“The Nightmare Before Christmas” was written and produced by Tim Burton, directed by Henry Selick and is based on a short story also written by Burton. Although it was produced and animated by Disney, it was released under TouchStone Studios for its dark look and tone but was re released 2009 under the Walt Disney brand and converted to 3D. The voice cast include Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, Paul Reubens, Ken Page, William Hickey and Glenn Shadix. Patrick Stewart did record serval lines of the opening narration but was never added to the final cut but is featured on the soundtrack.
In Halloween Town, Jack Skellington (Sarandon) the Pumpkin King, and the rest of the community celebrate another day of Halloween. However, Jack is starting to feel a bit complacent, having done the same old thing every single year with no changes. Jack wonders off into a mysterious part of the woods to find a group of doors in the shape of different holiday items. Jack is mesmerized by the door shaped like a Christmas tree and is taken to Christmas Town and has a new idea for Halloween. Jack’s plan was to take over role of Santa Claus but that doesn’t good according to plan as Sally (O’Hara) has vision of Jack’s demise after his holiday idea. Things take a turn for the worse when the villainous, Oogie Boogie (Page) gets involved by kidnapping Santa. Now, Jack must race against time to save not only Santa but both Christmas and Halloween from Boogie’s evil plans of absolute chaos.
Tim Burton had already had success with his live action films such as 1988’s “Beetlejuice”, 1989’s “Batman”, 1992’s “Batman Returns and 1990’s “Edward Scissorhands”, but here he returns to his stop motion animation films he started while at Disney. This would be his first stop motion animated film that got the big screen treatment and would be arguably his best one. “Nightmare” is a great film that blends both holidays together seamlessly. I’ve always viewed it as both a Halloween and Christmas movie. It definitely holds up after 27 years and really shows how different and unique Burton’s animated storytelling is.
After the film was a mild hit, Burton and Selick would team up again for 1996’s “James and the Giant Peach”. Burton would go on to direct a slew film with his dark and gothic style such as “Sleepy Hollow”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “Planet of the Apes”, “Sweeney Todd”, “Dark Shadows”, “Alice In Wonderland” and “Mars Attacks”. He would return to the stop motion animated films with 2005’s “Corpse Bride” and 2012’s “Frankenweenie”. Burton also served as producer for another slew of films such as “9”, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”, “Batman Forever” and “Alice Through The Looking Glass”.