As Halloween approaches, let’s dive deeper into the famous dark fantasy stop-motion children’s horror film Coraline. Although the movie appears to be a children’s spooky movie, there are several darker themes and more complex layers that construct the film. The story follows the adventures of Coraline Jones, who recently moved to Ashland, Oregon.
Coraline is a lonely child whose parents are always busy. One day she follows a creepy doll to a parallel universe where she meets replicas of her parents, except they have buttons for eyes. In this world, her Other Parents finally have time for her, but things are not quite as they seem.
The movie is available on Prime Video in some countries, Roku, and Netflix in some countries. Let’s celebrate the spooky Halloween season by diving into 30 Movies Similar to Coraline. You will find some works to be downright frightening but some to be delightfully chilling. What are we waiting for?
1. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas comes first. This movie was Henry Selick’s first feature-length film, and Neil Gaiman offered Selick Coraline because he was impressed by this movie. The story follows Jack Skellington, who is the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town. But Jack is growing bored of his annual Halloween routines. One day he accidentally stumbles into Christmas Town.
Unable to understand the celebrations and rituals of Christmas, the residents of Halloween Town decide to take over the holiday. The movie eventually built a very successful media franchise with games, books, and manga. Another of the best stop-motion dark fantasy films, Nightmare Before Christmas, refreshed the children’s horror genre when it came out. The film is available for streaming on Disney+, in case you want to check it out.
2. Corpse Bride
Since we are talking bout Tim Burton, we must mention another of his stop-motion films that are steeped in dark fantasy, Corpse Bride. The film came out in 2005. The story follows the life of Victor Van Dort, who was going to marry Victoria Everglot but accidentally ended up bringing back a corpse bride, Emily. Emily whisks him away to the Land of the Dead, and now Victor must try to find a way back to the Land of the Living to marry his love again.
As conflict arises between his two brides, Victor must also ghetto the bottom of Emily’s murder. With themes of romance, dark fantasy, and horror mixing together, this is Tim Burton’s signature film. Fans have cherished the movie over the years, and it is already considered a classic.
You can watch the film on HBO Max. It is available on Prime Video and Netflix in some countries.
3. The Addams Family (1991)
Let’s take a break from stop-motion animation for a moment. One of the most delightfully creepy films in The Addams Family (1991). A black-comedy film, the story is about the titular Addams Family, who are all creepy and spooky in their own ways. Gomez and Morticia are the heads of the family, and their children are Wednesday and Pugsley.
The family stands out because of their dark interests, which are somehow highlighted in a comedic way. If you’re looking for something that is spooky and family-friendly but also with comedy and adult jokes, The Addams Family is your best bet. You can catch the movie on Amazon Prime Video.
4. Hotel Transylvania
Next, we come to the Hotel Transylvania franchise. The film is a computer animation monster comedy film with an ensemble voice cast. The story follows Count Dracula, who is the proprietor of Hotel Transylvania, where monsters go to take a break from humans. The Count is going to host the 118th birthday of his daughter, and he has done his best to ensure that she doesn’t know anything about humans.
However, a human called Johnathan accidentally stumbles across the hotel, and now it is up to the Count to ensure his daughter doesn’t fall in love with him. While the film is more on the comedy side of the spectrum, it is still a fun break to see your favorite monsters on vacation. The movie is available on Netflix for viewers to enjoy.
5. The Boxtrolls
One of Laika’s best productions is Boxtrolls. It’s not really a horror film, but more on the atop-motion animated fantasy side with slightly darker themes. The story is set in a fictional country about a boy named Eggs. Eggs is a human boy raised by trolls, or “Boxtrolls.”
A pest exterminator Archibald Snatcher is out to get the trolls so he can join the White Hats, and Eggs must do all he can to save his friends and defeat the villains. The movie is a very wholesome flick that is perfect for a family movie night. The movie is available on Roku and Apple TV.
6. The Romantic
One of the lesser-known films is The Romantic. It’s a low-budget animated film released in 2009. Michael P. Heneghan is the director of the film, with Nathan Terry on the music. This is not a children’s film. It caters to adults and explores dark themes that may not be appropriate for children to watch. The story follows the main character, the Romantic, who falls out of love with his girlfriend.
