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17 Small But Chilling Details In 'Coraline'

Updated September 10, 2020 32.7k votes 4.5k voters 522.5k views17 items

List RulesVote up the hair-raising details that make you appreciate the movie even more.

Coraline, released in 2009, is known as a kids' movie with a terrifying edge. The plot alone - which centers around a young girl entering a parallel world where nothing is as it seems - is scary enough, but since everything onscreen in Coraline was hand-crafted by a team of 29 animators, the film has plenty of little, hidden details that elevate it from slightly unnerving to existentially horrifying. 

The fandom of the movie is chock-full of theories about what the story really means, but these Coraline details you might have missed may just make you reconsider what you thought you knew about the world of the film.

  • 1

    The Beldam's Shadow Shows Her True Self

    The Beldam ensures nearly everything in the Other World is perfectly suited to Coraline's tastes, but she apparently can't control the shadows on the wall.

    As pointed out by Redditor u/EatASnickrz:

    The first night after [Coraline] meets the other parents and goes to sleep, you will see the other mother's shadow as her real self, while the other dad has none.

  • 2

    The Years On The Candy Jars May Connect To The Ghost Children

    When Coraline returns to Spink and Forcible's apartment in the real world after rejecting the Beldam's offer to have buttons sewn into her eyes, Ms. Forcible opens a trunk marked "Special Reserve" to reveal three vintage bowls of taffy. Ms. Spink then uses her knitting needles to dig out the seeing stone from one of the bowls.

    Each bowl is labeled with a year: 1921, 1936, and 1960. Fans surmise that these years - and, by extension, the taffy bowls - correspond to the years in which the three ghost children first went missing. By this logic, the bowl of taffy that Ms. Forcible brings Coraline to accompany her tea during her first visit would have been added to the trunk and labeled "2009" (the year the film was released) if Coraline had accepted the Beldam's offer. 

  • 3

    Mr. Bobinsky's Medal And Blue Skin Point To His Dark Past

    On the surface, Mr. Bobinsky appears to be an eccentric but harmless dilettante with a penchant for mice. His noticeably blue skin may simply seem like a design choice, but the medal he wears pinned to his shirt hints at a darker explanation.

    The distinctive emblem is a real medal given to the "Chernobyl liquidators," those who helped clean up the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. If Bobinsky helped with radiation cleanup, this could explain his abnormally colored skin - it may be a byproduct of prolonged radiation exposure.

  • 4

    A Hand-Shaped Lightning Bolt Signals The Beldam's Evil Scheme

    One blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment comes when the Beldam tries to convince Coraline to play a game. When the button-eyed matriarch suggests hide-and-seek in the rain, Coraline asks, "What rain?" just before a lightning bolt cuts through the sky outside the window. 

    If paused at just the right moment, the lightning bolt appears in the shape of the Beldam's clawlike hand, demonstrating just how tight her grip on Coraline and the Other World really is.