If you go into shops at present, on the shelves are a combination of Halloween and Christmas promotions. Not likely to confuse anyone of which is which surely? But it would appear that this is not the case for what type of film The Nightmare before Christmas is!
Some say it’s a Christmas film, some say it’s a Halloween film! We can watch it whatever the day or season, but we certainly feel an urge to watch it around Halloween and Christmas!
The question was recently put to the director of the film, Henry Selick who would have the final word on the subject! He stated it was a Halloween story set at Christmas. So there you have it, it’s a Halloween film.
The film itself, well it is certainly one of our favourites! It comes from the mind of our favourite director Tim Burton, who wrote the short story in the form of a poem. He even came up with the memorable characters, including the pumpkin king of Halloween town, the one and only Jack Skellington. It is certainly Jack who has helped the film live on as he appears on every possible piece of merchandise you could consider, from mugs to leggings!
With Tim’s Edward Scissorhands writer Caroline Thompson on board to expand the poem to movie screenplay, Henry was to direct as Tim was tied up with Batman Returns and Ed Wood.
This could have been an ordinary animated film. The reason it’s not ordinary, is the fantastic stop motion form of animation it’s made in. With a crew of over a 100, the film took 3 years to complete, as for ever 1 second, 12 moves needed to be made!
But not only is the film breathtaking to look at, it has fantastic casting too, with Chris Sarandon as Jack; Catherine O’Hara as Sally, returning to Tim Burton’s world after appearing in Beetlejuice and the late William Hickey as the evil scientist to name but Three.
Appearing as Jack’s singing voice is Tim’s regular music composer, Danny Elfman, who wrote all the music, lyrics and score to the film.
The story itself is simple enough, Jack and co live in Halloween Town. They live for the one day of the year that is Halloween. However, Jack has become bored of the day of screams and after a mission to find an alternative, he comes across Christmas Town and the jolly Santa.
Jack gets all of Halloween Town involved to re-create Christmas, after kidnapping Santa! This turns out to be a disaster, as they do not understand what children want as gifts. Their presents are not only inappropriate but scary and dangerous, ranging from shrunken heads to snakes (that look like the Beetlejuice sandworms)
The police are called to put a stop to this Santa. Knowing that this is an impostor, the misguided Jack Skellington, he is shot out of the skies and Christmas is considered ruined.
Of course, despite the dark nature of the film, this is a family film from Disney. Santa is saved from the evil clutches of Oogie Boogie, the bogeyman, to save the day and make sure everyone has a Merry Christmas.
The film continues to wow audiences, even getting a re-release in 3D to reach new audiences. Jack Skellington has lived on in video games, and brief cameos, from appearing as a Scarecrow in Tim’s Sleepy Hollow to a captain of a pirate ship in Henry’s follow-up film, James and the Giant Peach.
This is definitely one of our favourite films of all time, never mind kids/family film and the film is as enjoyable today, as when we first saw it in 1994
What are your favourite Halloween/Christmas family film choices? We at the BMAF would love to hear from you.
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