For anyone who knows Tim Burton, this stop animation musical is one of his greatest films and helped him become a household name. If you haven’t seen it – do yourself a favour and do!
The nightmare before Christmas was released in 1993 by Touchstone Pictures and was one of the first full length stop-motion animated features.
The plot takes place in Halloween Town which is a dream world filled with dark creatures such as monsters, ghosts, ghouls, goblins, vampires, werewolves and witches. The Pumpkin King, named Jack Skellington, leads them in a frightful celebration every Halloween, but he has grown tired of the same routine year after year. Wandering in the forest outside the town centre with his ghost dog, Zero, he finds a cluster of trees each with a door which represents a certain annual holiday. Jack is drawn to the tree with the Christmas tree-shaped door and opens it which leads to a portal to “Christmas Town”. Jack falls in love with the idea of Christmas and tries to understand it and break it down into its physical components so as to take Christmas in Halloween town. However he becomes frustrated when he cannot seem to figure it out. The story continues as he goes through a variety of steps to get Christmas on the go.
Of course there is also a love story involved in this tale and our main female roll belongs to Sally, a rag doll woman who was created by the town’s mad scientist. She has romantic feelings towards Jack, however, while she is alone, she had a premonition of Jack’s Christmas ending badly. She tries to warn him but he misinterprets her warning.
The film took about 2 years to be created and the filmmakers constructed 227 puppets to represent the characters in the movie, with Jack Skellington having around four hundred heads, allowing the expression of every possible emotion. Sally had ten types of faces, each made with a series of eleven expressions (e.g. eyes open and closed, and various facial poses). One can only imagine the time demands of this type of feature.
Of course all the other characters had their fair share of faces too. The bogeyman makes an appearance and so does Santa Claus so although this is no children’s film as it plays a little on the dark side it is a must see film.
This is a link to the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bz2Ho62dVr0.