HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Willy McBean and His Magic Machine
Robbery
Tag
Never Back Down
Doraemon: Nobita's Little Star Wars
Kriminal
It Comes at Night
Strangled
Mojin - The Lost Legend
Poison Ivy
Celine and Julie Go Boating
Union Station
My Brother Talks to Horses
Storks
Big Sick, The
Phantom Creeps, The
Houseboat
White Dress for Mariale, A
Wall, The
Deadline at Dawn
Batman vs Two-Face
56, rue Pigalle
Mermaid, The
Fear No Evil
Caribbean Dream, A
Nightbeast
Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe
Human Cobras
Fast & Furious 8
Lighthouse-Keeper's Daughter, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
Witching Hour: Hammer House of Horror on Blu-ray
Two Sides of Sellers: The Party vs The Optimists
Norse Code: The Vikings vs The Long Ships
Over the Moon - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 2
Alpha Males and Females - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 1
Animated Anxieties: From the Era of the Creepiest Cartoons
Manor On Movies--Clegg (1970)
Plans for Nigel: The Crunch... and Other Stories on DVD
   
 
  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 6396 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
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Keith Rockmael
Paul Shrimpton
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
Jensen Breck
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: