In quite frankly the freakiest animated children’s Christmas film, Tim Burton and Henry Selick have created the world of Halloweentown. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) is unlike any other Christmas film, especially when it contains Burton’s bizarre touch of creativity. Coming from a world of death and obscurity is the character Jack Skellington (Danny Elfman’s voice) “ infamous for being long and thin with a pumpkin shaped head. Life has become a bore, being dead and still ˜living’ means an eternity of doing the same thing, every day, for the rest of time.
Jack wonders day and night trying to find something new, whilst his fellow friends carry on living their peculiar lives. Until one day he comes across an area of Halloween town that is undiscovered, consisting of trees with doors. Curious he heads over to the Christmas tree door, something vivid and unusual he has never seen before. What follows is a twisted version of Alice In Wonderland in which he falls down a hole into another dimension, or holiday town. Christmas Town, unbeknown to him is completely different to anything he has experienced. Happy and festive with lights and laughter, instead of misery and depression, life is about to become interesting.
On arrival the snow and cheeriness of Christmas Town bewilders him, can people live in happiness this extreme? Is their hope for him? His heart begins to regain life again, and although he remains dead his attitude to life changes in that instant, his intrigued.
Set on a mission Jack returns to Halloweentown with the intent to discover what Christmas really means, what goes into creating it, and how it has come about? I sometimes wonder the same thing, it’s not a superfluous idea Burton has picked out of thin air. His friends soon begin to realise something has changed and want to understand Christmas too, as the idea spreads. Here in lies the problem; Halloweentown may not be ready for Jack’s interpretation of Christmas in the normal sense of the word and nor is the rest of the world.
Burton’s pure extraordinary talent at creating the unique and twisted is encompassed throughout The Nightmare Before Christmas. With a storyline so abnormally creepy for any child to comprehend, this Christmas film, despite being animated and a PG may only be for a certain type of child. A child similar to how me, that reveals in the weird and wonderful. The scenes and animations are frequently horrifying but also fantastic, exemplified with the musical elements that may seem out of place, but for Burton, are just standard.
The voice’s selected for the roles of The Nightmare Before Christmas’ characters such as Jack, Sally (his crush), The Mayor and all smaller creations, are equally distinctive and fitting which pulls the film together. When feelings of passion, sadness, happiness and anger need to be portrayed through that medium, a typical ˜Hollywood American accent’ would not suffice.