In the small New England (Massachusetts) town of Blithe Hollow, a boy named Norman Babcock is able to speak with the dead including his late grandmother and various ghosts in town. Unfortunately, almost no one among the living believes his ability is genuine and he is ostracized by his family while being ridiculed and bullied by most of his peers for his seemingly strange habit of casually conversing with supposed ghosts.
However, Norman makes a friend with Neil Downe, an eccentric fat boy who is bullied himself and finds Norman's earnest admission as a medium an intriguing part of a kindred spirit. During rehearsal of a school play commemorating the town's witch execution of 300 years ago, Norman has a harrowing vision of the town's past and being pursued as a witch by the town's citizenry. Afterward, the boys are confronted by Norman's estranged and seemingly deranged Uncle, Mr. Prenderghast, who tells his nephew that vision is a sign that he soon must take up his regular ritual to protect the town.
Norman refuses to take him seriously, but soon has another vision during the school play and creates a public spectacle of himself in the event which leads to his embarrassed parents grounding him. Now completely despondent and isolated, Norman is confronted by the ghost of the recently deceased Prenderghast in the washroom who tells him that the ritual must be performed with a special book before sundown that day. After some consideration, Norman sets off to Prenderghast's residence to retrieve the book and arrives at the graves of the town's ancestors, including Judge Hopkins who were supposedly cursed by the witch they condemned, but finds the book is merely a collection of fairy tales.
Before Norman can ponder the situation, Alvin, a bully who overheard Norman's encounter in the washroom, intrudes and interferes with the reading until after sundown. With that, a ghostly storm resembling the witch appears in the air while the cursed dead arise and pursue the boys until they meet Norman's sister, Courtney, Neil and his own brother, Mitch, who have come to retrieve Norman. Together, the kids are relentlessly pursued by the zombies into town, but Norman manages to contact a classmate who tells them to access the Town Hall's archives for the location of the witch's unmarked grave.
ParaNorman opened yesterday. If you are looking for a cute movie to take the kids too, this is it!!
We were a little nervous bringing the boys to see it. It is about Zombies and all, but the movie is very well done, and it's more funny then scary!! Both boys laughed quite often!!!
ParaNorman Freaky Fun Facts!
- ParaNorman is the first stop-motion movie to utilize a 3D Color Printer to create replacement faces for its puppets. Over 31,000 individual face parts were printed for the production.
- It takes at least 3-4 months to craft a new puppet from start to finish, not including design or testing time. Once a character has been created in its finished form for the first time, the multiples of that puppet can be fashioned faster. It took 60 puppet makers to create 178 individual puppets for ParaNorman…including, for Norman himself, 28 individual full body puppets. Thanks to the face replacements created by the 3D Color Printer, Norman has about 8,800 faces with a range of individual pieces of brows and mouths. Being a “man of 8,800 faces” meant that he could have approximately 1.5 million possible facial expressions.
- There are 275 spikes in Norman’s signature hair style. His hair was primarily made out of goat hair held together with hot glue, hair gel, fabric, and super glue – as well as medical adhesive, Pros-Aide make-up adhesive, thread, and wire. Once built, it was hand-finished with paint and human hair dye.
- The bathroom sequence, when Norman is contacted by the ghost of Mr. Prenderghast, took 1 year to shoot.
- For the outdoor sets, 300 feet of country road were created out of recycled plywood and coated with three kinds of paint. Additionally, 2,000 individual trees were made out of shredded cardboard to create the forests seen in the movie. Laid out end to end, those trees would stretch out to be about 2 miles long.
- It took 18 carpenters, 18 model builders, 6 riggers, 12 scenic painters, 11 greens artists, and 10 set dressers to craft the movie’s nearly three dozen unique locations.
- The bottom edge of Norman’s T-shirt has 102 stitches – all handmade and measured in length and spacing – with 48 stitches around his neckline.
- 120 different costumes were designed and made by hand for ParaNorman.
- The smallest animatable prop made for the movie was Norman’s mom’s perfume sprayer, which gets used in the station wagon to ward off the (zombie) Judge. Made out of brass and then chromed for a brushed stainless look, it measures 5/8” in length and 1/8” in diameter, with the pump nozzle 1/16” in diameter – and, it actually works!