“This is Halloween, this is Halloween, pumpkins scream in the dead of night.” sing the mummies, skeletons and fellow monsters in the world of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. After watching the film for the first time, I can’t tell where the confusion lies - it is clearly a Halloween movie, not a Christmas one. The Nightmare Before Christmas follows Jack Skellington, Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, who has grown tired of frightening “the real world” with the same old tricks. When he stumbles upon Christmas Town, he attempts to kidnap Santa Claus and merge the two towns under his rule. I wanted to write this for you to clear the air - The Nightmare Before Christmas *is* a Halloween movie and here are five reasons why:
The film was released on Wednesday, October 13 of 1993
Coincidence? The film was released on October 13, a date just as spooky as the actual date of Halloween, October 31. The two dates being the inverse of each other, the fact that both the release date and the Holiday are both in the month of October, and how the film just *happened* to be released just in time for Halloween proves that The Nightmare Before Christmas is the perfect Halloween movie.
The main character is a skeleton
First thing’s first, if the film was a Christmas film, the main character would be an elf who’s called “Snowflake King”, rather than a “Pumpkin King.” Even the supporting characters are the mummies, skeletons, ghosts and other monsters from Halloween.
For example Sally is a humanoid ragdoll. She can sew herself together and can detach parts of her body, similar to Frankenstein. She is made by Dr. Finkelstein, a mad scientist who is a resident of Halloween Town. Then, there is Jack’s ghost puppy, Zero. Even the Mayor of Halloween Town is a two-faced humanoid. There are no humans to be found in Halloween Town.
Halloween is taking over Christmas, Christmas is not taking over Halloween.
To make this a Christmas film, it would make more sense for the plot to be how Christmas took over Halloween, “The Pre-Halloween Scare” where Santa’s elves are helping him plot to kidnap Jack and crown himself “Holiday King”. Because the main characters are all from Halloween Town, they make the film what it is.
In the song titled “Poor Jack,” Jack finally came to his senses and is starting to question why he ever attempted to take over Christmas Town in the first place. “I am Pumpkin King, I am Pumpkin King, ha ha ha and I just can’t wait until next Halloween,” he sings as he is also declaring that he has some new ideas to scare the real world. Clearly, Jack’s love for Halloween exceeds his want for Christmas Town. He comes to terms with his mistakes, and releases Santa back to Christmas Town. A true King.
The color hue of the film says it all
From the beginning of the film, the main color palette used are shades of black, yellow, orange, purple, white and green, aka, the colors of Halloween. We see the hue lighten a little when Christmas Town is first introduced - when it is untouched by Halloween Town.
Once Halloween Town begins its Christmas Town takeover, even the Christmas lights begin to dim. If this was a Christmas movie, the color hue of the scenes would be brighter and more cheery, especially in Halloween Town once Christmas begins to take over - it wouldn’t be so doom and gloom.
The film’s director says it is a Halloween movie.
Lastly, Director Henry Sellick told Entertainment Weekly that it is indeed a Halloween movie. If the film’s director says it is a Halloween movie, then it must be.
All these factors add up to equal the perfect Halloween movie. From the song, “This is Halloween,” to humanoid ragdolls, ghost puppies and skeletons, you are sure to have a frighteningly good time watching this film. So grab your popcorn and candy, throw on your pjs, and watch The Nightmare Before Christmas as a part of your Halloween movie watchlist. In the words of Jack Skellington, “I am so excited for Halloween”.
Feature photo from IMBd