5 Dec 2016

CHRISTMAS MOVIES - Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

 Film genres have formulas and rules, but how well do Christmas films follow their formula?

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) is a stop-motion animation children's Christmas horror.

The following analysis may contain spoilers for

Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)


"We've got to find Jack! There's only 365 days left until next Halloween!" ~ Mayor.
"364!" ~ Wolfman.

  • 1a.  Someone Who Hates Christmas - The Oogie Boogie possibly.
  • 1b.  Someone Who Inflicts Christmas Cheer on Others - Jack Skellington.
  • 1c.  Precocious Kids - Lock, Shock, and Barrel are an extreme version.
  • 1d.  A Bullied Kid - Sally is bullied, but not a kid.
  • 1e.  Silver-haired jovial old person - Besides Santa and his wife.
  • 1f.  Someone with a secret - Not really, no.
  • 1g.  Stressed Young Female - Not really Sally.  Jack may be considered to be trying to get Christmas right and failing.
  • 1h.  The Single - Sally.
  • 1i.  Someone Career Obsessed - Not really, no.
  • 1j.  Grumpy Old (usually) Man - Dr. Finkelstein.
  • 1k.  Sassy Old (usually) WomanPossibly the Mayor.  If he was older.
  • 1l.  An Inappropriate Santa Impersonator - Jack Skellington.


“I sense there’s something in the wind, that feels like tragedy’s at hand. And though I’d like to stand by him, can’t shake this feeling that we have. The worst is just around the bend,  and does he notice my feelings for him? And will he see how much he means to me? I think it’s not to be.” ~ Sally
  • 2a.  Nudity - No nudity, well apart from some of the creatures.  Oogie Boogie's bag is pulled off.
  • 2b.  Sex - No sex, but Oogie Boogie does have fun with Sally's leg and Jack and Sally kiss at the end.


"Attention. Attention, citizens. Terrible news. There is still no sign of Santa Claus. Although the imposter has been shut down. It looks like Christmas will have to be canceled this year. I repeat: The imposter has been shot down, but there is still no sign of the real Santa Claus..." ~ Police officer.

  • 3a.  Home for the holidays - No.
  • 3b.  Santa may be real:
i.  Someone will replace him  -  Jack does so, but it involves a kidnapping.

ii.  Difficulty convincing people that he is real -  The people already believe in him.
iii.   There may be a crazy old man, who claims to be Santa, but isn't... -  No.  Unless you count Jack.
iv.  An elf, reindeer or snowman may be a magical stand-in for Santa -  No need, Santa's in it.
v.  There may be an active Anti-Santa - Jack counts, but not deliberately.
  • 3c.  Classic Christmas stories may be homaged:  The title homages the opening line of A Visit from St Nicholas - "'Twas the night before Christmas..."
i.  The Nativity - No.

ii.  A Christmas Carol - No.
iii.  O'Henry's Gift of the Magi - No.
iv.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Shares some elements.


"There’s children throwing snowballs, instead of throwing heads, they’re busy building toys and absolutely no one’s dead." ~ Jack Skellington.

A variety of genres:  It is also a musical.
  • 4a.  Straight comedy - No.
  • 4b.  Bitter-sweet family drama-comedy - No.
  • 4c.  Animated fantasy (or puppets/muppets) - Stop-motion animation.
  • 4d.  Bible retelling - No.


"We take an oversized sock, and hang it like this on a wall." ~ Jack.
"Oh, yes! Does it still have a foot?" ~ Mr. Hyde.

One or more of the following will occur:
  • 5a.  Ugly Christmas sweaters - Surprisingly, no.
  • 5b.  Pulling Santa's beard - Surprisingly, no.
  • 5c.  Carolers are annoying - Surprisingly, no.
  • 5d.  Some kind of competition - Jack wants to do a better Christmas than Santa.
  • 5e.  Mistletoe - Surprisingly, no.


"I think he might be too big!" ~ Shock.
"No he's not. If he can fit down a chimney, he can fit down here." ~ Lock.

The following simple things are difficult, often comically so:
  • 6a.  Putting Up Christmas lights - Surprisingly, no.
  • 6b.  Not walking out after a fight with family - No.
  • 6c.  Last minute gift purchasing - No.
  • 6d.  Assembling Christmas gifts - Sort of, but in a very different way.
  • 6e.  Cooking - No.
  • 6f.  Attempts to get home for Christmas - No.
  • 6g.  Even a getting and putting up a Christmas tree can lead to disaster - Surprisingly, no.
  • 6h.  Other - Featured those unfamiliar with Christmas trying to replicate it.


"And I just can't wait until next Halloween
"'Cause I've got some new ideas that will really make them scream
"And by God, I'm really gonna give it all my might!" ~ Jack Skellington.

  • 7a.  Nativity/Little religion - A secular celebration.
  • 7b.  Accept non-Christians into the celebration -   About non-Christmas celebraters celebrating Christmas but religion doesn't come into it.
  • 7c.  An annoying overly religious person - Not covered.
  • 7d.  Angels - Yes, but as a cemetery statue.


"J-J-J-Jack! But they said you were dead. You must be - double dead!" ~ Oogie Boogie Man.

At least one of the following will happen:
  • 8a.  Snow There is snow.
  • 8b.  Grump-No-More - Dr Finkelstein finds makes love.
  • 8c.  Santa is Real - Just accepted the whole film.
  • 8d.  The Unexpected Extra Guest - Not really.
  • 8e.  Wisdom From an Unexpected Source - Possibly Sally.
  • 8f.  The Single Will Find Love - Jack realises that he loves Sally (who has had a crush on him the whole time.)


 "And sit together
"Now and forever.
"For it is plain
"As anyone can see
"We're simply meant to be." ~ Jack Skellington & Sally.

Will have a sickly sweet ending with a "The True Meaning of Christmas" message - especially:
  • 9a.  Family is the most important thing - Not really covered.
  • 9b.  Miracles are realNot really covered.
  • 9c.  It's the thought that counts - The premise of the film, but undermined a little by Santa's anger.
  • 9d.  Santa is real - A fantastic setting where this isn't really open to debate.
  • 9e.  Other - Stick with what you know?


"You’re jokin’, you’re jokin’!
"I can’t believe my ears!
"Would someone shut this fella up?
"I’m drownin’ in my tears!” ~ Oogie Boogie Man.

  • 10a.  No sequels - Disney was interested in doing a CGI sequel, but Burton was against the idea.  Some characters do appear in the game Kingdom Hearts.
  • 10b.  May be a sequel - Isn't a sequel.
  • 10c.  Remake - Isn't a remake.
  • 10d.  Adaptation - Tim Burton original wrote it as a poem: "The Nightmare Before Christmas."


"Just because I cannot see it, doesn't mean I can't believe it!" ~ Jack Skellington.

  • Rules that are followed in this film:  2, 4, 7, 8.
  • Rules that are partially followed, or not clear, in this film:  1, 3, 5, 9, 10.
  • Rules that are not followed in this film:  6.

~ DUG.

1 comment: