Ben Oliver

Banner image for The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas

I am the shadow on the moon at night, filling your dreams to the brim with fright.
31 October 2015

‘tis the season so I thought it was probably a good time to catch up with this one at last.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is an enchanting trifecta of Tim Burton’s signature Gothic style and wit, Henry Selick’s talent for stop-motion animation and Danny Elfman’s whimsical score.

Burton and Selick take us on an imaginative journey through Christmas and Halloween. The sets are fantastic and it’s clear that rather than just being a quick holiday money-grab, this is a film made with a lot of love and care. There’s nods to lots of films and styles here but I most appreciated the liberal borrowing from those creepy German expressionist silent pictures.

I’m not a fan of musicals though, and this is not really an exception. The tone and pace wore me out, and the film is only 70 minutes long!

Objectively, this is one of Burton’s better works (although he didn’t direct); I’m just not quite as personally enthralled by it as many seem to be.

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