HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe
Victoria the Great
Dave Made a Maze
Desire and Hell at Sunset Motel
Prayer Before Dawn, A
Ragewar
Lowlife
Fashionista
Elizabeth Harvest
Moulin Rouge!
Free Solo
Mifune: The Last Samurai
Stan and Ollie
Girl in the Spider's Web, The
Up from the Depths
Guardians of the Tomb
November Man, The
Overlord
Sebastiane
Lifechanger
Circle of Two
Hell Fest
Oklahoma!
Nutcracker and the Four Realms, The
Vigilante Force
Haunting of Sharon Tate, The
Paradox
Peppermint
Sharkwater Extinction
Isn't It Romantic
   
 
Newest Articles
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
Phwoar, Missus! Sexytime for Hollywood
He-Maniacs: Ridiculous 80s Action
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
No, THIS Must Be the Place: True Stories on Blu-ray
Alf Garnett's Life After Death: Till Death... and The Thoughts of Chairman Alf on DVD
Balance of Power: Harold Pinter at the BBC on DVD
Strange Days 2: The Second Science Fiction Weirdness Wave
Strange Days: When Science Fiction Went Weird
Ha Ha Haaargh: Interview With Camp Death III in 2D! Director Matt Frame
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
   
 
  Nightmare Before Christmas, The Happy HorrordaysBuy this film here.
Year: 1993
Director: Henry Selick
Stars: Chris Sarandon, Danny Elfman, Catherine O'Hara, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix, Paul Reubens, Ken Page, Ed Ivory, Susan McBride, Debi Durst, Greg Proops, Kerry Katz
Genre: Horror, Musical, Comedy, Animated, Fantasy
Rating:  9 (from 5 votes)
Review: In Halloween Town, the inhabitants are congratulating themselves on another successful night of scares, but the Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington (voiced by Chris Sarandon and sung by Danny Elfman) is strangely dissatisfied. He feels there must be more to life than this, and wanders off alone, into the forest, until he stumbles across a group of trees bearing doors with pictures - a brightly coloured egg for Easter, a turkey for Thanksgiving, and a decorated tree for Christmas among them. Intrigued, Jack opens the Christmas door and is drawn into Christmas Town, which gives him a great idea: instead of Halloween, he and his friends will celebrate Yuletide this year!

Although directed by Henry Selick, The Nightmare Before Christmas has the gothic imagination of producer Tim Burton stamped all over it. He devised the tale and its stop motion animated characters, which was adapted by Michael McDowell with a screenplay by Caroline Thompson. Mixing a good natured story of the macabre with composer Danny Elfman's deftly-worded songs, the result is a film that appeals to both adults and children alike, and maybe even more so to adults, especially those who paint their fingernails black.

Jack's idea is seriously flawed, but only Sally (voiced by Catherine O'Hara), the stitched-together creation of the Evil Scientist, realises what a terrible mistake he's making. All the characters are intricately designed, with their own individual tics and idiosyncrasies; for example, the wheelchair-bound Scientist has a habit of lifting the top of his head and scratching his exposed brain. The mayor has two faces that spin around, depending on how he's feeling and there are various vampires, werewolves, witches, mummies and unclassifiable horrors that act as a chorus to the action.

To ensure his version of Christmas is not disrupted, Jack orders little monsters Lock, Shock and Barrel to kidnap Santa Claus (or Sandy Claws as they call him), but it all goes horribly wrong when the trio deliver the jolly fat man into the hands of Oogie Boogie, a malevolent menace who threatens to put Santa to death. Despite being a cheerful fantasy, the gruesome elements are never far away, but even the darkest jokes - fairy lights around an electric chair, or hanging an angel decoration - are skipped over with a lightness of touch that permeates the whole production, remaining sprightly throughout and never dragging.

Perhaps the most endearing aspect is that Jack means well, but isn't aware of his limitations, not considering that his skull-like head and inappropriate presents might not be appreciated during the season of goodwill. Some of the best gags see the effects of Jack's mayhem: "What did Santa bring you?" asks one mother, only for her child to show her a shrunken head. The military is called on to shoot down Jack's ghoulish sleigh, but he still wishes everyone a merry Christmas as he plummets to the earth. The message of this is stick to what you're good at, or more restrictively, a leopard can't change his spots, but the enchanting realisation and ingenious presentation make this a Christmas cult classic for those who are more sentimental about Halloween. Why wasn't there an Abominable Snowman around to tell Jack about the festive season? Could have saved a lot of trouble.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 7040 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Henry Selick  ( - )

American animator who memorably brought Tim Burton's creations to life with The Nightmare Before Christmas. Like Burton, Selick worked at Disney (on Pete's Dragon and The Fox and the Hound) before branching out on his own. Later feature films were a charming adaptation of James and the Giant Peach, odd fantasy-comedy Monkeybone and much-acclaimed Neil Gaiman adaptation Coraline.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
   

 

Last Updated: