“you don’t become a hero by being normal” : ParaNorman


[taken from the movie cover of ParaNorman]

Have you her felt like an outsider to your peers because you were “different”? I bet it didn’t feel great, did it? That’s the suffering that our hero, Norman, has to face everyday.. until his quiet existence is interrupted by a strange omen — that a witch is going to come back to terrorize Blithe Hollow! [his home town]

ParaNorman is an animated “kids-horror” film noted for being made by Laika. [who made the likes of such movies as “Coraline“, or even “James & The Giant Peach“] the film starts off with our zombie-obsessed hero Norman watching an old black and white horror film with his grandmother. When Grandma asks Norman to ask his father to turn up the heat, all sorts of hell breaks loose! as it turns out, Grandma has been dead for a while now; making the viewer realize that Norman can in fact see the dead. Which becomes more obvious as we see him talking to ghostly figures on his walk to school: such as a dog, a pilot stuck in a tree [how’s it hanging?], even a bird with the plastic from soda rings: all dead.. and Norman can see, and even have full conversations, with them all.

Unfortunately, no one believes him at home, [his sister flat out yells at him for “striving for attention” to which his father agrees!] so naturally, the same happens at school — where he’s known as ParaNorman[get it? cause he’s Paranormal? ..forget it]

At school, he’s considered different. someone strange; therefore, as seen above, everyone ignores him. he’s simply just there. that is until he meets an unlikely friend in a kid known as Neil. Norman and Neil work together well as friends since they both get picked on [for different things, obviously] and believe it or not, Neil actually believes in Norman about his abilities to see and talk to the dead.

this is one of the few sad things that are shown in the film.

Things only stir up when a man called Mr. Prenderghast shows up [revealing to be Norman‘s uncle] and tells him that he has to perform a ritual at a grave to stop a witch from coming back from the dead and killing everyone! unfortunately, it’s not so simple..especially since Norman doesn’t know where to start: except for getting a book from Prenderghast‘s house [which ends up being a fairytale book]. When the ritual doesn’t work as planned, the witch – known as Agatha – comes back and immediately starts terrorizing everyone, [as she promised] leaving Norman to fix everything before it’s too late. So with a unlikely team consisting of Neil, Norman, Courtney [Norman‘s sister] and Neil‘s brother; they set out to stop the witch, before it’s too late..


hardcore zombies, man.. they’re a real thing!

With the dead coming back to life, people start freaking out, breaking out weapons and the like preparing for a full out war, but the unlikely heroes are heading to the town hall, trying to find records of Agatha and what happened to her.. When Norman catches on to the truth of “Agatha‘s past, he rushes to the source of the storm [which is what’s causing the dead to rise] and finds what can only be called the most terrifying cloud in a kids film:


you can’t say that’s not fucking terrifying.. jeez.

When Norman tries to talk to Agatha, telling her to quit what she’s started, Norman falls into a sort of time-warp; landing back in the days of old.. where Norman learns the real truth behind the witch. As it turns out, Agatha was a young girl [around Norman‘s age actually] when she learned she had a gift; she could talk to ghosts [sound familiar?!] however, due to the time period, she was written off as a witch — which got her brought to trial instantly, and ultimately, her death. Her final words were that one day she’d make them pay for what they did, which she clearly kept to her word.

Meanwhile, back in modern-day and now knowing the truth, Norman realizes he has to find a way to convince Agatha that she can’t keep doing this. By tormenting people, she is coming off worse than the people who once killed her. She’s not playing fair, she just wants revenge. The movie’s climax ends when Agatha finally calms down, [took long enough!] and decides to rest [meaning “be at peace”?.. fuck, his movie got depressing really quick, didn’t it?] Finally, Norman is viewed as a hero, and everyone’s happy.

ParaNorman is an awesome kids film – filled with simple scares, laughs, jokes, and even sadness — the film has something for everyone. If the above didn’t convince you enough to give a watch, [it is on Netflix] watch it for Courtney. She may be animated but she’s voiced by the ever so lovely Anna Kendrick — you know, this babe:


you can’t honestly tell me that Anna Kendrick [left] isn’t a babe. cause she so totally is..



ain’t nobody stuffing THIS turkey this ThanksKilling!

