As the spookiest season draws to a close, The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick addresses his debate over holiday movies. Every year, around mid-September, the country prepares for the holidays to come, with the two most important taking over from the last quarter of the year: Christmas and Halloween. It is during this period that films and specials are prepared for the occasion. With the passing of time, it’s a wonder anyone finds the time to catch their favorite Halloween movie or Christmas special in time before the end of the year. Fortunately, the classic by Henry Selick and Tim Burton, The Nightmare Before Christmas exists to fill two vacancies at once.
Premiere in October 1993, The Nightmare Before Christmas became an instant classic due to its animation and subversive plot about Halloween-loving townspeople deciding to take charge of the merry Christmas holiday. Although Disney gave the film a limited release, it became one of their most recognizable and memorable films in their long history. The Nightmare Before Christmas managed to squeeze out an entire franchise with a comic book adaptation, toys, video games, song covers, and plenty of inspired artwork from fans and professional artists alike. While the film continues to enjoy success years later, the question remains whether the film should be considered a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie, and now the man behind the stop-motion film produced by Burton shares his thoughts on the subject.
By speaking with ComicBook.comHenry Selick explained his take on the holiday movie debate surrounding The Nightmare Before Christmas. After directing it, he felt the film worked for both holidays, regardless of when it was appropriate to watch it, while also stating that most people seem to have their own idea of when to watch the film and what to watch. they managed to make a movie. which is suitable for both holidays. See Selick’s explanation below:
In the very beginning, when Tim Burton had this brainchild in the 80s at Disney, when it was going to be a half-hour stop-motion special, in the very beginning, I saw it as a mashup, that it’s both… Then afterwards, when we made the film as a feature film, I might have tended to answer in one direction, but I arrived at the initial feeling. It’s a mix. It is a perfect collision between these two vacations. So there is no better answer than both. It’s both, and it’s its own thing. It’s a big Halloween party that can last until Christmas.
How The Nightmare Before Christmas represents Christmas and Halloween
The Nightmare Before Christmas was designed by Tim Burton after watching store employees remove Halloween decorations and replace them with Christmas ones. The two clashing sets inspired him to write a poem that he pitched to Disney. He had planned to make either a short film or a TV special with narration by Vincent Price, but the idea stalled and Burton was fired. After finding success outside of Disney, he returned and this time was allowed to turn his idea into a feature film with Selick as the director. The film has become a holiday classic shared on both Halloween and Christmas.
While Burton and Selick are known for their grim tastes, they succeeded with The Nightmare Before Christmas as it perfectly captures the dark surreal essence of Halloween, but also the brightness and joy of Christmas. The fact that the film is enjoyed on both holidays is a testament to the time and attention the filmmakers devoted to depicting both times of the year. Burton and Selick have since went above and beyond working with Disneybut their contribution to the most twisted holiday flick will continue to intrigue new and old viewers as it’s available to stream on Disney+.