Jack Skellington orders the kidnapping of Santa Claus from Christmas Town so that he can perform Santa’s holiday duties himself. Photo/TNS
By: Alyssa Hernandez, Managing Editor
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” may be 28 years old, but it has amassed a cult following since its release in October of 1993. The film’s director, Henry Selick, has stood by the idea that “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a Halloween film, although debate grows among fans.
Is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? We launched an Instagram poll for followers of the Pine Needle to find out.
Fifty-two percent of participants said “Nightmare” is a Christmas movie, and the remainder said it’s a Halloween movie.
The movie was produced by critically acclaimed film maker Tim Burton. It was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Visual Effects at the Academy Awards.
“My sister and I have this debate every Halloween. I think the debate stems from the title itself of Nightmare and Christmas,” said UNCP junior Jamari Cradle, who contends it is a Halloween movie.
There are many elements throughout the movie that are often associated with Halloween. The movie starts in Halloween Town, where the character Jack Skellington is the Pumpkin King.
He has a ghost dog named Zero, and we see many other common horror-related characters. One example would be Sally, who is stitched together in a way that resembles Frankenstein’s monster.
The story takes place right after Halloween has ended, and the first song the characters sing is “This is Halloween.”
“I think it’s a Halloween movie because it’s usually presented around the time of Halloween,” junior Michaela Tisdale said. The movie was originally released on Oct. 29, 1993.
Jack Skellington eventually goes for a walk into a place called the Hinterlands, where he sees other holidays. He is drawn to Christmas and goes through the door. He sings “What’s This?” as he finds snow and presents.
He goes back to Halloween Town excited with the idea of Christmas. He tries to figure out what it is by experimenting with Christmas elements. These elements include wreaths, candy canes and teddy bears. He fails to figure out what Christmas is. Jack goes as far as to referring to Santa Claus as “Sandy Claws” throughout the film.
“I think it is a Christmas movie because the concepts of Christmas are emphasized throughout the movie to all of the characters,” junior Brookelyn Johnson said. “Even though the movie starts off and ends in the Halloween realm, the fuzzy feelings of Christmas are still seen throughout the entire movie.”
Jack Skellington then decides to take over Christmas. He has all the residents help him. He has dead reindeers and Zero pull his sled. They use dead trees as Christmas trees. He even has three residents successfully kidnap Santa.
Considering you can watch “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on demand if you have Disney+, you don’t have to take a cue from broad casters as to whether it’s best viewed in October or December.