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The Big Clue You Probably Missed Early In Coraline

In 1993, Henry Selick took the reins as the director of "The Nightmare Before Christmas," helping to bring Tim Burton's dark, other-worldly vision to life. The film performed well by all metrics, and the fanbase behind it continues to expand with each passing year. Most importantly, though, it showed mainstream audiences that when you combine horror with stop-motion animation, you're bound to create movie magic. Selick's next effort with these elements — an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's famed novella "Coraline" — further drove this point home when it hit the big screen in 2009.

The film tells of a young girl named Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning), who moves to a new town with her workaholic parents and couldn't feel any less enthused about it. She's away from her friends, her parents pay her little mind, and there's not much for her to do at home or otherwise. Luckily for her, a small door in her bedroom gives her access to another world with alternate versions of her friends and family that adore her and go above and beyond to make her smile. However, Coraline soon learns that this strange place isn't all that it seems, and the longer she stays there, the more danger she's putting herself in. 

Even before we learn the truth about the Other World and its inhabitants, "Coraline" carries with it an eerie and foreboding tone. This subtle hint early on in the film only compounds this feeling.

Coraline's cake hides a dark secret

Despite the fact that the Other World appears too good to be true, Coraline hesitantly yet enthusiastically continues to visit at the request of her Other Mother (Teri Hatcher) and Other Father (John Hodgman). During one of these trips, Coraline's creepy, button-eyed "parents" offer her a cake adorned with ornate decorations, self-lighting candles, and right in the center, the words "Welcome Home." On the surface, this cake with a message on it is nothing to get worked up over unless you're well-educated in the field of graphology. Then something might catch your attention.

As pointed out by hiddenmoviedetails on TikTok, the appearance of the "o" in "home" tells us a lot about what's in store for Coraline. As any graphologist will tell you, a double loop when writing in cursive indicates that the person who wrote it is lying. In this case, it cues us in to let us know that Coraline's supposed new "home" is anything but, and her Other Parents know it. Furthermore, the "o" in "home" only contains one loop since the Other Mother is being genuine when she welcomes her "daughter." However, as it turns out, that's because she's an evil entity known as the Beldam who collects the souls of children.

Thankfully, Coraline makes it out of the Other World unscathed by the end of the film and manages to keep the Beldam at bay for good. Although, had she brushed up on her graphology, perhaps she could have realized something was amiss so much sooner.