The Nightmare Before Christmas: Worth Seeing Again, & Again, & Again…


Touchstone Pictures/ Skellington Productions Inc. / Tim Burton Productions / Walt Disney Pictures (3D version)

Amaya White, Staff Writer

A childhood favorite loved by many, including myself, is The Nightmare Before Christmas, a go-to movie when someone is asked what it is they want to watch between the months of October and December. But the question that is on everyone’s mind but is rarely asked is whether The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween film or a Christmas movie?

The Nightmare Before Christmas tells the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, who has become bored with the same Halloween year after year, discovering a door leading him into the real world. Upon walking out of the tree door, he discovers multiple tree doors that lead to different holiday towns such as Thanksgiving Town and Eastertown, but the one that peaks his interest the most is Christmastown. As he enters Christmastown, it invokes a question in his mind that introduces the familiar song that is recognized by many, “What’s This?”  After looking around and inspecting everything Jack gets a brilliant idea. He tells his friends back in Halloweentown about his discovery, but they don’t quite understand what it is that Jack is trying to tell them. After studying Christmastown, Jack goes back to Halloweentown and starts assigning  different task to everyone, giving the mischievous trick-or-treating trio the task of kidnapping Santa and keeping him safe.

The beloved ragged assistant of the Evil Scientist, Sally, who is secretly in love with Jack, warns him that taking on the responsibility of Christmas is a bad idea, and it is all going to fail. Jack ignores her and proceeds with his plans. Meanwhile the trio decides to take Santa to Oogie Boogie, the boogie man, where he bargains with Santa’s life. Sally attempts to rescue Santa, which prompts to her capture and life on the line.

As Jack is flying around the world giving out presents, people begin to realize something isn’t right. Those aren’t the usual jolly gifts they receive each year. Instead the are horrible things that makes your skin crawl. Eventually discovered, Jack is shot out of the sky by the military and crash land into a cemetery. He realizes the disaster he has created and gets his motivation for Halloween again. He goes to find Santa and Sally captive by the boogeyman. He defeats him by pulling a loose thread and unraveling the Oogie Boogie and Santa goes and saves the day. Santa returns to Halloweentown to tell Jack that the next time he wants to put on a different holiday he should talk to Sally for a second opinion.The movie then ends with Jack and Sally confessing their love for each other on the hill above the cemetery.

Released in 1993, this animated film never fails to warm people’s hearts. It touches upon the issues of the holiday changes and gives young, more naive children a behind-the-scenes look into how the holidays function and what everyone does when it’s over.

This film is nostalgic not only for me, but also for my parents and grandparents. It’s the one true film that you watch during the ABC countdown to Christmas. It is also ranked #6 in movies about Christmas. But wait a minute, doesn’t that make it a Christmas film?

Actually, it doesn’t.

The movie was released in early October of  ‘93 and it is about the main nightmare before Christmas, Halloween. Christmas is the next major holiday children look forward to after Halloween and that’s what this movie is about. But some people fail to realize this.

Henry Selick, the director who brought Tim Burton’s idea to life, cleared up all of the controversy in an interview with Birth. Movies. Death.

“It’s a Halloween movie,” he said. “This is a movie about Halloween, and the people of Halloween, and how they react to something like Christmas.”

But the interviewer, Devin Faraci, also had a great point to make.

“Each side has their own logic,” he said, “the Christmas people point to the fact that the movie takes place leading up to and on Christmas, for instance – but when it comes to the people who made the movie, there’s only one answer: this is a Halloween movie for people who realize Halloween isn’t just one day out of the year.”