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The Cardinal Column

The Cardinal Column

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Revisiting this Classic Halloween Movie
1993 The Nightmare Before Christmas poster

By: Liz Villa

Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” has been a staple Halloween movie for many families since its release in 1993. This stop-motion musical film was directed by Henry Selick and produced by the famous Tim Burton, who is known for his dark fantasy films that are always perfect for the Halloween season.

In the story, we follow the antagonist, Jack Skellington, on his journey of self-discovery, as he gets bored of Halloween Town, which has been his home for as long as he’s been dead. He earned his title “The Pumpkin King” and rules this realm as he oversees every aspect of Halloween and makes sure it goes smoothly and scarily for everyone around the world.

However, once he stumbles upon Christman Town, he strives to fill the world with happiness, rather than terror. He switches screams for stockings in his attempt to take over the holiday, despite his Halloween Town citizens’ lack of understanding of the joyous holiday.

The stop-motion animation of this film is extremely detailed, which is immensely difficult to do, especially due to the limited resources they had in the 90’s. Sally, the love interest of Jack, who is a poorly made ragdoll, must be sewn together after falling or suffering an “injury.” Selick’s expertise on stop-motion was clearly used during every scene when Sally had to stitch herself back together, as we could see every stitch and, in some scenes, even see her sew herself together again. 

The animation also remained very smooth throughout the film, no matter how fast-paced the scenes were, especially during the scene where Jack is flying through the air on his sleigh.

Burton’s stylistic design choices are noticeable in any movie he does, always having dark, twisted details, while also remaining somewhat family friendly. Burton’s details include swirly designs in nature, which can be seen in “The Nightmare Before Christmas” during the scenes in the graveyard, where there is a large hill with a swirled tip that can extend to let Jack walk across, as well as around the entire Halloween world.

Overall, this is a wonderful movie, which is perfect for the Halloween season and is wonderfully festive through its spooky, dark plot and its creepy animation style.

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About the Contributor
Liz Villa, Senior Journalist
Liz Villa is a 10th grader at GHS. She is very involved in after-school theater and Journalism and has recently been accepted as a Cappie. Her hobbies include making jewelry, talking to her friends, and writing. She loves school and is hoping to go to university to continue to study Journalism. She hopes to make a living doing what she loves and is very blessed to have her family who supports her.
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