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Title:  The Nightmare Before Christmas

Year: 1993

Genre: Animation | Family | Fantasy |

Runtime: 76 min

Director:  Henry Selick

Starring: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara


It is the same routine every year in Halloween Town, on Halloween, the monsters come out and perform a real scare. This particular Halloween, the pumpkin king Jack Skellington, bored with the idea, saunters off into the woods with his dog Zero after Halloween night. Upon the break of dawn, he discovers a clearing of trees with different doors representing various holidays. The Christmas Tree door attracts his attention and upon entrance into the world of Christmas, Jack is fascinated with this new idea of Christmas that he must absolutely share with the citizens of Halloween Town.

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Tim Burton’s imagination can only go. He has up to this point done Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Frankenweenie and Hansel & Gretel. He has, as known before, been stamped as a visualizer that captures the most imaginative part of storytelling. Especially as he has a thing for the macabre, weird and spectacle.

In this 76-minute feature film, where Tim Burton wrote the story and Henry Selick. It’s a stop-motion animated musical-comedy suitable for six years old and up, it tells a new yet familiar story about the discovery of Christmas. The animation works for the tale, even if it’s stop-motion produced in the early nineties, it shines also a light on what’s possible with a story like this. Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon performed the voice acting and captures this Halloween-based Christmas story from The Night Before Christmas.

In this ferocious world, Jack Skellington works as the Grinch reversed with the Halloween characters celebrating Christmas and singing holiday carols. It’s far spookier than first imagined. Just like many other musicals, this also has strings of highly choreographed singing numbers, but in this context, it works well and gets a more serious, haunting tone in a detained entertainment feature. The film captures the sense of an odd-Christmas feeling. The pace is alright, even with the short runtime of barely an hour, it works. The contrast between Christmas and Halloween is striking. There is some romance, and friendship shared through song and dancing.

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The second act feels rushed and there’s a short road to the end. It’s compensated by a friendship aka everything is good – an ending which feels a little too plain, but what else is expected from a film for children?

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