The Nightmare Before Christmas – 1993 – English
Animation film directed in 1993 by Henry Selick, and starring Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara…
Synopsis: Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, is bored with doing the same thing every year for Halloween. One day he stumbles into Christmas Town, and is so taken with the idea of Christmas that he tries to get the resident bats, ghouls, and goblins of Halloween Town to help him put on Christmas instead of Halloween — but alas, they can’t get it quite right.
Review: I was a kid when I first saw Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, but I wasn’t scared by it in the slightest – this world is one entirely of the imagination, and in a sense saying that the film is scary for younger children is something of a compliment. ‘Nightmare’ is both a horror film and a musical, and fantasy and a suspense film, and like most Burton effort, comedy is thrown in at just the right moments.
With Henry Selick as director and Michael McDowell & Caroline Thompson as the screenwriters, Burton has fashioned the worlds of Halloween-town and Christmas-town as real originals, working on the cliches that are in each holiday and surrounding the worlds with a host of terrific and terrifying characters. While Halloween-town has a mayor (appropriately with two faces, one smiling one distressed), the real leader is Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon voices with a great Danny Elfman as the singing Jack) who orchestrates Halloween every year for its citizens. But he’s grown weary over the years, and after stumbling upon Christmas-town, loaded with good will towards men and a large man in a red suit, he gets his town riled up to overtake the joyous holiday. Despite one protest by Sally (an amazing Catherine O’Hara), the doll-girl who loves him, the town goes on creating Jack’s vision. The results are hilarious and, indeed, spellbinding.
Much credit is given to Burton and Selick for their work on the film, but a lot should also be attributed to Denise Di Novi (co-producer and co-designer), Rick Heinrichs (visual consultant), Pete Kozachik (D.P.), and of course Danny Elfman for his perfectly fitting score and song creations. Along with the talented voice actors, Nightmare Before Christmas ends up a triumph of artistic ingenuity. Some could construe it as too weird or too stylish, but for the cult audience it has garnered over the past ten years it remains of of Burton’s finest accomplishments.