Director: Henry Selick
Halloween doesn’t have too many film standards, not like Christmas of course, which bogarts the holiday movie genre. But one film not only represents the October festivities but also reaches its tendrils into December, spanning months and seasons with a magic not many can muster. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a classic animated feature no matter how you look at it, as a stop-motion movie, as a spooky surprise, as a holiday tradition. Tim Burton lends us his genius, which we are always lucky to hold for fleeting moments, and this film lives on every Halloween, an undying standard that we will always find wonderfully creepy.
Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, has grown tired of scaring children out of their wits every year, a routine that has become as boring as the same old monsters that surround him in Halloween Town. Jack’s talent is undeniable, his power to frighten unmatched, but he knows that there must be something more out there for a bag of bones of his passions, and that’s when he stumbles upon the doors. In a glade, in the sides of trees, are doors that lead to each holiday town, each place where the different seasons are brought to life by different specialists; Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas. In Christmas Town, Jack sees the joy that can be brought into the hearts of children, and he wants to harness that emotion for his own use, to branch out, to take over another city of festivities.
This really is a unique film in the way that it has become an icon of an entire month, but how it also touches Christmas as well. Disney doesn’t often use stop-motion, but they do here, and it’s magic. The story is excellent, full of spooks and nightmares but somehow hope as well, weaving together a complicated theme in only 70 minutes. But it’s Tim Burton and Daffy Elfman who bring the film to life. Burton brings his dark style, Elfman writes the music and sings Jack’s songs, and the result is fantastic. These songs stay with you all year long, the images Burton brings to life are indescribable, and if The Nightmare Before Christmas isn’t already one of your cult favorites, one watch and it will be.
My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