Making scary stories family-friendly for film is somewhat of a specialty for director Henry Selick. And when it comes to collaborations with creators like Neil Gaiman on “Coraline” or Tim Burton on “The Nightmare Before Christmas” his source material comes steaming with tongue-in-cheek horror tropes ripe for Selick’s particular style of stop-motion animation.
“Some would say it's too scary for kids, or it's not scary enough for adults,” Selick said of “Coraline” in an exclusive interview with MTV News. “Doing it as a stop-motion film would sort of bridge those two audiences in some respects. 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.”
The director compared Gaiman’s vision for the story to the storytelling traditions of Lewis Carroll’s brand of fantasy and the scary subtexts of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. “I loved Grimm's Fairy Tales,” he said, “but you can't just do them as they are -- and I felt this was really Grimm’s Fairy Tales channeled through Neil Gaiman.”
Asked if he thought this degree of fright would be too much for children on screen as opposed to the still pages of Gaiman’s original children’s book, Selick brushed aside the suggestion.
“Everyone is afraid to scare the children, but children love to be scared,” he insisted. “You don't want to scar them for life, but I have some kids who are growing up fast and I see what they see on TV and elsewhere. ‘Robot Chicken’ and ‘South Park’ are out there, and ‘Batman’ is on TV and it's dark and twisted and wonderful.”
Do you think Gaiman’s original material from “Coraline” is too scary for children? Should parents lighten up when it comes to letting their kids be scared? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.