chases, angry mobs and a surprising twist.

The team at the Laika studio, which was behind the critically acclaimed 2009 fantasy animation film "Coraline," were not only eager to add horror to the stop-motion genre - they also wanted to make the "most ambitious stop-frame movie ever."

"It's very influenced by the movies I grew up watching, which I think then therefore taps into the adult stuff with the John Carpenter and John Hughes element to it," director Christopher Butler told Reuters. He added that the makers had referenced 1980s horror classics such as "Halloween."

"We always thought of what would happen if the kids from 'The Breakfast Club' ended up in 'The Fog'," he said.

"We pushed boundaries with 'Coraline' and did everything you're not supposed to do in stop-motion on this."

A team of 60 artists crafted 178 puppets of the 61 characters in "ParaNorman," with 28 puppets alone for Norman, each incorporating 275 strands of goat hair, thread and wire to create the hero's signature spiky hair style.   Continued...