163 Creepy Kids Movie Series, Part 1: Exploring Coraline – a Beautiful, Haunting Allegory for Child Abuse and Neglect

Since Nichole hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Coraline, a gorgeous and creepy AF 3D stop-motion animated film by Henry Selick and Neil Gaiman, we decided to talk about this week, kicking off a short creepy kids’ movie series.  

In This Episode

This week we’re talking about Coraline, a dark fantasy horror movie for kids (and adults!). This film is breathtaking in its technical execution, its beauty, and most of all, in its exploration of a dark and difficult topic: abuse. We absolutely fell in love with this movie and recommend it to everyone who loves dark and creepy things. Content warning: talk of child abuse, neglect, gaslighting, mind control For fun, we also explore some fan theories about the “secret” meaning of Coraline. Our favorites can be found in this video: Joke in the middle
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    • Holy god I have felt this way since i first saw this movie and was also shocked that no one else saw it this way. As you two have, I am (still since I am 17) growing up in a “grey-area” abuse household. I deeply related to Coraline throughout the entire movie, as my biological father always played a supportive yet simultaneously passive role in a mothers abuse. My mom would scream in my face over the smallest things and then try to get me to forgive her by showering me with gifts and insincere love. Then on a day to day basis, my mother and step father would basically ignore me or treat me like a nuisance. They would/still do talk about me while they know I’m in the room and discuss issues regarding me without ever addressing me directly. Sometimes, when they were angry with me when I was just a few years younger, my step dad would refer to me as “it” when talking to my mom. And after these strange episodes of time went by, my mom would try to have things revert to normal. She would pretend like none of the awfulness happened and that we’re just a big happy family. Anytime that I would try to confront my mom about these things that had happened, she would pretend that they never happened. Any time she noticed me distancing myself from her, she also would go out of her way to try to remind me of all of these “fun times” we had had. What’s even funnier is that a lot of the “fun times” were specific points in my life where I remembered absolutely hating that experience I was having with her. And through all of this, my mom would persistently make herself out to be a victim. That anytime I complained to my mom about how she would literally ignore me and treat me as if I was worthless, she would act like I was a bully and that I was lying and that she does nothing but love me. It was very clear to me when I watched Coraline that this sort of relationship was being painted throughout the film. The movie has actually helped me through a large portion of these dark times until I move out of this awful home. So grateful for you two for seeing the movie the way I saw it as well. It helps me feel less alone.

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