SDCC '12: PARANORMAN Panel and Footage Description

Ever since I heard what Laika was doing with their latest stop-motion animated film Paranorman, I've been extremely excited about seeing the final product. The animation studio just does great work with telling their stories like Coraline. I love the dark children tales that they choose to create. They are both fun for adults and kids who like a little scare in their lives... like mine.

Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Laika CEO Travis Knight, co-directors Chris Butler and Sam Fell all showed up to the panel to talk about the film, which was moderated by Entertainment Weekly's Dave Karger.

To get a good idea of what they were going for with Paranorman Knight called it John Carpenter meets John Hughes, Ray Harryhausen on bath salts, and The Breakfast Club meets The Fog. The reasoning behind those comparisons is that the film has a wide range of characters that includes the geek, the Jock, the princess, the dweeb and the bully, all interacting with each other in a crazy horror situation. Then they explained how they were inspired by the horror movie of the 80's such as poltergeist, gremlins, and some Romero zombie films and even Scooby Doo.

They ended up showing us a awesome behind the scenes featurette of the film which included interviews with the creative talent talking about the film, and it also included a ton of new fun footage. One of the coolest things in the featurette included some time lapse footage of the animators creating the stop motion scenes in the film, and then faded into how those scenes ended up actually looking. Among the other scenes that were shown their was a teddy bear with bats coming out of its mouth, toilet paper ghosts attacking Norman as he trembles on the bowl, and a hilarious moment when Norman’s fat friend shows up at his house wearing Jason hockey mask.

In the story, Norman has to stop the witches’ curse to stop the zombie invasion. He must read a spell from a book at a witches graveyard. Norman goes to a forest to embrace his destiny. He hesitantly starts to read from a book to start his journey in stopping the evil when a bully pops in and starts to tease Norman. This all ends when the sky becomes dark and evil. Then a horde of different fun looking creepy zombies start riiiiiise from their graves to attack Norman.

A second clip is shown that takes place shortly after that scene ends which includes Norman, his sister, his friend, the bully and a jock type character all in a van speeding through a Forest while being attacked by a zombie on the top of the van. The zombie breaks through and everyone starts freaking out. As this happens a motorcycle cop drives up next to them telling them to pull over.

During the Q&A session here's a few things that went down...


  • An insanely adorable 5-year-old girl dressed like a unicorn asked, “Why are the monsters so scary?”
  • Anna Kendrick told the crowd that she was not offered the role of the bratty sister because of Twilight, where she plays a bratty teen as well, but because the directors just “listened to her voice in interviews.
  • Mintz-Plasse did some lame beatboxing as Smit-McPhee did some crazy cool poppin’ and lockin’.


This looks like it will be one of the biggest most epic stop-motion animated ever made. There's a ton of great detail, big crowd scenes, and incredibly cool action sequences. Everything they showed was extremely entertaining, and it looks like its going to be an amazing movie that everyone will enjoy! I seriously can't wait to take my kids to see it!


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