76 Min | Animation – Family – Fantasy | November 1994
IMDB Rating: 8.0
Director: Henry Selick
Starring: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara
The Nightmare Before Christmas Review: By 1993, director Tim Burton was such a successful filmmaker in Hollywood that he was able to return to one of his most beloved early projects, “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” It’s certainly an inspired movie, as it is also very weird, and when I say “weird,” I mean it’s distinctly Burton. Even though it was directed with enough competency by Henry Selick, this groundbreaking stop-motion animation film is Burton all the way, as it contains ample “esque” qualities that make this “Nightmare” uniquely his vision. As the film opens in the twisted, “Burton”-esque village of “Halloweentown,” Jack Skellington, who is dually voiced by Chris Sarandon and longtime Burton collaborator Danny Elfman, is celebrating another “horrible” Halloween.
You’ll be shocked and amazed at some of the town’s inhabitants, who include jazz-playing zombies, four tenor-like vampires, a wolf man, and a wheelchair-bound scientist who occasionally opens up his cranium to (literally) scratch his brain, his creation, a Frankenstein-like scarecrow named Sally (Catherine O’Hara), yearns for contact with others and is quite fond of Jack Skellington. But Jack’s quickly growing tired of the same old routine year after year, and because he’s so downtrodden with boredom, he ventures into the dark forest outside the town’s borders, and accidentally stumbles onto the wondrous, jolly world of “Christmastown.” Enticed by its splendor, he decides to bring back his discovery to the residents of Halloweentown, who of which are just as shocked by Christmas as he is.
In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack gets the brilliant idea to pose as Santa Claus but hires three mischief-makers to kidnap the real Santa so he can share his own, misguided vision of Christmas with an unprepared world. Painstakingly and meticulously crafted, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a beautiful and wonderful film from start to finish. The most famous image of this film is the cover art, which features Skellington eerily silhouetted against a full moon while he stands atop a coiled hill that overlooks a desolate graveyard. Burton is such a wonderful director, who had already brought us one unique “esque” vision after the other, especially with the first two “Batman” films and “Edward Scissorhands” behind him as of ’93 when “Nightmare” was made.