So he goes on an adventure to visit the goddess of love asking to restore his feelings. But when he returns, he finds his girlfriend in love with another man. Furious, the Romantic sets out to kill the gods and have his revenge. You can find the film here.
7. Alice in Wonderland (Tim Burton Version)
We all know about Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. We have seen the Disney adaptation, the movie adaptations, and so much more. What happens when you add Tim Burton to the mix? The fantasy fairytale definitely becomes much, much creepier and darker.
Tim Burton’s Alice is more than just a girl running behind a white rabbit; she is the one destined to slay the Jabberwocky and bring an end to the Red Queen’s rule in Wonderland. The characters in Wonderland, usually depicted delightfully, all have creepy darkness to them. Alice must now go on a quest to find a sword that she can use to kill the Jabberwocky and bring peace to the land.
You can buy the film on YouTube. It is available for streaming on Disney +.
8. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Another of Tim Burton’s accomplishments in the horror and dark fantasy genre is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Ransom Riggs. Although it is a fantasy film, it has elements of horror. The story follows Jake Portman, whose grandfather asks him to find a children’s home on a particular island.
The home is full of children who are peculiar and have peculiar abilities. The house is watched over by Miss Peregrine, who can manipulate time, and she has the house in a time loop away from the world in order to prevent persecution of the children for being different. The story shows Jake and his friends on several adventures.
You can watch the film by buying it on YouTube. It is also available on Apple TV.
9. Spirited Away
Let’s take a brief look at anime now. One of the most important reasons why Coraline was so delightful is that viewers were able to relate to her being whisked away to the Other Side. One of Hayao Miyazaki’s greatest achievements ever is, Spirited Away. The story follows the misadventures of Chihiro, whose family accidentally stumbles upon the spirit world. In this world, everything happens because of the will of Yubaba. The place’s magic turns her parents into pigs because they are greedy, and now it is up to Chihiro to fight the old witch who runs the bathhouse and rescue her parents. She also enlists the help of her dragon friend Haku. While the film is primarily aimed at children, it has darker undertones and valuable lessons for everyone.
The movie is available on Netflix. It has won critical acclaim and brought me to the forefront of the entertainment category in Japan.
10. Scooby-Doo! And The Monster of Mexico
Scooby-Doo! And The Monster of Mexico is a direct-to-video film and the sixth in the series Scooby-Doo! Films. While the premise is basically for children’s adventure and action, there are darker themes to the movie. The story begins with Fred’s pen pal inviting the gang to Mexico. Right after, a large scary monster began terrorizing the village.
People began calling it “El Chupacabra.” After Shaggy and Scoby get scared of the monster, the gang decides that this is a mystery for them to solve. They all go sound town to collect clues and figure out more details about this monster. There is also a great inclusion of traditions and culture from Mexico in the film.
11. Monster House
Monster House is one of the best computer-animated horror films for children. As the title of the movie suggests, the story is about a Monster House. In a neighborhood, every Halloween, a particular house with an old man becomes sentient and attempts to terrorize the neighborhood. We follow the main character, DJ, who attempts to solve the mystery of this Monster House with his friends when their old neighbor is carried away in an ambulance.
So what is the mystery behind this house? Why is it alive, and why is it terrorizing the neighborhood? What does the old man do with all the stuff he confiscates from the children? To answer these questions, you must watch the movie Monster House.
The movie is available for streaming on Netflix.
Another addition to Tim Burton’s creations is Frankenweenie. This is a 2012 stop-motion animated film that has themes of science fiction, comedy, and horror. This film is very loosely based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or at least the plot device is. The story is about a boy, Victor Frankenstein, who uses electricity to resurrect his pet dog, Sparky, like his namesake Frankenstein does with dead body parts.
However, once his friends see that he is able to bring back his dead pet friend, they start trying to resurrect their dead pets too. This results in chaos in addition to the Science Fair Victor had wanted to attend. The film received a generally good reception, and fans loved the wholesomeness inside the horror flick.
You can watch the film on Disney + and Apple TV.
