The Other World is a parallel universe ruled by the Beldam (also called the "Other Mother") in the 2002 dark fantasy children's novella Coraline by Neil Gaiman and the 2009 stop-motion animated 3D movie of the same name.
While the place itself may look innocent, its inhabitants are certainly far from being innocent as they try to lure children from the real world to stay here forever, resulting in a gruesome death which ultimately leads their souls to be imprisoned in this place for eternity.
As the Beldam is a demonic ruler who perceives herself something of a deity and the inhabitants are her followers and also her creations who act as her own cult, the Other World is technically a cult compound and it is where she even abuses and mutilates her followers if they fail to entice a child or help them run away from her.
In relationship with the real world, the Other World is located behind a small door in the living room of the Pink Palace in Ashland, Oregon. There is only one key that could open it and it is a small, black button key which was initially found in the kitchen drawers by Coraline's mother. The Other World itself is presumed to be located somewhere out of this world, possibly somewhere in a faraway cosmic realm as it is always shown to be starry and nighttime.
The Other World is an extremely old, if not ancient, as the Beldam herself is approximately the same age as the Pink Palace itself, which was around 150 years old. Her first victims whose souls were imprisoned in this place were also very old as evidenced by the archaic language they used when they spoke to Coraline about their fates.
The weather of the Other World is entirely controlled by the Beldam as she can make lightning suddenly appear at the same time when Coraline discussed about the rain to her. It can also disintegrate into a blank, white void, further evidencing the otherworldliness of this place, and recreate itself with the aid of the Beldam into another place that satisfies her new victim. For example, if her new victim liked cars, the Beldam would recreate the Other World into a marvelous racing car track to satisfy them.
While her followers are quite submissive and have no or little free will to inflict harm others themselves, they can turn into demonic creatures if the Beldam realized that her victim is willing to challenge her to a game. When Coraline discovered that her parents were kidnapped by the Beldam and also tried to keep the promise of retrieving the eyes of the previous victims, the Beldam already knew her plans to challenge her and visited every inhabitants' whereabouts and twisted and mutilated them and forced them to do evil, even if they weren't willing to harm, as
shown when the Other Father really wanted to help Coraline but the Beldam continued to abuse him even more by turning him into a grisly pumpkin creature.
At the end of the film, after the Other World has disintegrated into a blank, white void and the only thing that was left was the living room in the Other Pink Palace, it is revealed that the entire time, the Other World is in fact a gigantic spiderweb. It is obvious why the entire Other World is just one big spiderweb as the Beldam is an arachnid demon herself. However, there is also a sewing room which was already there in the Other World just like the spiderweb which the Beldam uses to create her button eyed ragdolls. A dark chamber behind a mirror in the hallway of the Other Pink Palace is also already there when the Other World was created and this is where the Beldam infamously imprisons the souls of her victims in for eternity.
Although the Other World has no official symbol or emblem, its motifs include a big, black button as all of its inhabitants have black button eyes. The Other World's most loyal followers of the Beldam are her rats who wake up her victims and lead them to the door to the Other World and her button eyed ragdolls who observe every aspect of their lives so that the Beldam could have an idea what the Other World should look like for them to be enticed and satisfied.
Music of the Other World
Despite the Other World's notoriety for kidnapping children, sewing buttons over their eyes, consuming their flesh and finally imprisoning their souls in a dark chamber, it is also known for its strange, childish, gibberish yet eerie music. While the inhabitants sing in English so that her victims could relate to them more, the Beldam herself prefers the gibberish music and it is heard several times whenever Coraline visits the Other World. In fact, the entire soundtrack is composed of the gibberish and eerie music heard in the Other World.
This is the song that the Beldam usually hums, also known as Dreaming or Mechanical Lullaby:
Simple dre sun be sun tra vu me
Shurl wi su wi vi chu bre su me
Wi lu wi lu je sen
Tre lu tre lu tre lu la la la la la
Tre lu tre lu almenalmamama
Tre lum tre sum tre sum (che mi ba sa)
Tre sum almenalmamama
Tre sum tre lum (tre em che su)
Tre lum ba tum ba sum
Tre ban e su shan
Tre lum e re je rum
U re e re je ram se
It su i she lu e ra bu
- The Other World shares similarities to a parallel universe also known as the Otherworld in the horror videogame Silent Hill series as both are closely linked to the real world and its environment can be twisted to reflect the characters' feelings.
- The Other World also shares similarities to Hell as they are both places of spiritual torment for people who foolishly accept the temporal pleasures of demonic beings who disguise themselves as "good people".
- In the film, the Other World is always in nighttime, a reference to the fact that the Other World is a dark and evil place. It also suggests that the Other World is located somewhere foreign, possibly somewhere in outer space as the Other Mother controlled most of the natural events (e.g. lightning, shadow of button covering moon etc,) in the Other World. The only difference was when the Other Mother caused the weather to rain.
- In the first scene with the "other" dining room, on the wall behind Coraline, there are 3 silhouette portraits of children. They are actually the silhouettes of the 3 Ghost Children that Coraline met.