the nightmare before christmas — based on stories by Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick — has gained renown in the nearly thirty years since its release. Becoming a sleeper hit when it was first released in theaters in October 1993, the film has only risen to prominence, becoming a huge classic of the Halloween and Christmas seasons.
Despite taking place with a very Halloween-inspired core cast of characters and a gothic palette, the Nightmare Before Christmas it lacks many of the hallmarks that define the party’s most famous films. In fact, the Nightmare Before Christmas works better as a Christmas movie than a Halloween movie.
How The Nightmare Before Christmas Approaches Christmas and Halloween
the nightmare before christmas centers on Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King and one of the leaders of Halloween Town, a community of monsters and terrors that thrive on Halloween night. However, the end of another terrifying season leaves Jack bored. Disillusioned with the traditional tropes that have defined his recent work as the spirit of Halloween, he finds inspiration when he discovers Christmas Town. Deciding to replace Santa to take over Christmas, Jack inadvertently sets off a chain of events that nearly ends Santa and the entire holiday. At the end of the movie, Jack realizes the mistake of his ways, saves Santa from Oogie Boogie, and enjoys a snowy night with his love interest, Sally.
In an era of impressive works courtesy of Walt Disney Animation, the nightmare before christmas It remains one of the most unique and iconic, with its stop-motion animation and Tim Burton character designs creating a goofy yet bleak world of sweetness and terror. It is common to see elements of the film redesigned in the Halloween season, especially at Disneyland, where the Haunted Mansion attraction is modified as “Haunted Mansion Holiday”, an attraction with the characters of the nightmare before christmas. Despite the standout horror moments, there are plenty of little reasons why the movie makes so much more sense to watch around Christmas than as a Halloween movie.
Why is the Nightmare Before Christmas not a Halloween movie?
The opening musical number of the nightmare before christmas — “Halloween Town” — sets the stage for the entire movie. It gleefully introduces the demons that inhabit the main stage, showcasing the goofy goth approach to city life. Notably, however, all of this occurs in the final moments of Halloween, when the clock strikes midnight and closes the book on another Halloween. The movie literally opens with the end of Halloween. As the rest of the town gleefully prepares for the coming year, Jack finds himself falling even more in love with Christmas, and as Halloween Town tries to recreate Christmas through its twisted perspective, it’s all done with the intention of living up to Christmas. They prepare gifts and try to spread joy and cheer, only for the gifts to be hideous and their joy to rise from terror.
In effect, Jack steals Christmas from Santa Claus, giving him more in common with the Grinch who stole Christmas than any other Halloween spirit like Sam from Trick or treat. When Jack realizes the error of his ways and saves the day, he is rewarded with a night of Christmas from Santa, leading the townspeople to more fully embrace a holiday other than Halloween, if only for one night. . Jack learns the meaning of Christmas through a gift from Sally, highlighting the importance of love and togetherness, as opposed to the more cautious lessons of the Halloween stories.
In function (despite the horror-style visuals), the story of Nightmare Before Christmas is one that feels most at home around Christmas time. Even the scares the nightmare before christmas are punctuated with a joke and a laugh, which never quite reach the intensity of Jack’s scarecrow dance at the beginning of the film, during Hallowe’en. the nightmare before christmas It’s not a Halloween movie, although it may seem like it.