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There's nothing wrong with being scared, Norman, so long as you don't let it change who you are.
Grandma Babcock

ParaNorman is a stop-motion animated comic horror film from Laika Animation Studios -- better known for their success with Coraline -- and based on the book of the same name by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, that was released in August 17, 2012. It was directed by Chris Butler (the main storyboard artist on Coraline) and Sam Fell (an Aardman alumni and director of Flushed Away), based off a script written by Butler.

The film follows the titular protagonist, Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), living in a small town in Massachusetts. With the "gift" of speaking to the dead, Norman is called an outcast by most of the town, most of which populated by childish adults and a nasty population of kids. When the town comes under siege by zombies, ghosts and witches, only he can actually save the town from these creatures, not to mention a centuries-old curse on the town.

Tropes used in ParaNorman include:
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Once again, Anna Kendrick loses a guy that she was crushing on to the gay community.
    • The title of "Kid in danger with the unknown" seems to be the names of Kodi Smit-McPhee's characters.
    • Jodelle Ferland seems to get roles where a girl who places the town under a curse after the residents tried and execute her for witchcraft.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Norman.
  • Adults Are Useless: Most of the adults range from Too Dumb to Live to just plain crazy.
  • Adult Fear: Agatha, an innocent kid, was condemned and put to death as a witch. History almost repeats itself with Norman's parents' protestations getting drowned out by the mob which shows just how powerless they are.
  • Aloof Big Sister: Courtney.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Deconstructed hard.
  • An Aesop: "Revenge is wrong" types. This is one of the few cases where it's not the protagonist that needs to learn it, but the "Witch."
    • Other Aesops are "don't let fear make you do bad things," "bullying of any kind is wrong," and "Don't judge others, just because they're strange," to name a few.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Courtney sees Norman as this.
  • Anti-Villain:Agatha falls into Type II.
  • The Atoner: The Judge and his zombie companions are fully aware that the curse was their fault. The zombies only want to tell Norman how to stop the curse.
  • Badass Pacifist: Norman takes the beatdown route that even pushes the envelope of the movie's PG rating and never stops trying to reason with Agatha's ghost.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Averted. When Mitch is shirtless he has nipples.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Courtney.
  • Big Bad: The ghost of the witch.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Norman and Mr. Prenderghast. Also Agatha. Turns out it runs in the family as well as the ability to speak to the deceased.
  • Black Comedy
  • Book Dumb: Neil.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:

Neil: It's just because I'm fat and I have asthma and I sweat when I walk too fast and my lunchbox has a kitten on it, and I have irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Bring My Brown Pants: Alvin attempts to flee from the zombies, exclaiming "I think I peed my pants!"
  • The Bully: Alvin.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Alvin attempts to woo girls but isn't successful.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Norman's ability to speak to the dead becomes useful when the town comes under siege by supernatural forces.
  • Cool Loser: Norman happens to be able to speak to the dead, but is considered an outsider in the community. However, this is somewhat justified when you really consider from everyone else's perspective how this is a kid who is going around claiming he speaks with dead people.
  • Cool Old Lady: Grandma Babcock.
  • Cosmetic Horror: This happens to the school drama teacher; her makeup is awful, worst is her green facial mask that's so bad that only talking to her saves her from being mistaken for one of the zombies.
  • Crapsack World: Much of the trailer shows the rundown suburb that the protagonist lives in. And of course...
  • Creepy Child: According to most of the town, Norman is this and so is the little girl who is the "infamous" witch.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The town's ghosts, who are friendly. Ditto with the zombies, since all they want is to atone for their sin of killing a "witch", who was just angry about the wrongs done to her.
  • Dumb Blonde: Courtney, though it looks like she dyes.
  • Dumb Jock: Mitch.
  • Dumb Muscle: Mitch and Alvin.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Norman has to fight a "witch" to protect a town that mostly scorns him, only to find that the townspeople realize that the ghosts and undead are real and are willing to assist with the crisis. At the end, Norman is hailed as a hero with a cool ability.-- better known for their success with Coraline --
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: The first creature to invade Blithe Hollow. Oh, and it gets worse...
  • Evil is Petty: The witch cursed all of Blithe Hollow to be attacked by the zombies of those who tried her. Subverted, since Aggy cursed the zombies to go through the same thing as she did.
  • Executive Meddling: The aerobics instructor's butts aren't as...detailed as they appear in the teasers and trailers.
  • Exotic Eye Designs: Norman's irises and pupils are faceted. No other character has eyes like his, so it's not a result of the heavy stylization in the film.
  • Fat Best Friend: Neil.
  • Favoritism Flip Flop: At the ending of the film, Alvin explains to some girls that he and Norman have been very close for years. It's true in a sense, since Alvin was Norman's bully.
  • The Film of the Book
  • Fighting for Survival: When the townspeople encounter the zombies they do what every sane person does, but it turns out to be unnecessary.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Foot Focus: Briefly with Courtney when she paints her nails.
  • Foreshadowing: The practice session of the school play, including the line about the witch's portrayal being historically inaccurate.
    • While watching the B-Movie's opening, Norman's Grandma made the weird suggestion that instead of running to the hills, the girl in the film could've at least tried to reason with the zombie.
  • Freaky Is Cool: This trope is the reason why Neil befriends Norman.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The witch's ghost used to be a sweet girl that had the power to see ghosts. Her other terrifying powers appeared after she was hanged.
  • Genre Savvy: The bar owner, once realizing the man asking for help isn't drunk or crazy and there's really zombies, she shouts, "KILL 'EM IN THE HEAD!"
  • George Lucas Throwback: Basically The Goonies meets Night of the Living Dead.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: It's really Up to Eleven. Which is a good thing for a movie pushing its PG rating.
    • When ghost Grandma asks what's going on.

