The Nightmare Before Christmas: Did You Ever Dance with Tim Burton in the Pale Moonlight?
While this is always promoted as Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993), there was a lot of other talent that went into this as well. Director Henry Selick, for instance, later went on to direct the creepy "Coraline," which is almost a companion piece to this film. Burton himself went on to direct "The Corpse Bride," which is a worthy companion piece to this film. However you slice it, though, "The Nightmare Before Christmas" cemented Tim Burton's reputation in Hollywood and became a holiday classic that could be enjoyed year-round.
|I want to dance with the devil in the pale moonlight...|
Jack Skeffington (Danny Elfman and Chris Sarandon) is the Pumpkin King of Halloween. He rules at that holiday, but the whole affair has become a bore, almost a chore, to get through each year. He is looking for something different. He finds it Christmastime.
|The film is very dark, befitting the context|
Jack wanders into Christmas Town and is enchanted with the whole idea. He goes back to his mates and persuades them to join him in putting on Christmas instead of Halloween. The only trouble is, the Pumpkin King's friends are all ghouls, bats, goblins and related scary figures of a different season.
|I wear sunglasses at night la la la|
They try their best, however, and the results are - interesting. Ken Page as the Oogie Boogie Man, Paul Reubens as Lock, Susan McBride as Big Witch, Randy Crenshaw as Mr. Hyde, Glenn Walters as Wolfman, Sherwood Ball as Mummy, and William Hickey as Dr. Finkelstein all give the holiday spirit a whole new twist.
This is a stop-motion animation film in the grand tradition. Its charm comes from that decision, because creating the same kind of weird fantasy world in live action would have been impossible, and straight animation could have have conveyed sufficiently the sheer creepiness of Jack and his friends.
|A nice, big grin|
While the theme is a nightmarish visitation of Halloween on Christmas, the film is suitable for all ages. The only really scary part for youngsters is the boogie man, but even he isn't that bad. If your child can handle "The Addams Family," he or she should be able to handle this one.
"The Nightmare Before Christmas" is a wonderful treat, especially during the holiday season if you are tired of the usual stuff. If you want to make an evening of it, watch this, then "Coraline" or Tim Burton's "The Corpse Bride," and you will double your fun. The trailer is below.