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Stop-Motion Animation: The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas is based on Tim Burton's poem of the same title. He was inspired when he saw some Halloween merchandise in a store being replaced by Christmas displays. Let's take a look at this holiday stop-motion animation.

image via Jr 1990

It was late one fall in Halloweenland,
and the air had quite a chill.
Against the moon a skeleton sat,
alone upon a hill.
He was tall and thin with a bat bow tie;
Jack Skellington was his name.
He was tired and bored in Halloweenland…

The lines above were taken from Tim Burton’s poem The Nightmare Before Christmas. He originally wanted to direct the stop-motion movie himself but at the time of shooting, he was also pre-occupied with another movie that he was directing, Batman Returns. He produced and co-wrote the script for the movie and Henry Selick got on board to direct it. Tim Burton wrote the poem back in the 1980’s when he was still an animator for Disney. In 1990, he made a deal with Walt Disney Pictures to turn his poem into a full-length film.

The Nightmare Before Christmas tells the story of Jack Skellington, The Pumpkin King and leader of Halloween Town. Every year, Jack Skellington makes sure that everyone experiences a frightful Halloween. However, he has grown tired of doing the same thing every year so he decides to recreate what he sees in Christmas Town. He presents this idea to the townsfolk but they fail to see the true meaning of Christmas. In the end, Santa Clause patches things up with Jack Skellington.

To read Tim Burton’s full poem, visit Tim Burton Collective

Film Facts

  • There were 227 puppets used for the film.
  • The Jack Skellington puppet had more or less 400 heads so that they could work with the character’s emotion.
  • In the poem, there were only 3 characters — Jack Skellington, Zero and Santa Clause.
  • To create the twisted look, the design team used their non-dominant hand to draw the sketches.
  • A crew of about a hundred people worked for 3 years in order to complete the movie.
  • A second of film footage consisted of 12 stop-motion moves.

Here’s a look at the film’s trailer:

If you enjoyed this article, there are more articles that you can read from the Stop-Motion series

The information for this article was taken from IMDB – The Nightmare Before Christmas, Wikipedia – The Nightmare Before Christmas, AMCTV and Neatorama

If you have videos with similar feel (stop motion animations, Super 8 clips & films, and other videos with analogue vibe), you may share them to the community. Head on to this month’s Requested Posts, take a look at our Guidelines for Submissions, and get Piggy Points while you’re at it!

written by jeanmendoza

1 comment

  1. 110isnotdead

    110isnotdead

    Cool article, this is one of my favorite film ever.

    about 2 years ago · report as spam

Read this article in another language

This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Spanish.