Norman:"Sex and violence."


Alvin: They're going to eat our brains!


Norman: I think you'll be safe.

  • The Stinger: The credits show a video of how Norman's figure was made.
  • Straight Gay: Mitch.
  • Strange Boy: Norman basically since he deals with the supernatural.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Both Norman Babcock and Agatha Prendreghast, who's a distant relative somewhere on his mother's side.
  • Stylistic Suck: The zombie movie that Norman watches in the beginning. The props are seemingly rubber, the acting is unconvincing, and the actress has to shove the boom mic out of frame...
  • Talking to the Dead: Primarily this is Mr. Prenderghast and Norman's abilities. It runs in the family. This goes way back, mainly with Aggie Prenderghast.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Norman deals with crap as a result of his gift. Ultimately, Then there's Agatha Prendergast - The "Witch" of Blithe Hollow - who is very much like him: An innocent kid that could see the dead, only became a monster by the fearful townsfolk after they sentenced her to death.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The mob outside of Town Hall.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Dating back to the early 18th Century, the town condemned and executed a innocent young girl for being a witch and then, consciously or not, distorted her memory into some hideous caricature, which pisses off Agatha more with each passing year...
  • Unfortunate Names: The last name of Babcock.
  • Überwald
  • When Trees Attack: Kinda. While Norman was having a vision while at the school play rehearsal, the tree grabs him and gives a warning "Dead are coming."
    • Played straight. Before the final confrontation. Agatha uses the trees to trap and separate Norman's family. Then uses the spiked roots to impale Norman.
  • White and Grey Morality:Both The Judge and Agatha are just scared and angry. At the end The Judge apologies.
  • Witch Hunt: This trope cause the whole trouble and plot in the first place.
  • Witch Species: It's hinted that some of the Prenderghast descendants are this.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Agatha is extremely powerful little girl that lost it when she was accused and executed.
  • Would Hurt A Child: The Judge. He sentence a young girl to be hanged just for talking to the dead.
    • This is taken to Complete Monster level, when we realize this means it would involve Agatha choking slowly, since her neck didn't snap.
  • Your Brain Won't Be Much of a Meal: See the Stealth Insult above.
  • Zombie Advocate: Norman becomes this, once he realizes that the zombies are intelligent and are just as afraid too. His older sister, Mitch, Neil, and Alvin backs up his claims.
  • Zombie Apocalypse:Subverted. The zombies' appearance freaks the townspeople out, the latter quickly gathers weapons, attack them, and the zombies lost, since they're not the Resident Evil types.
    • Subverted again wonderfully in the courthouse scene. The kids and zombies are inside as questing arms burst through the walls and windows, just like in any Romero movie. That's right, LIVING people are breaking down the walls to attack the undead.