With Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted and Brave now in theaters, animation rivals DreamWorks and Pixar are duking it out to see who have the top cartoon of the summer season. And with colorful characters that are easily sold to families and converted into adorable children's toys, it's tough to compete with these dazzling CGI efforts. And yet there's a dark horse in the contest, a freaky stop-motion feature from Laika Entertainment of Coraline fame, called ParaNorman.

The Road's Kodi Smit-McPhee lends his voice to the eponymous hero of this creepy kid flick, a boy named Norman who has the incredible ability to see ghosts. Of course, that special skill can be a drag when no one believes you. But when Norman's town is besieged by zombies thanks to an ancient curse, his unique perspective is exactly what he needs to save the day.

Laika has already unleashed a string of trailers that revel in this tale's blend of humor and horror, but now they are offering a spirited behind-the-scenes featurette that shows just how Norman and his pals are constructed. Fittingly, it's in stop-motion. Check it out below—or to see it in HD head over to Apple.

While I'm sure there's some diligent animation enthusiast out there that will use this vid as a guide to build their own characters (and cheers to you!), I'd really like to see Laika team with Lego or the like and make kits that kids and adults dabble in their own interest in stop motion. Besides being a cool, creative and educational toy, it could also inspire a resurgence in stop-motion animation, a subgenre that definitely deserves to a resurrection.

ParaNorman. hits theaters on August 17th, in the meantime head over to our Blend Film Database to see more.

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