If you’ve been reading along with me this month, then you are aware that I have mentioned my college experience with animation. I studied a lot of stop motion. Made a lot of stop motion animations. The film that started that obsession is “The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Fun fact: Tim Burton didn’t actually direct this film. He helped write it, but didn’t direct it. Henry Selick was credited with directing this masterpiece. He also directed “Coraline” and “James and the Giant Peach” as well as did the animation of the creatures in “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou” directed by Wes Anderson.
“Nightmare Before Christmas” tells the story of Jack Skellington who has grown tired of the same old Halloween holidays. He stumbles across Christmas Town and decides he wants to be Santa Clause for that year. As you would expect, this is a complete disaster.
The characters of Halloween Town turn the Christmas holiday into a gothic nightmare complete with toys that attack the children after Jack delivers them. Jack realizes his error and puts Santa back on the job but not before finding renewed enthusiasm for Halloween. There’s love too, of course, and a villain by the name of Oogie Boogie.
As far as animation goes, you won’t find anything better in the stop motion department. Stylistically, it’s true Tim Burton. Dark, gothic settings and characters who also happen to have a lot of heart and often a sense of irony. It is a kids movie so there are musical numbers but they are the kind you want to sing along to. These things are why this film has such a cult following.
Voice talents include Chris Sarandon (Princess Bride and Child’s Play), Catherine Ohara (Home Alone, Beetlejuice, Schitt’s Creek), and Paul Reubens (if you’re my age and you need explanation as to who this is, you failed as an 80’s child).
I could continue talking about this all night, but I’ll let you watch it for yourself. It’s pretty spectacular. It also doubles as a Halloween movie so you have twice the reason to watch it now.