Yep, you guessed it! Another holiday movie for you today as we creep closer and closer to Christmas. (Did I mention I have a LOT of holiday favorites?) Today's film is actually the one Christmas film it's okay to start watching at Halloween, but I usually wait til now because what is Christmas in my house without...Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993)!
"Nightmare," the great stop-motion animation tale, tells the story of Jack Skellington, the king of Halloweentown. After another successful Halloween, Jack wanders out into the forest and comes across a set of fancy doors, one for each holiday. He accidentally falls through the Christmastown door and discovers a world (and holiday) completely unlike his own. So on his return to Halloweentown, he decides to take over Christmas this year and be "Sandy Claws" himself. Will Christmas survive this town's idea of joy? Will the real Santa survive the evil Oogie Boogie?
Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." While he was an animator at Disney in the 80s (yep, that's right. Burton, the Goth king, used to work for Disney), he wrote a three-page poem entitled "The Nightmare Before Christmas." After the success of his first two shorts "Vincent" and "Frankenweenie," the studio sought to make the poem into another short or television special. But it never got off the ground, and Burton left Disney when his disillusionment in the studio he grew up wanting to be a part of grew to its peak. He then went on to his own success with "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure," "Batman," "Beetlejuice," and "Edward Scissorhands." Yet he never forgot about his "Nightmare" idea and, in 1990, decided to ask for the rights back from Disney (all creative ideas imagined while working at Disney become Disney property). Luckily, Jeffrey Katzenberg was running the studio at the time and, being a Burton fan, agreed to finance a film version under the Disney banner.
Batman Returns" at the time. He then hired Michael McDowell, his collaborator with "Beetlejuice," to write the script. Unfortunately, they had creative problems, so Burton focused instead on the music first with his constant composer Danny Elfman. McDowell was then replaced by Caroline Thompson, and the team was set. As for casting, Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdink himself) was cast as the speaking voice of Jack. (Chris didn't like the way he sang, so Danny Elfman did the singing for Jack.) Catherine O'Hara was hired for Sally and Shock after working with Burton before on "Beetlejuice." Paul Reubens played Lock. And William Hickey played mad scientist Dr. Finklestein.
The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge").
So, wake up your inner child and enjoy the beautiful animation of the holiday classic "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Have a wonderful week, everyone! Be back Friday with some more great films.
(Post-tidbit: In the final scene, when the vampires are playing ice hockey, instead of using the pumpkin you see for their puck, they used to be playing with Tim Burton's severed head.)
(Post-post-tidbit: Originally there was narration at both the beginning and end of the film, and it was recorded by Sir Patrick Stewart. Unfortunately that recording didn't make it to the final flick, but you can still hear it on the soundtrack.)