Coraline, based on the novella by acclaimed author Neil Gaiman, is a creepy film. From its animation to its characters to its morbid themes, Coraline is not some fun kids’ animation, oh no. As if the movie wasn’t disturbing enough, one TikTok user has pointed out another disconcerting fact that makes the Other Mother even more terrifying.
The film’s opening credits showcase a pair of sharp pointed, needle-like fingers taking apart a doll before using the doll’s skin to remold it into the shape of Coraline. This is all done on top of what many of us had assumed was a sewing kit, but @belledevelleclothingco has enlightened us as to what that equipment is really for.
She points out that it is not, in fact, a sewing kit, but an 18th Century funeral director’s embalming kit. She made this revelation, feeling a bell ringing in her mind upon watching this scene, and then it dawned on her. She explains that due to the fact that both her grandfather and her dad are funeral directors, the tools were something that she was perhaps already familiar with.
She points out several tools that perhaps more of us should have cottoned onto, such as the bone-cutting tool (why would a doll need a bone-cutting tool?), as well as the way the first doll is taken apart, following the practices of the embalming process step-by-step. The mouth and eyes are sewn, just as is done on corpses, as the muscles relax, and the body is stuffed with cotton and then sawdust, again another practice used in embalming dating all the way back to Ancient Egypt.
From the very beginning, this sets up the notion that this isn’t just a doll we are looking at but a representation of what awaits Coraline should she choose to stay with the Other Mother. As @belledevelleclothingco puts it toward the end of her video,
“This entire time we thought we were watching a scene where this woman was just making a doll, right? When in reality the Other Mother was counting on Coraline not making it, so therefore, this was her preparing Coraline for her own funeral.”
Now if that wasn’t creepy enough, other users chime in, saying that the first doll is actually one of her earlier victims, Wybie’s grandmother’s sister.
Coraline has always been disturbing, but it got a lot worse thanks to this revelation. That being said, it is a phenomenal movie and is actually re-releasing in theatres for limited viewing on August 14 and 15. So watch it all again on the big screen, and remember, it’s all in the details.