Halloween is almost upon us. It was tough finding the eight appropriate animated films for these Halloween-themed installments of Animation Corner, but I managed to not only find the eight I needed but several more. Some weren’t used this month because they had already been featured on Animation Corner, a couple weren’t used because I wanted to use them for specific director spotlights, and one I actually intend to feature in one of the upcoming Christmas editions in December (you’ll probably correctly guess which one it is). And now, I present my final Halloween Edition picks: the Oscar-nominated Monster House and the Oscar-nominated ParaNorman.
Directed by Gil Kenan, 2006’s Monster House centers on a trio of teens who discover that their neighbor’s house is actually a living, breathing, scary monster. Featuring the voices of Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Catherine O’Hara, Fred Willard, Jason Lee, Jon Heder, Kevin James, Nick Cannon, and Kathleen Turner, this critically acclaimed computer-animated film grossed over $73.5 million domestically on a budget of $75 million (it grossed $66.5 million internationally for a worldwide gross of $140 million). The performances were created using the 3D motion capture process that was used for 2004’s The Polar Express (which was directed by this film’s executive producer Robert Zemeckis). This film was also the first animated film to be made using Sony’s animation rendering software. Douglas Pipes provided the film’s terrific music (this was one of the first films he ever scored). The film’s accolades include six Annie Award nods (including Best Animated Feature), three Saturn Award nods (including Best Music & Best Animated Feature), additional Best Animated Feature nods from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Chicago Film Critics Association, Online Film Critics Society, the Producers Guild of America (PGA), the Golden Globes, and the Academy Awards, as well as Best Animated Feature wins from the Las Vegas Film Critics Society and the Florida Film Critics Circle.
Co-directed by Sam Fell and Chris Butler, 2012’s ParaNorman centers on a misunderstood boy who must take on ghosts, zombies, and grown-ups when a centuries-old curse threatens his town. Featuring the voices of Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jodelle Micah Ferland, Tucker Albrizzi, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, Elaine Stritch, Bernard Hill, John Goodman, Tempestt Bledsoe, and Alex Borstein, this critically acclaimed stop-motion animated film grossed $56 million domestically on a $60 million budget (it grossed $51 million internationally for a worldwide gross of $107 million). The stop-motion animation work for this film lasted two years, with 60 Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR cameras being used to shoot the movie. This film, which was the second stop-motion animated film produced by Laika, became the first stop-motion animated film to utilize full color 3D printers for replacement animation. Jon Brion contributed the film’s wonderful score. This is also the first mainstream animated children’s film to feature an openly gay character. This film’s accolades include eight Annie Award nods (including two wins!), Best Animated Feature nods from BAFTA, the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Houston Film Critics Society, Indiana Film Critics Association, NY Film Critics Circle, Phoenix Film Critics Society, Saturn Awards, Producers Guild of America (PGA), and the Academy Awards, as well as Best Animated Feature wins from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, Boston Online Film Critics Association, Central Ohio Film Critics Association, Chicago Film Critics Association, Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, Denver Film Critics Society, Las Vegas Film Critics Society, San Diego Film Critics Society, San Francisco Film Critics Circle, Utah Film Critics Association, Toronto Film Critics Association, and the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association.