Nightmare Before Christmas

Nightmare Before Christmas

4.8 155
Director: Henry Selick

Cast: Henry Selick, Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara


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This stop-motion animated fable was a big hit when it was released -- not only at the box office, but critically. It was praised for its stunning originality and for the excellence of its execution. In addition, it was praised for being a completely absorbing fable that both grownups and children can enjoy, so long as the children are able to its handle scary bits… See more details below

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This stop-motion animated fable was a big hit when it was released -- not only at the box office, but critically. It was praised for its stunning originality and for the excellence of its execution. In addition, it was praised for being a completely absorbing fable that both grownups and children can enjoy, so long as the children are able to its handle scary bits (beginning perhaps at age seven or eight). In the story, Jack Skellington (voice of Chris Sarandon) is the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, a realm of reality where the inhabitants make it their life's work to scare humans on Halloween. He's good at his work, and is very popular around town, but it all bores him. In a funk one day, he wanders into a wood where every tree is the doorway to realms serving one or another human holiday, and falls through the doorway into Christmas. There, he sees scenes of such glee and good will that he is overwhelmed. He returns to Halloweentown with the inspiration to persuade his fellow citizens to kidnap Santa and do Christmas in their own Halloweentown way -- complete with snakes and shrunken heads. Despite strong arguments against this project by Jack's otherwise loyal girlfriend, Sally (voice of Catherine O'Hara), Santa (voice of Edward Ivory) is duly captured, and the townspeople prepare a very special Christmas for everyone. Jack is excited about the new plan, and at first doesn't notice that Sally isn't around much anymore. Meanwhile, Oogie Boogie (voice of Ken Page), a sinister opponent of Jack's, has re-kidnapped Santa and has captured Sally as well. Since Sally is the true love of Jack's life and (he eventually realizes) the only one who can be relied upon to tell him the truth in every circumstance, a confrontation with Oogie Boogie becomes inevitable. In addition to being a monumental work of animation (it took over 120 animators and many more technicians more than two years to film it), this show features ten very appropriate musical numbers by composer Danny Elfman, who also supplies Jack's singing voice. In October 2006, fans of the innovative animated classic got to experience The Nightmare Before Christmas in a whole new dimension when the film was re-released into theaters in Disney Digital 3-D -- a process developed to add remarkable new depth to films that were originally released in standard 2-D.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Amy Robinson
From the macabre mind of visionary eccentric Tim Burton (Sleepy Hollow) comes this tour de force of stop-motion animation that explores the world of holidays with gleeful black humor and stunning visual inventiveness. Conceived and produced by Burton and directed by Henry Selick, The Nightmare Before Christmas chronicles the exploits of Pumpkin King Jack Skellington who, tiring of a life dedicated to bringing Halloween terror to children everywhere, decides to try his hand at Christmas instead. While he never quite grasps the essence of the holiday, Jack exhibits more true affection and imagination than the stern and workmanlike Santa Claus. The vivid imagery -- the spindly denizens of Halloweenland; the greedy, chubby-faced children awaiting their presents; the chipper garishness of Santa's workshop itself -- lingers when the film is over, as do Danny Elfman's wonderfully catchy songs. Functioning both as a sly dig at the mindless consumerism of Christmas and an argument for finding out what you do best and sticking with it, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a refreshing alternative to saccharine, mainstream holiday cinema.
All Movie Guide
Though The Nightmare Before Christmas was universally acclaimed for its seemingly kid-friendly stop-motion animation, parents of the youngest tots should be duly warned. The expressionistic world created by producer/production designer Tim Burton and director Henry Selick may be full of jaw-dropping invention, but it also includes scenes of Santa Claus being tortured on a rack, and a confused child pulling a severed head from his stocking (rendered about as mildly as such a thing can be). What excuses these almost PG-13 images is that tongues are firmly planted in cheek, and everything is placed aright by the end, no serious damage done. Throw in Danny Elfman's lovely score, and the children may be too caught up to ask, "Mommy, why is that Jack Skellington man behaving that way?" The Nightmare Before Christmas was both one of the most imaginative and technologically sophisticated creations that had ever been seen at the time of its release. In a stroke of marketing genius, the film works as both a Halloween and a Christmas movie, combining Burton's fondness for the spooky by-products of the former with the latter's ability to ascribe classic status, which the film capitalizes on. Halloweentown is like a haunted thrill ride for the eyes, popping with trademark Burton twists and gnarls that also possess an underlying sweetness: Just look at the expressiveness of Jack's skeletal eyes. So what if he's a bit of a prankster? That just feeds Burton's and Selick's ghoulish sensibilities, without which this would not be such a subversive "family classic" that should amaze all ages, if for different reasons.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Walt Disney Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen, 3D]
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Tim Burton movie introduction; "What's This?" Jack's Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour; Frankenweenie Short Film (uncut version) with introduction by Tim Burton; Vincent - short film; Tim Burton's original poem narrated by Christopher Lee; Audio commentary by Tim Burton, director Henry Selick and music designer Danny Elfman; Behind-The-Scenes making of the movie; The Worlds Of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas; Deleted scenes

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Danny Elfman Barrel
Chris Sarandon Jack Skellington
Catherine O'Hara Shock,Sally
William Hickey Dr. Finklestein
Glenn Shadix Mayor
Paul Reubens Lock
Ken Page Oogie Boogie
Edward Ivory Santa
Mary Gail Artz Actor
Barbara Cohen Actor
Randy Crenshaw Mr. Hyde/Behemoth/Vampire
Sherwood Ball Mummy, Vampire
Carmen Twillie Undersea Gal/Man Under Stairs
L. Peter Callender Voice Only
David McCharen Voice Only
Doris Hess Voice Only
Gary Raff Voice Only
Gary Schwartz Voice Only
Judi M. Durand Voice Only
Greg Proops Actor

Technical Credits
Henry Selick Director
Tim Burton Original Story,Producer,Production Designer
Barbara Cohen Casting
Denise Di Novi Producer
Danny Elfman Score Composer,Songwriter,Co-producer
Bill Gavin Producer
Pete Kozachik Cinematographer
Phil Lofaro Associate Producer
Michael McDowell Screenwriter
Tim Robinson Producer
Deane Taylor Art Director
Caroline Thompson Screenwriter
Stan Webb Editor

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas
1. Opening Credits (" 'Twas A Long Time Ago...") [:00]
2. "This Is Halloween" [:00]
3. "Jack's Lament" [:00]
4. "What's This?" [:02]
5. "The Town Meeting Song" [:00]
6. Experiments [:00]
7. "Jack's Obsession" [1:20]
8. "The Scheming Song" [5:01]
9. Sally's Forewarning [7:47]
10. "Making Christmas" [6:42]
11. Sandy Claws In Person [5:22]
12. "Oogie Boogie's Song" [4:27]
13. Zero Lights The Way [4:50]
14. "Sally's Song" [3:10]
15. Christmas Eve Montage [2:35]
16. Shot Out Of The Sky [4:21]
17. "Poor Jack" [2:52]
18. To The Rescue! [2:33]
19. "Finale/Reprise" [2:18]
20. End Credits [1:44]
21. Chapter 21 [:01]
22. Chapter 22 [4:59]
23. Chapter 23 [1:48]
24. Chapter 24 [3:02]
25. Chapter 25 [4:10]
26. Chapter 26 [2:36]
27. Chapter 27 [4:45]
1. The Beginning [3:12]
2. Music [1:34]
3. Storyboards [1:06]
4. Art Direction [6:36]
5. Puppets [2:38]
6. Animation [9:34]

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