Speaking of stop-motion animated films, let’s take a look at ParaNorman. This comedy horror film is directed by Sam Fell and Chris Butler. Norman Babcock is a normal eleven-year-old boy, except for one thing. He can speak to the dead and talk with ghosts. However, no one in his town believes him, and they all isolate him.
His uncle Mr. Prenderghast leaves him the seemingly impossible task of performing a ritual. It turns out that a witch has cursed their little town, and it is now Norman’s duty to end the witch’s curse by delving into a mystery that has haunted them. What is the true story of the witch’s curse? Why was it he who had to perform the ritual?
You can watch the movie on Roku and Apple TV. Prime Video offers the option of streaming the movie in some countries.
14. Pan’s Labyrinth
Let’s venture into Guillermo del Toro’s films, starting with Pan’s Labyrinth. The story occurs in Spain after the Spanish Civil War. The story is about a young girl Ofelia, whose pregnant mother is severely ill, and her sadistic stepfather is hunting the Spanish Maquis. Not having anything to do but read, she is whisked into a parallel fantasy land into a labyrinth, a huge complicated maze, where the only resident is a faun.
As Ofelia spends more and more time in the Labyrinth, she meets and journeys with various other magical creatures and characters. Her real life also becomes increasingly complicated. The film uses various historical narratives as well as traditional fairytales in constructing its complex and dark story.
You can watch the movie on Disney + and Hulu. It is not yet available on Netflix.
15. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is a movie produced in 2004 based on the first three novels of the book series of the same name, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. The story is about Lemony Snicket, who is investigating the missing case of three children, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, who became orphans when a mysterious fire broke out and killed their parents.
They have several adventures as they try to escape the clutches of Count Olaf, who is hell-bent on getting his hands on their family fortune as they keep changing their homes to shake off the pursuer. The film is an adventure film with black comedy.
The film is available on Prime Video. There is also a Netflix series in 2019 with three seasons based o the same story with the same title.
16. The Polar Express
The Polar Express is a computer-animated film produced in 2004 based on the book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The story starts with the Hero Boy seeing a passenger train outside his window on Christmas Eve. Upon checking his pocket, he finds a golden ticket, and he boards the train after taking some courage. The train is on its way to the North Pole with the children, and they are all going to visit Santa Claus on the busiest night of the year.
The story follows the adventures of the boy as they stress the fact that he needs to believe in Santa. While the story doesn’t really have horror themes, it is an adventure fantasy film with slightly dark undertones that highlight the magic of Christmas and the idea that there are things that go on in this world without the adults knowing.
The film is available for streaming on Prime Video.
17. Rise of the Guardians
Another fantastic 3D computer-animated film that needs to be on the list is Rise of the Guardians. Although the film is set more on the fantasy-action adventure end of the spectrum, the film brings all your favorite childhood fairytales to life. The film tells the viewers an adventure bringing together Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Sandman, and Jack Frost coming together under the guidance of the Man in the Moon to defeat Pitch Black, a Bogeyman from spreading evil across the world.
The story also goes into detail about how Jack Frost became Jack Frost and delightfully brought together the many adventures the Guardians have in recruiting him to their ranks. The Guardians also face challenges as Pitch Black tries to take power over their domain as much as he can. The movie has received a considerably good reception.
You can watch the movie on Netflix with a subscription.
18. The Secret of Kells
The Secret of Kells is an animated movie about fantasy and adventure in the history of the Book of Kells. The story is set in Ireland right as the Vikings began invading it. The Abbey of Kells is preparing for an attack. Cellach is building a wall around the Abbey to prevent a Viking invasion. However, unknown to him, his nephew Brendon is involved in something more secretive.
Brendon works as an apprentice in a scriptorium and learns calligraphy, which happens to be an ancient art. As the Vikings come closer to the Abbey, Brenden must fulfill various magical quests and requests to finish and protect the manuscript. The film deals with not just children put in between war but also with unexpected responsibilities falling onto children to save the world.
You can watch the movie on Roku or Apple TV.
It’s finally time to talk about Shrek! One of the most popular franchises of all time is Shrek. Created by Dreamworks with the use of 3D computer animation, the film is a story that brings many fairytales to life in a grim and dark fashion. The main protagonist of the story is an ogre, Shrek. One day all the fairytale creatures of the land swarm and occupy his swamp.
