If you have any suggestions for any other movies I should develop theories for or if you have any post suggestions you would like to share, definitely share them in the comments below. I am also still looking for YOUR true spook stories so be sure to send them to me via the comments down below, the contact page below, send me a DM on Twitter ( @Eerie_Unsolved ) or email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Coraline’ is a 2009 American stop-motion dark fantasy movie based on the book of the same name which was written by Neil Gaiman. It was produced by Laika and the screenplay was written and directed by Henry Sellick, with co-operation and approval by Gaiman himself.
It is one of my favourite films and one that I have seen countless times, finding something new in each viewing. About six months ago, I stumbled across a video on YouTube from The Fangirl, a woman who has a 33 video series on ‘Coraline’ movie theories – which you should definitely check out – and from that point on, I was obssessed with the easter eggs and theories around the movie.
A lot of what I am going to be talking about today stems from her videos and I think they’re all absolutely amazing!
After binge watching these videos, I began to develop my own ideas about the film and I would love to share these theories with you.
To begin with, we must state the fact on which I will build up all of my theories – at the end of the movie, Coraline never returned to the real world.
To consolidate this, in the final moments of the movie, the cat is shown to disappear into what can be presumed is a portal with a smug grin on his face (is that possible though, considering he’s a cat? I don’t know, we’ll go with it). This suggests that Coraline is still in the other world because, as far as we are aware, the cat doesn’t/wouldn’t like to return to the other world after the final confrontation with the Beldam (or ‘Other Mother’) and it would make no sense for him to be returning there and thus, would make more sense if he was returning to the real world instead, meaning Coraline was in the other world.
To further back up the theory that Coraline never returned to the real world, everything seems too good to be true. Through the whole film, Coraline desperately wants to do gardening with her parents but they always find excuses. However, after the final confrontation, Coraline ‘returns home’ and the last we see of her is that she is outside with her parents and the neighbours, planting flowers and enjoying pizza. Not only this but her family is laughing and joking around with one another, something else that hadn’t been happening beforehand. The fact that the last scenes perfectly reflect everything that Coraline desired to happen strongly suggests that she had not returned home and that the world and people around her were still under the influence of the Beldam as a way of keeping Coraline in the other world, in such a way that she wouldn’t even question it.
The main point here is that Coraline never returned to the real world at the end of the movie. In fact, she may well have never returned to the real world since the first time she visited the ‘other world’.
A term that The Fangirl coined was that Coraline was trapped in a limbo in between the Beldam’s lair and the real world. It’s almost as if we took a venn diagram like the one shown below:
The black circle represents the Beldam’s lair and the white circle represents the real world. When Coraline first entered the other world, the tunnel she used bypassed the grey area, the limbo Pink Palace, and took her straight to the Beldam’s lair. After that, however, there was no mention of how she returned to the real world.
Although she had to travel through the tunnel to get to the other world, the only thing that was shown in regards to her getting back to reality was a transition from her bedroom in the other world to her normal bedroom. This suggests that she was still in the other world, or the limbo Pink Palace, as her journey back was never detailed. If the Beldam has the power to manipulate things in the other world, whether that be via magic or what, it would be fairly simple for her to be able to manipulate it to look like Coraline’s reality so that she thought she had returned home.
This would therefore mean that Coraline was suspended in the grey area and that she didn’t return home and never did throughout the entire movie.
Another trick the Beldam used to make Coraline believe she was at home was buttons. It was proposed to Coraline that if she allowed the Other Mother to sew buttons into her eyes, she would be able to remain in the other world. But there is no proof throughout the movie that having button eyes meant you could stay, or vice versa.
I propose that the buttons serve no purpose but for appearances. If everyone in the other world had button eyes then Coraline would believe that she was at home if she saw people with ordinary eyes.
There are many theories that say that the Other Mother uses the buttons to see but the movie has illustrated this isn’t really the case, as the Beldam can create real eyes, which seem to work just as well, in terms of vision.
This fact is highlighted when Coraline returns to the Beldam’s lair to save her parents, who the Beldam had trapped in a snowglobe. When travelling through the tunnel, the door at the other end opens and Coraline sees her mother, normal eyes and all, crouched down and prepared to greet her. However, when Coraline gets there, her ‘mother’ distorts into the Beldam and the buttons return. This shows that the Other Mother can create ordinary eyes and simply uses the buttons to scare Coraline and to make sure that she ‘knows’ when she is or isn’t in the other world.
The next question that arises from this, however, and the final question that I will be talking about in this post, is did Coraline’s parents really get kidnapped by the Beldam?
We know that Coraline never returned to the real world after her first visit to the other world and we know that the Other Mother is capable of making eyes, so we must ask whether her parents really were kidnapped.
If she never returned home, then how did the Beldam lure Coraline’s parents into the other world. Perhaps she convinced them that Coraline was there and they entered, wanting their daughter back, but I don’t think is a very good theory.
I propose that Coraline’s parents never were stolen and that it was simply the Beldam trying to convince Coraline to go back to her lair from the limbo Pink Palace and that the Bedlam was simply imitating them, as we saw when Coraline’s mother appeared before turning into the Beldam.
I know that there will be questions about the snow on their clothes when they returned to the real world but again, I feel like this was an illusion from the Beldam, almost confirming the fact that Coraline was still in an environment that was under her control.
But what good would it do for the Beldam to get Coraline to ‘find’ her parents?
It is believed that the Beldam feeds off love and so there is love in the action of rescuing her parents, which the Beldam could devour. Or, by making Coraline think that she had beat this supernatural monster, the Beldam could feast on the ego of Coraline, as she is still in the other world, just in a limbo Pink Palace.
And I feel like that is where I should leave this post. I know it is quite abrupt but I have to limit myself somewhere, or I could be sitting here for days typing this. I have so many more thoughts about the movie but I will save them, possibly, for one of my ’31 Days of Halloween’ posts. Make sure to comment down below or DM me on Twitter to tell me what you think of the movie ‘Coraline’ and any theories you have.
But until next time guys,