Is Coraline Too Scary For Kids?

With the man who was behind Nightmare Before Christmas at the helm, it’s not too hard to believe that the upcoming Coraline might be a bit too scary for kids. By director Henry Selick’s own admission, the movie might be too scary for kids, or not scary enough for adults, which Selick attributes to using stop-motion animation to tell the story.

”Doing it as a stop-motion film would sort of bridge those two audiences in some respects. Selick told MTV’s Splash Page. ”Stop-motion has its own creeky feel to it. It has a charm, in a sense. You don’t know how big that thing is you’re looking at, but you know it exists.”

In the interview, Selick makes an interesting comparison between his adaptation of Coraline and something like Grimm’s Fairy Tales. That might be a very good comparison actually. We all know fairy tales are for kids, but that applies to the Disney version of fairy tales, not the original stories, which tend to have a dark edge to them quite frequently.

Interestingly, on the other side of the creative coin, author Neil Gaiman (who originally wrote Coraline) spoke up on the matter on his blog, giving the most common sense answer for the question - know your own kid. ”And the answer to is Coraline right for six year olds is, I don't know. What sort of thing does your six year old like? I think a good rule of thumb would be, that if your child can cope with The Nightmare Before Christmas and the original Wizard of Oz then they should be able to cope with Coraline just fine. As a general rule, Coraline the book is much creepier for adults than it is for kids, who tend to read it as an adventure. I suspect that this will be true of the film as well.”

I have to admit I haven’t read Gaiman’s original story, but the trailers for Coraline haven’t looked that frightening, especially if you avoid the 3-D versions of the movie if you have concerns your kid might not like the movie. What do you think? Does Coraline look like it’s for kids, adults, or both?