The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

nightmare before christmas poster 1993 movie
9.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great visuals


Movie Info

Movie Name: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Studio: Skellington Productions

Genre(s): Animated/Musical/Family/Seasonal

Release Date(s): October 29, 1993

MPAA Rating: PG

nightmare before christmas jack skellington whats this

What’s this?!?!

Something’s up with Jack!  Jack Skellington just isn’t his old self. The yearly Halloween celebration just has lost its fun, and he wants something different.  When he discovers a portal to different holiday worlds, Jack learns about Christmas.  Now the the people of Halloween Town are going to throw the best Christmas ever, whether the world is ready or not!

Directed by Henry Selick, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stop-motion animated holiday family musical.  The film was based on characters and a story by Tim Burton with Michael McDowell adapting it for the screen.  was directed by Henry Selick and written and designed by Tim Burton (Michael McDowell adapted it for the screen).  The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects.

nightmare before christmas lock shock barrel santa claus

What’s in the bag?

With classic stop-motion animation and a soundtrack by Danny Elfman, The Nightmare Before Christmas has become a cult classic.  It was one of the rare films I bought without seeing, and I didn’t regret that decision.  I love The Nightmare Before Christmas for all its fun and strangeness.

Tim Burton’s art design for The Nightmare Before Christmas is fantastic.  From Jack to Sally to Lock, Shock, and Barrel to Oogie Boogie, the characters are so expressive.  The dark, broody world created by Burton even manages to make Christmas Town a bit dark and strange.  The movie is full of memorable images with rich texture.

nightmare before christmas jack skellington shot down graveyard

Jack…this everyone after the holidays…

In addition to the character designs, it is some of the best stop-motion.  Before The Nightmare Before Christmas, it felt like the biggest exposure to stop-motion was the Claymation Christmas specials like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (mixed in with things like Gumby and even Davy and Goliath).  Those specials have their own style and look, but The Nightmare Before Christmas dwarfs those shows and specials in its smoothness and scope.  Not only are the characters moving and gliding through the air, the camera is circling and panning…the amount of movement on all axis of vision is astounding and mind-numbing considering this was still made in the classic methods.

Elfman’s music is very typical of his style, but also has surprising catchy tunes and songs.  The music combines with the art for a truly unique movie and the environment and setting just seems to interact with the characters.

nightmare before christmas oogie boogie jack skellington

Oogie…you’re going down!

The movie is also bolstered by great voice acting.  Chris Sarandon gives a nice turn as Jack Skellington (with composer Danny Elfman providing Jack’s singing voice).  Catherine O’Hara (usually known for here comedy) provides a nice, soft spoken Sally and character actor William Hickey is a perfect mad scientist in Doctor Fincklestein. Paul Reubens…aka Pee Wee Herman makes a small vocal cameo as Lock.

The weird thing about The Nightmare Before Christmas is when do you watch it?  Is it a Halloween movie?  A Christmas movie?  Do you watch it at Thanksgiving?  It ties in plots from all holidays…I mostly consider it a Christmas movie, but it can be enjoyed all year round.  Check out A Nightmare Before Christmas…it is a different type of Christmas movie.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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