Scary Monsters, Spooky Kids

April 1, 2012 – I’m too old to get excited about theatrical releases, but a part of me still does. Although these days it’s because that means the movie is that much closer to hitting Blu-ray, which means it’s that much closer to streaming on Netflix or Amazon Prime, which is when I’ll probably finally get around to watching whichever one piqued my interest.

Lately, I’ve been noticing that interest getting piqued more frequently than usual. It’s an annoying feeling. Mostly, it’s been by one type of movie. You see, I dig movies about classic monsters, I dig animation, and I dig kid’s flicks. So, by the complex rules of formal logical invented by ancient Greek men who walked around with their fingers held up in the air, I dig animated kids movies about classic monsters. Turns out, it’s a good year to have that route mapped out to one's pleasure center since there are three major releases debuting this year.

I thought I’d group the trailers all together on one page, see if anything interesting arises as a result. Actually, I wrote this introduction last, and can already tell you that the entire post is just my malformed opinions based on a mere few minutes’ worth of trailers.

Hotel Transylvania (September 2012)  

The premise here is that Hotel Transylvania is a secret place where monsters can get away from humans…until a random human backpacker drops in and falls for Drac’s daughter. Honestly, my hopes aren’t too high for this one. I’m still fogey enough to find CGI generally uncompelling and lacking character, although I can get over that if the script is solid enough (see Monster House).

However, the real nail in this coffin might be the voice cast, which is the usual cringe-inducing Adam Sandler crew (including Sandler himself as Dracula). However, on the extreme plus side, it’s directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, who brought us the amazing Cartoon Network series Samurai Jack back in the early 2000s. Also, when it comes down to it, I’ll watch any monster mash.

Frankenweenie (October 2012) 

I’ll also watch anything stop-motion and anything Tim Burton. While he’s been busy filming Dark Shadows (and not realizing that we already spent the entire 1990s having fun at the expense of the 1970s), he’s also been directing the stop-motion Frankenweenie. Basically, the movie is a re-telling of the Frankenstein story, and it’s based on his charming 1984 live-action short about a boy and the dead dog he misses so much he resurrects him.

Naturally, I can’t see this film being as transcendent as The Nightmare Before Christmas, but I at least hope that it’s not as bland as Corpse Bride, those latter four words being a phrase that should make no sense.

ParaNorman (August 2012) 

Of the three movies on this page, I’m probably looking forward to this one the most. Partly, that’s because it has the most unknown about it. Sure, it’s about zombies in a time that even zombies are sick of zombies, but these look like throw-back zombies. Back before they were slickly produced for prime time or lampooned with a thousand parodies or were the default setting for any no-budget horror venture.

Besides, it isn’t just about zombies, it’s about ghosts and witches, as well. The basic plot of this blessedly stop-motion film is that a zombie-obsessed kid finds himself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse (I hate that we live in a world where that phrase is a trite one) brought about by a witch’s curse and that his talent for communicating with the dead gives him the unique ability to put a stop to it all. I think. Like I said, some unknown about this one, which is good.

 In the end, I’m not saying that the fact that these movies are coming up for this year’s Halloween season are worth coming down off that ledge for. Just that maybe this, plus the fact that Knight Rider is on Netflix Instant might be.