One man, 52 Christmas movies, one must be watched every week or the challenge is lost. Welcome to The Christmas Movie Challenge
It had to happen eventually, as certain as the sun (rising in the east) I was always going to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas as part of this year long challenge at some point. After the utterly forgettable Fred Claus, I wanted to watch something I knew I liked and it had been a good few years since I had seen it.
Now I’ll get this out the way now, I love stop motion animation it’s a long and painstaking task that I have always admired. Lots of love has been poured into Henry Selick’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, goth king Tim Burton developed the story and produces but it somehow manages to be more of a Burton flick than some of his recent efforts.
It’s that age old story of the pumpkin king of Halloween Town becoming bored doing the same thing every year. So one day he finds himself wondering through the woods when he comes across a group of trees with doors in them. Behind each door is another holiday world. Jack loves the idea of Christmas and decides to bring Christmas to Halloween Town… I know right, that old chestnut again.
Next year this movie will be 20 years old, which in itself feels very odd indeed. It only seems like yesterday that mascara clad teenagers were spending their pocket money on Jack Skellington merchandise.
Burton gets darkness, well maybe that’s too broad a comment but he is able to create something funny and otherworldly at the same time, and Nightmare Before Christmas feels like it was lifted directly from the mind of Burton as a child.
Frequent Burton composer Danny Elfman once again provides a suitable soundtrack, and he also gives life to Jack’s singing voice in the movie. The rest of the cast includes; Catherine O’Hara, Paul Reubens and Chris Sarandon as Jack Skellington
Burton has clearly been smitten by stop motion, he has gone on directed The Corpse Bride and produced the CGI oddity “9 “ both of which had their moments but don’t reach the enchanting heights of this twisted Christmas fable.
Later this year Burtons long time pet project Frankenweenie finally comes to the big screen. He made a live action short version back in 1984, and nearly 30 years later he finally got to make the full-length version.
It’s a bold movie to make a gothic comedy animation in black and white, but as Dark Shadows appears to have been a critical of box office misfire Frankenweenie could see a return to form for Burton.
From the songs to the creepy but likable characters, there’s almost no part of The Nightmare Before Christmas I don’t like. Whilst it may have become a cliché to like this film, when something is so well put together and made with love and care you can’t help but cherish it.
If you have The Nightmare Before Christmas Blu Ray then you have already seen it, but on the off chance you haven’t here is the 1984 30 minute original in all its black and white glory.