To get them out of there and live in peace, Shrek makes a deal with Lord Farquaad to go on a quest and find Princess Fiona and rescue her from the Tower guarded by a fearsome dragon. So Shrek goes on an adventure with a talking Donkey to rescue this princess, and they learn terrible secrets on the way.
You can watch Shrek on Netflix and Peacock TV.
20. Return to Oz
Everyone must have heard of, if not read or watched, the story “The Wizard of Oz.” This movie, “Return to Oz,” is set after the events of the previous film, based on other works by author L. Frank Baum is considered to be the unofficial sequel. This is a dark fantasy film that narrates the story of our favorite heroine who is coming back to Oz.
However, the Land of Oz now has a new ruler, the Nome King, who took over the lands by conquest and ruled over them without mercy. Dorothy must no go on a quest with her new friends, Billina, a pet chicken; Tik-Tok, the mechanical copper man, Jack Pumpkinhead with his pumpkin head; the Gump, a deer-like creature and Princess Ozma, the rightful owner of Oz. They must together defeat the Nome King and restore Oz to its rightful heir.
The movie is available for streaming on Disney +, and it can be purchased on Amazon.
Let’s take a look at Tim Burton’s classic computer-animated movies again! 9 is one of the more underrated ones, and Tim Burton was mostly involved in just the production of the film. The main character of this movie is a small rag-like robot that wakes up after the end of humankind. It discovers itself is a post-apocalyptic land, and it must now fight eight other robots like it to understand why humanity ended.
However, it goes on the quest to solve this mystery, it finds itself being challenged by a soul-eating machine that is creating various odds and ends to put an end to this little robot. Will it be able to find out the key to the mystery? Or will the robot perish at the hands of the big machine? Fans will have to watch to find out. The film received mixed reviews, but it went on to win the Annie Award for its effects.
You can watch the film on Disney+ Hotstar with a subscription.
Next, let’s take a look at a musical, Labyrinth. This is an old movie produced and released in 1986. What happens when you accidentally wish for something you didn’t mean? The story follows the life of Sarah Williams, who is a sixteen-year-old teenager struggling with her home life. One day she has to babysit her baby brother.
But she finds him with her childhood’s favorite teddy bear and, in a moment of rash anger, wishes that the baby will be taken away by goblins. And her wish is granted! Sarah must now journey across the Labyrinth to reach the center where the Goblin King has hidden away her baby brother. It is interesting to note that David Bowie is in the role of Jareth, the Goblin King. The movie will be available on Netflix soon.
Beetlejuice must be on this list. As one of Tim Burton’s directions, this is a perfect fantasy and horror film to fit in here. The film was released in 1988 and was astonishingly both a commercial and critical success. The story follows the life, and death of the couple, Adam and Barbara Maitland, who was driving to spend a vacation setting up their country home. On the way, they meet an accident and die.
Upon reaching the house, they discover that the afterlife waiting room requires them to wait for a really long time and that they are allowed to scare away the families that come to live in the house. However, they decide to call up Betelgeuse or Beetlejuice, who offers services as a “bio-exorcist” to wreak havoc, but things immediately start going horrifyingly wrong. The movie is available for streaming on HBO Max.
You must have heard of Matilda! The movie was released in 1996 and is a part of classic films everyone must see. The movie is based on Roald Dahl’s book of the same name, and Danny DeVito produced it while starring in the film and acting as a narrator. The story is a classic example of a child who is misunderstood by their parents, just like Coraline was.
Although lacking in horror elements, the story is a fantasy film with childlike magic and wonder. The story follows the life of Matilda Wormwood, who was a child prodigy who loved reading books from a very young age. She is a hyper-independent child who has to do everything for herself, and eventually, she develops psychokinetic abilities. She gets into a lot of adventures in dealing with her riotous family and her rigid school where her only ray of hope is Miss Honey. You can stream the movie on Netflix.
