"Making up a song about Coraline. She's a peach, she's a doll, she's a pal of mine. She's as cute as a button in the eyes of everyone who ever laid their eyes on Cor-A-line. When she comes around exploring, Mom and I will never ever make it boring. Our eyes will be on Coraline!"
―Other Father singing while subliminally warning Coraline.
The Other Father is an anti-hero of Laika's 1st full-length animated feature film Coraline. Created by The Beldam, he was manipulated into luring Coraline to stay forever in the Other World. However, the Other Father secretly wanted to protect Coraline from the Beldam, making him one of the Beldam's most hated enemies.
He was voiced by John Hodgman. However, his singing voice was provided by John Linnell.
The Other Father was likely created by during the 1800s in order to help her in lure her victims into the Other World. The Other Father's role in her plans was to help the Beldam in her schemes like the other inhabitants of the Other World. However, unlike the Other Bobinsky and the Other Spink & Other Forcible, the Other Father didn't like to help the Beldam as he was just a slave who was terrified of the Beldam, much like the Other Wybie.
In 2009, the Jones family moved to the Pink Palace Apartments. After realizing that Charlie and Mel Jones had a daughter named Coraline, the Beldam modeled him after Charlie Jones while she modeled herself as Mel Jones. After Coraline was lured into the Other World the first night, the Beldam send her after the Other Father, who was playing the piano. Remembering his role in the Beldam's plans, the Other Father welcomed warmly Coraline and started to play a song about her in the piano, which had hands which controlled him under the orders of the Beldam, but during his song, he attempted subliminally to warn Coraline about the Beldam's true motives. However, Coraline didn't understand his subliminal message and they proceeded to go to dinner with the Beldam before to lay down Coraline.
The second night of Coraline at the Other World, the Other Mother send Coraline to search the Other Father in his garden, where he was driving his praying mantis vehicle. Once with Coraline, the Other Father showed her face portrayed in the gardens to her, much to Coraline's delight. After Coraline and the Other Wybie went to the spectacle of the Other Mr. Bobinsky's Other Mice, the Other Father accompanied Coraline along the Other Wybie and the Beldam to her bedroom, where the Other Father retired the cotton candy from he Other Wybie's head and ate it.
The third night of Coraline at the Other World, the Other Father just appeared after the Other Wybie and Coraline went to see the Other Spink & Other Forcible at their theater. The Other Father, like the Beldam, asked Coraline if she enjoyed the experience, and she said that she did. At the dining room, the Beldam said to Coraline that if she wanted to stay with them she needed to allow her sew buttons over her eyes, something which Coraline refused, leading the Other Father to try to convince her in such way that the Beldam kicked him under the table. After Coraline failed in her attempt to return to the real world by sleeping, she asked the Other Father on the piano room, as the Other Father had decided to play the piano until so late that night. Now alone, despite the attempts of the piano's hands to shut up him, the Other Father informed Coraline about the Other Mother's energy and the punishment that received the Other Wybie for not smiling at the Beldam. Coraline ultimately returned to the real world with the help of the Other Wybie, who was killed by the Beldam afterwards.
When Coraline returned to the Other World to rescue her parents from the Beldam's clutches, she saw the Other Father's true form: that of a pumpkin-like creature with vines on his ears. After he was silenced by the Beldam for explaining that there was only a key to the real world, the Beldam dragged him to the garden. Without the Other Father there, Coraline made a deal with the Beldam in order to play a game of finding things: if she won, she could return with her parents to the real world and the Ghost Children could be released and finally pass away with their eyes.
While searching the eye of the Ghost Boy, after being attacked by several creatures in the Other Garden, Coraline quickly recovered and used her magical stone to search the eye. Looking through the hole of the stone, she spotted the ghost eye but suddenly, the Other Father in his pumpkin form emerged and was forced to use his praying mantis vehicle to attack her against his will. Coraline ran away on the garden's bridge but the Other Father catched up to her. Unfortunately, the weight of his mantis vehicle was too much and caused the bridge to collapse. Knowing that he can't be saved but Coraline could still, the Other Father broke with his feet one of the gloves that held his hand, and then, pulled the ghost eye of the mantis vehicle's lever, giving it to Coraline before diving out of reach. Subsequently, the Other Father drowned in the pond below along with his mantis vehicle and the pond, along the rest of the Other Garden, turned grey and transformed into stone. When the Other World started to collapse as Coraline found the three ghost eyes, every part of the Other World, including the Other Garden, was destroyed and erased from the Other World, thus also destroying the Other Father's remains. Ultimately, thanks to his help, Coraline managed to escape safely from the Other World.
The Other Father holds a strong resemblance to Coraline's real father Charlie Jones, only much more improved. He is clean-shaved, his styled hair a chocolate shade of brown. He wears a red and black evening robe, black pants, glasses and orange monkey-slippers. The only noticable quality he has (that he also shares with every other inhabitant of the Other World) are the matching black buttons instead of eyes.
In the book, the Beldam locks him in the basement, turning him into a slimy, grub like creature. In the film, as punishment for scaring off Coraline earlier, the Other Mother warps his body into resembling that of a pumpkin, a vine from his ear used by the Other Mother to tighten his lip to keep him from talking.
Unlike the Other Mother, the Other Father possesses no supernatural abilities, the various machines and gizmos that he uses being able to use themselves for him.
When transformed into a pumpkin-like creature he seem to posses superior strength, as he was able to lift Coraline into the air with ease. He was also able to break one of the piano hands that had him trapped with his legs.
On the surface, the Other Father is an exciting, "cooler" version of the real Charlie, making light puns and teasing Coraline as a loving father would, with a perfect relationship with his "wife".
In reality though, the Other Father is a slave to the Beldam, terrified of what she may do and regretful to the point of being traumatized by her. Like the Other Wybie, the Other Father genuinely loves Coraline and wishes he could help her, the only difference being that he is too terrified of the Other Mother to openly defy her. He is however brave enough to defy her when not in her presence and even attempts to subliminally warn Coraline with his song when the two first meet. When transformed into a pumpkin-like creature, he has become even less coherent and aware, but was coherent enough to understand his situation, telling Coraline that he was attacking her against his will, then sacrifices himself while giving her the ghost eye.
He, The Cat and the Other Wybie are the only characters from the Other World that are not enemies of Coraline.
It's possible that the Other Father was trying to warn Coraline of the Other Mother's intentions from the beginning, as his song possesses subliminal messages about the Other Mother's intentions and future events.
He has slipper that look similar to Monkeybone, the main antagionst of the same name, also directed by Henry Selick.