Saturday, October 25, 2014
The MONTH of HORROR - Day 25: The Nightmare Before Christmas
Revolutionary for the animation genre in the same way 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' was a few years before, 'Nightmare' debuted in the fall of 1993 to terrific reviews, hailing both Tim Burton, and director Henry Selick as true visionaries. We had seen stop-motion animation before but never quite like this, or on such a scale--it definitely threw mainstream audiences at first, and it wouldn't really catch on, and become the classic it is today until a few years later.
Our story takes place in the wonderfully realized world of Halloweentown. and our main character/hero is the tall, lanky, and tuxedo'd Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King. For 364 days out of the year, the locals are constantly preparing for the next big Halloween celebration by thinking up new ways of scaring each other, different methods of carving up pumpkins, and piecing together ghoulish costumes. The day after the latest Halloween event, Jack goes off for a long walk in an undiscovered wooded area where he finds a grove of trees with mysterious doors on them: an Easter egg, A four leaf clover, a turkey, and a decorated Christmas tree. Curious, Jack opens the Christmas door and is sucked into a whole other world full of glistening white snow, bright, colourful lights, cheery citizens, and a jolly old fat man dressed in red who seems to have the run of the town. When Jack Skellington decides that he wants to bring this "Christmas" to Halloweentown, everything goes awry, especially once Santa Claus is kidnapped, and the children in Christmastown receive severed heads instead of toy trains under their trees.
Probably a tad too scary for younger audiences due to some of the dark, and morbid subject matter, for everyone else though this is just an all around fantastic flick. It looks gorgeous, the animation is superb, the songs are memorable, and it zips along at a great pace. Best of all though is that it really makes you feel the spirit of Halloween, it envelops you in such a giddy, and celebratory way that once you're done watching, you'll immediately want to carve up a jack o' lantern!