Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas

Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas

Static Mass Rating: 5/5

Release Date: October 10th 2008
Certificate: PG
Running Time: 73 minutes

Director: Henry Selick

Cast: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon and Catherine O’Hara

After the magically gothic worlds of Beetlejuice (1988), Batman (1989), Edward Scissorhands (1990) and Batman Returns (1992), director, writer and producer Tim Burton finally got to work on The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Some time in the early 1980’s while he was still working as an animator for Disney, Burton watched Halloween merchandise in a shop window taken down and replaced with a Christmas display and was inspired to write a three-page poem, titled The Nightmare Before Christmas. He also drew inspiration from television specials such as Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) and the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas to help create the characters of Jack, Zero and Santa.

After his success with Vincent (1982), Disney began to consider turning The Nightmare Before Christmas into a 30-minute television short but it wasn’t until 1990 when a deal was struck. In that time, Burton was able to flesh out his Nightmare characters and expand his world to what we see in the finished version of the film.

The story takes place in Halloween Town where weird and wonderfully frightening creatures celebrate Halloween every year. They are lead by Jack Skellington (“The Pumpkin King”), but one year he begins to grow tired of going through the same old routine again and again. When he wanders out into the forest, he accidentally opens a portal to Christmas Town where he sees a world of difference in their celebration. Returning to Halloween Town, Jack presents his findings to the town’s residents and it’s soon decided that they shall take over Christmas!

As he assumes the role of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, complete with a sleigh that looks like a coffin, pulled by a skeleton reindeer, Jack is ready to deliver presents but is completely unprepared for the disaster that will follow. Not only do the presents terrify the children and outrage their parents, but the military are about to launch an attack on Jack for being a Santa impostor. Will he have enough time to return Christmas back to the way it was before the night is over?

Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas

Borrowing heavily on German Expressionism throughout, the film is visually stunning and for its 2006 3-D release this makes it look even more fantastic. The worlds of Halloween Town and Christmas Town look like one of those pop-up books which you would love to just come alive and this is one instance when it does.


  • Holiday Countdown Clock
  • New Collector’s Edition Bonus in HD
  • Original Special Edition Bonus in SD
  • Deleted Scenes, Behind the Scenes, Storyboard, Audio Commentary and Trailers

Filmed using stop-motion, a total of 227 puppets were used in the film, but with Jack having the most animated of expressions, he had to have over 400 heads made!

It’s a wonderful alternative to the traditional Christmas tales, and while the ghost and ghouls hop, dance and sing while taking over the festivities, you can rest assured that it all remains light-hearted and fun for the family whether you choose to watch it on Halloween or for Christmas (or both!).

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