Being as I’m in Renfrew until Tuesday visiting Steph’s family for Thanksgiving, I felt that this was probably the absolute best time to talk about a certain little indie flick that really shouldn’t be taken too seriously: THANKSKILLING. It’s a quirky little film from 2009, and feels like that feels like it’s a TROMA film. It even spawned [not one, but] two sequels! really though, how many films have you heard of that say “warning: tits in the first second of the film” ? THANKSKILLINGis definitely something else, and deserves it’s cult following — it’s certainly the first film I’ve seen with a killer turkey, that’s for sure!

Filmed in less than 11 days, the film is [quite honestly] terrible, with next to no familiar actors, and little to no budget. It’s almost as if the directors set out to make the most “what the fuck” movie they could think of: and a homicidal turkey who says things like “gobble gobble motherfucker” certainly does the trick..

The film doesn’t really have a plot either; even iMDB has it as “six college students get axed by a homicidal turkey”, which sounds less than intimidating. As I said earlier, the film feels like something from TROMA; with extremely gory kills — even if they are a little cheesy. [okay, a lot of cheesy!] Believe it or not though, the sequel takes in space, and the third film came out only two years ago!

Ultimately, I’m not entirely sure if I can recommend this film; primarily because of how unique it is [and I use the term “unique” very lightly!] — I mean, it’s a fucking killer turkey! At least it takes place around this time of year? Be sure to share what you’re thankful this year, in this case; this mother-gobbling film! just make sure the turkey is actually dead; and not homicidal..


film study: what IS a cult film, anyway??

good question there, Henry.. what IS cult?

In my history of watching [a fuckton] of movies, I’ve been asked by a lot of friends what a ‘cult film’ truly is, and/or what it even means. In today’s edition of ‘film study’, I hope to elaborate on the subject, and maybe even mention a few of my personal favorites. [shockingly – they’re not all horror films!]

a ‘cult film’, by definition is:

“sometimes referred to as a cult classic, a cult film is one that has acquired a ‘cult following’. they are known for their [extremely] dedicated fan-base and feature an elaborate subculture that engage in repeated viewings and/or quoting of the dialogue”

This meaning of course, that it’s like an actual cult: that it’s a film that has a ‘certain’ group of people who follow it. Another example is that it’s a film that was considered bad, but got such a following for it – usually because of it’s weird, yet likeable feel – it ended up as a commercial success! [I can think of a few!] Who knows? you may even know some without even knowing it was considered it was a ‘cult classic’!

Some cult classics are fairly well known though; with films like Eraserhead [as seen above], The Toxic Avenger or other strange, obscure films. But how does one know if a film is ‘a cult film’? In order for a cult film to work, it is usually defined by four main elements. These elements are:

  • Anatomy: this is talking about the film itself, including [but not limited to] it’s actual content, it’s film style and the story’s formatting.

  • Consumption: meaning the ways it’s received, through the audience, and critics. Did it do well? Was it generally ‘liked’? What was response?

  • Political Economy: here we talk about the financial and physical conditions of the film. Was it a big budgeted film? how much money did it end up bringing in, in the first place? so, basically – the money/budget side of the ‘Political Economy’

  • Cultural status: lastly, how did it work with it’s surroundings? Did it achieve what it was trying to do through exploiting something/someone, critiquing a topic[s], or even offending someone. this could be intentional

  • Note: While not all of these are necessary together to make a cult film; they are important to consider.

In this next part, I’m going to share [with pictures!] some of my personal favorite cult films. I’m going to mention a few that may be ‘unknown’ [so don’t expect obvious choices haha!] also, obviously, there are a ton of cult classics out there, so be sure to check a few out: they’re weird, they’re strange and they’re a fun time – I’m sure a bunch are even on Netflix [don’t quote me on that last part!]

Office Space is [in my opinion] the definitive cult classic. it has comedy, it has romance, and it’s certainly quirky. Just don’t let the head boss move you to the basement level – without your piece of cake.

If someone told you that aliens had arrived on Earth, disguised as humans, and the only way to know who wasn’t an alien was through a pair of sunglasses – what would you say? I’d say you’re probably watching the movie They Live.

easily my favorite anime of all time, Akira has quite the story-line. it follows a secret military project that turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psychopath [who also turns out to be a psionic] that only two kids and a group of psionics can stop from destruction. This film also has a live action film coming soon, but we all know how that usually goes..

I hope I’ve helped you understand a little bit more about cult films: with where they come from, what they are usually comprised of, and some of my favorites. Also, be sure to tune in tomorrow morning for my next post. [which I’ll have figured out what it’ll be about, and mentally written by tonight]