The Nightmare Before Christmas (Henry Selick, 1993)
After they throw another great Halloween, the people of Halloween town are convinced by Jack Skellington to take the task of doing Christmas this year. After he visits the world of Christmas and discovers many elements of the classic holiday. But you can’t ask monsters and ghouls to celebrate Christmas without being frightening and scary. On top of that, Jack falls in love with Sally the creation of the mad scientist of the village.
Mixing classic Hollywood monsters and Tim Burton’s own vision of both holidays, Halloween and Christmas, The Nightmare Before Christmas becomes a unique cult classic for the ages. Financed by Disney studios but released under their Touchstone pictures because they thought it would be not suitable for children, this is one of the most beautiful stop motion feature films of all time.
Also, it is the perfect link between the two holidays that commercial and business have now put back to back in their marketing.
The songs and music by Danny Elfman is superb and became a holiday classic in many homes. My wife and I are fans of this film and we often make our Jack O Lantern with different expressions of Jack Skellington. It’s funny that Burton didn’t directed the picture and let it to Henry Selick. Mostly, because it was sometimes presented as Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas but also because it was a personal project for him. The drafts of the different characters and their puppets are directly influenced by his own drawings and it was a project he had in mind for many years since his first short Vincent for Disney.
On the DVD version that I own I always rewatch the documentary of the making of that makes this film even more remarkable. The art of making those puppets move, dance and sing is outstanding and I believe that few people can make this craft look great like this.
The mix of classic Horror, musicals, and the pun to the classic tale of The Night Before Christmas are some of the reasons why I have this movie at heart. I would also boldly state that I prefer a thousand times better a stop motion animation more than the too perfect CGI / 3D animation films of today. Making me sound like the grinch of nostalgia but also expressing myself on how they don’t make them like that anymore…