25. Edward Scissorhands
This Johnny Depp film is also another of Tim Burton’s directions. The story is a mix of horror, comedy, romance, and heartfelt wholesomeness. The story is about the titular character Edward Scissorhands. Edward is a robot created by an old inventor who taught him everything he knew. He had scissor blades for his hands.
Before the inventor could give him real hands, he passed away, leaving Edward unfinished. A saleswoman, Peg Boggs, finds Edward and adopts him into her warm home. There, Edward falls in love with Peg’s daughter Kim. The story follows the adventure of Edward Scissorhands as he tries to understand his feelings and the world around him. You can watch the movie on Tubi. It is available on Amazon Prime in some countries.
26. James and the Giant Peach
James and the Giant Peach is a fantasy musical film based on Roald Dahl’s book of the same name. The film is a hybrid combination of live-action and stop-motion animation, and it was directed by Henry Selick. The story follows the adventures of James Henry Trotter, who lives with his sadistic aunts, Spiker and Sponge. One day after he helps out a spider, he receives a gift that grows into a giant colossal peach.
His aunts try to monetize the attraction as a tourist trap, but James eats his way at night. Inside he meets anthropomorphic bugs who befriend him. They all decide to go o an adventure to New York City to make more friends and have more good times away from his mean aunts. The movie is available on Disney +.
27. The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride is another classic cult film that you must watch. Although it distinctly lacks horror and spooky elements, the story is on the action-adventure and comedy spectrum. The movie is based on the book of the same name, where the author is narrating the story of The Princess Bride to his son. The story is about a normal farm worker Westley who must go on an adventure as he makes new friends and rescues his true love, Buttercup, from the clutches of Prince Humperdinck.
Not only does Westley have his own adventure, but he also goes on several new adventures. While the premise may seem simple, the movie involves excellent swordfights, precise dialogues, necromancy, Humperdinck’s zoo, old grudges, poisons, revenge, sword masters, pirates, and above all, true love. The movie is available on both Disney+ and it will be soon available on Netflix.
28. Bridge to Terebithia (2007)
Let’s take a look at more poignant films for a while. While Bridge to Terebithia doesn’t have horrors, it does show elements of coming of age and fantasy. It is a 2007 film based on the novel of the same name by Katherine Paterson. The story follows the life of Jess Aarons, a twelve-year-old boy who is an aspiring artist. He is a normal schoolboy with a crush on his teacher.
One day a new family moves into the neighborhood, and their daughter goes to his class, Leslie Burke. Slowly Jess and Leslie become friends. One day after school, when both the kids are playing, they come across an abandoned treehouse where they create a fantasy land, Terebithia. They spend all their free time making up stories about this land. As Jess grows older, his relationship with his father struggles, and one day, tragedy strikes.
The movie is available on Disney +. It will be available soon on Netflix.
29. Where The Wild Things Are (2009)
Where The Wild Things Are (2009) is an adventure drama movie based on the book of the same name by Maurice Sendak. The main character of the film is a nine-year-old boy called Max, who is very lonely. He struggles with a home life where his family doesn’t pay attention to him. So one day, he finds a boat at the lake nearby and sails away on it to an island. On the island, he meets seven large monsters called ‘Wild Things.
When the monsters contemplate eating him, Max convinces them to make them their king, and they do. What follows next is the several adventures Max goes on as he makes friends with the Wild Things and gets familiar with the island. You can stream the movie on HBO Max.
30. Roald Dahl’s The Witches (2020)
The Witches is one of the more recent films based on the book of the same name by Roald Dahl. The film stars Anne Hathaway and is narrated by Chris Rock. It is a fantasy comedy film that might be slightly eerie. The story follows the story of a young boy Charlie Hansen who lives with his grandmother after his parents died in a car accident.
One day he encounters a witch, and both of them decide to stay at a nearby hotel. But what was supposed to be an uneventful trip becomes a nightmare when their hotel is infiltrated by a group of witches who are holding a convention. Suddenly everything begins to go wrong.
The movie is available on Netflix. So this concludes our list of 30 Movies Similar to Coraline. This collection has not only horror flicks and black comedy films but also fantasy and adventure films where children go on quests to save the world or discover themselves as they grow up. Do you think we missed any movies? Let us know in the comments section.