The Nightmare Before Christmas (…and they call him Sandy Claws)

Oh ho? What’s this? Another bonus post just for you guys? That’s because I like yah. I also consider splatterpictures to be my warm and safe spot where I can be a little freer with my thoughts and opinions and I really wanted to share my thoughts on The Nightmare Before Christmas.

I will start off by saying I’m not the biggest Tim Burton fan. I think like a lot of people I really liked his early stuff, with Edward Scissorhands but beyond that he never really made something that I really enjoyed. I was aware of The Nightmare Before Christmas for years before I actually bothered to watch it. I think it took me so long because when I was younger I would often just thumb my nose at something popular rather than watching it myself.  Then one day I managed to catch it on TV.

The Nightmare Before Christmas was released in 1993, and was based on a poem that Tim Burton had written years ago. He had wanted to produce the movie but didn’t have the clout in Hollywood just yet to do so. Some of the casual fans might not know that Tim Burton didn’t actually direct it. At the time Burton was knee deep in ruining Batman for everyone and couldn’t take on the director’s duties. That went over to Henry Selick. Although, Burton wasn’t the director, he was very hands on, and oversaw nearly every aspect of the movie and took a producers create. It was said that he was there almost every day to make sure everything was up to his creative vision.

The story is about Jack Skellington the pumpkin king. He is a celebrity like figure in the strange world of Halloween Town. Everything in Halloween town is all about the holiday that it gets its name from. We find them all in the middle of their celebration, for Halloween and Jack is front and center. After all is said and done it becomes obvious (through song no less) that he is bored with life and wants something new and exciting to happen.

He wonders all night and finds a series of doors to other holiday worlds and jumps into Christmas Town, he loves everything so much that he wants to take it back to his hometown and make Christmas his own. Of course, everything ends up with a distinct macabre twist to it and in the end he learns some kinda lesson I’m sure.

The movie is a musical, and the songs are great. Catchy with a lot going on in them. Danny Elfman did the music (big surprise) but also lended vocal talents to Jack’s singing voice aswell as a few other characters.  A lot of the more upbeat songs are pretty infectious but I did find myself disliking some of the ballads.

Not only is Elfman front and center every other aspect of a Burton film is also present. So everything has that sorta greyscale colouring. Long exaggerated designs and stripes. Ever notice all the stripes that Burton puts on everything? For me the most interesting portions visually were when Jack was in Christmas Town because it looks like a totally different creative team handled it. Very-non-Burton. Bright colours, cheerful etc…

It can’t be over-emphasised the technical achievements that this movie has. A lot of the more modern stop animations that have come out, in recent years such as Corpse Bride (another Burton flick) and Coraline (Actually also directed by Henry Selick) use stop motion but they combine it with CGI. This was bare bones stop animation. Some of the puppets even show a little wear in the clay but I find it to be part of its charm.

I’ve talked to a few people recently and we actually got into the real debate of whether or not it’s a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie. Well my attitude is Christmas is in the fucking title so there. I think if you take the time to sit down and watch it, it’s a worthy addition to the family Christmas movie run-through. It’s got the spooky twists of Halloween but ultimately is a fun take on the Christmas season. To anyone out there who has young children, I say make it part of the tradition if you haven’t already!

This will probably be me last post until after Christmas so I just wanted to take the opportunity to tell you all to have a happy and safe Holiday. I have some more stuff leading up to new years and then I have big plans for 2012.

"Listen Jack, in ten years you'll be on more T-shirts than me."

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2 Responses to “The Nightmare Before Christmas (…and they call him Sandy Claws)”

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