31 Days of Halloween: Day 14, The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) directed by Henry Selick and written by Tim Burton, Michael Mcdowell, and Caroline Thompson is a stop motion animated film about Jack Skellington, the King of Halloweentown, and his struggle to find something he is passionate about.

Jack, (Chris Sarandon and Danny Elfman sing) the main protagonist, is an icon to Halloweentown as the “Pumpkin King”, but Jack has grown tired of the routine of Halloween. At the end of a successful Halloween, he wanders off and stumbles on a door in the forest leading to Christmas Town, a place unlike the town he’s used to. It’s full of snow, happiness, bright lights, and Jack feels the new excitement overcome him. He rushes home to tell the others, but they aren’t as bewildered as him. He eventually decides he will take over Christmas this year. He gives the inhabitants of Halloweentown different jobs and Sally (Catherine O’Hara) is sure of this ending in disaster, but Jack doesn’t listen. He proceeds to go and deliver presents to the population and sure enough, the plan goes very wrong. Meanwhile Santa (Ed Ivory) was captured per Jacks orders but he’s taken to Oogie Boogie’s (Ken Page) lair Jack comes back and rescues him, and Sally who was also captured. Hope is restored, and Jack and Sally fall in love.

This film is not a nightmare but in fact a dream. Tim Burton creates an imaginative, beautiful world based on holidays we know and love. The struggle and hatred for routine Jack feels is relatable to us all. It feels sometimes we are doing the same thing over and over, and this film takes that struggle and creates a musical world about it.

This film is a favorite of mine for this time of year because I hate horror movies, and this gets me in the Halloween spirit. When I watch this film I know it’s Halloween. It’s beautiful, full of fun, and worth a watch.