The Nightmare Before Christmas: Halloween Fantasy or Festive Favourite?

Therese Rea weighs in on this cinematic debate

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Dir: Henry Selick

Running time: 76 mins

With Christmas over a week away, it’s seen as tradition to watch a Christmas movie to help get in the festive mood. Some people prefer checking in with Kevin McAlister to see him take on The Wet Bandits; whilst other people enjoy seeing Buddy The Elf travel to New York and find his father. I, on the other hand, prefer taking a less conventional trip to Halloweentown and catching up with Jack Skellington to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The film tells the story of Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloweentown, who although has everything he could ask for; still yearns for something more. After another successful Halloween, Jack disappears to a land unknown to him called Christmastown and becomes captivated by the sights and sounds, believing that Christmas is what has been missing from him all along. The movie is directed by Henry Selick with the talents of Catherine O’Hara, Paul Reubens and Danny Elfman, who lends his voice to Jack Skellington and also composes the soundtrack to the film.

All things considered I have always wondered was the film intended to be watched at Christmas or at Halloween, let’s weigh up the odds.

Halloween: Film is set in a place called Halloweentown, after Halloween and inhabited by the undead.  I don’t think anything sounds much more Halloween than the above statement.

Christmas: It features all the themes associated with Christmas movies like Santa, presents, Christmastown and even has a heart warming message at the centre; never take for granted what you already have.

Halloween: At the centre of Jack’s trouble is the super scary Oogie Boogie whose one of my top ten villains of all time.

Christmas: The song ‘What’s This?’ is often featured in some Christmas playlists and albums. Anytime I hear the song I immediately think of Christmas.

The truth of the matter is; is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie. At a convention last year director Henry Selick settled all debates by coming out and saying that the film is in fact a Halloween movie.

He commented on the fact that many viewers enjoy the Christmas parts of the movie more than the Halloween parts but the main plot focuses on the people of Halloweentown and how they process an event other than Halloween.

Even with that clarification I sit here watching the movie and still get those fuzzy Christmas feelings from seeing a skeleton parade around dressed as Santa Clause, whatever you decide to watch this Christmas make sure you have a good one!

Written by Therese Rea @therese_rea

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