Remember those old stories and nursery rhymes your parents would always read to you on Christmas Eve? Right before you would head up to your beds awaiting the arrival of Old Saint Nick, books and television specials would tell you in the form of wondrous toy-like models what would happen as you were snugly asleep. You may have felt that you knew all along what went on across the North Pole every night before Christmas, but what if I told you that there was one night when Halloween decided to interfere?
The Nightmare Before Christmas has remained in our hearts as the common ground met between two drastically different holidays. The art style used by the collaborative minds of Tim Burton and Henry Selick has the feel of specials like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer or Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. Old Pumpkin King Jack Skellington, the spirit of Halloween, may have felt that making two holidays into one was the way for him to change for once, but at the end of this rushed yet captivating experience, he learns the importance of self-satisfaction.
By the end of the Pumpkin King’s journey to add a dose of Halloween into Christmas, we the companions of his quest witness fascinating characters including an ultraviolet casino-crazy bogeyman voiced by Ken Page, a literal two-faced mayor, a ghoul whose hat acts like a nesting doll for his smaller selves, a clown with a removable face, an undead child with his eyes stitched shut, and a ragdoll creation stuffed with leaves.
Then each character has their own distinct motion: Jack, being the skeleton he is, stiltedly struts with emphasis on his spider-like limbs, as Sally the Frankenstein creation always appears delicate with the way she plucks flower petals in her lonesome among the bizarre citizens of Halloween Town.
However little sense their created world makes, it is made up for miraculously by the explosive imagination of what we see, almost as if Halloween and Christmas were meant to be together. Minor mesh-ups such as Christmas lights in the shape of a spider-web, or a snowflake trimmed in the shape of an arachnid, or skeleton reindeer, inspire the eerily beautiful art form of stop-motion animation.
Then of course, what more to create the magical world of holiday spirit than a majestically demented musical score by Danny Elfman? His lyrics may come from the intelligence of a child, but the sounds also capture the spellbinding nature of one.
For all who remembered those days of watching televised Christmas specials before the days of cable, The Nightmare Before Christmas is the ideal call back to those footy-pajama days. For all who are still learning about the world, the storybook feel is enough to capture their imagination. The lens looked upon in this particular interpretation of the holidays is a bit too close to other Americanized retellings that focus only on European backgrounds, but the delightful feel will land on all who lay an eye and an ear to the tale told by Pumpkin King.
So even after a near-quarter century since this picture came to light, it guarantees a scary Christmas to all, and to all a daft night!
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
11 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Digital image. Oh my Disney. Disney. Web. <https://ohmy.disney.com/movies/2015/06/03/11-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-nightmare-before-christmas/>.