If you’re reading this, then you’re probably a fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas. You’ve seen the film a million and one times. You own all the merchandise – the egg cups, the cereal bowls, the Christmas tree decorations, the underpants – and you can probably quote the film line for line. But do you know everything there is to know? You think so?
Well, it’s time to test your knowledge as we bring you 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Growing up in Burbank, California meant that it was pretty difficult to tell the difference between one season and another. For Tim Burton, the easiest way to tell what time of year it was was to look at what decorations were being sold in shops. Because, presumably Burton’s family didn’t own calendars.
In the DVD commentary, Burton claims he got the original idea for The Nightmare Before Christmas after noticing how the Halloween and Christmas decorations seemingly melded into one, as keen business owners continued selling items from October in December, at a discounted rate.
Although everyone credits Tim Burton as the man behind The Nightmare Before Christmas, it wasn’t actually directed by him. Henry Selick, the man behind James and the Giant Peach, was actually in charge of the production, and is the person responsible for Jack Skellington’s iconic attire. In early sketches, Jack wore a plain black suit, but all but disappeared into the background during shots. Selick added the pinstripe effect to counteract this, and thus a legend was born.
Many of you reading this will be all too familiar with Jack Skellington’s cameo appearance in James and the Giant Peach, but did you know he also turns up in Selick’s other movie Coraline? We’re not going to tell you where though. See if you can spot him for yourself, and let us know in the comments. Oh, and he’s in Beetlejuice too!
Tim Burton’s hero, and horror icon, Vincent Price was actually supposed to lend his famous tones to the character of Santa Claus. This all changed, though, when his long time partner Coral Browne passed away, leaving the actor too grief stricken to perform.
Joining Price on the cut list is Patrick Stewart. Stewart recorded opening narration, which never made it into the finished film. He can be heard on the original soundtrack though, so go give it a listen.
Did you know that instead of a jack-o-lantern, the ice-skating vampires were actually supposed to be playing hockey with the decapitated head of Tim Burton? Deemed too gruesome an idea for Disney, the scene was re-shot and Burton’s cameo was lost to the ages.
Long time Burton collaborator, Danny Elfman, was a little luckier though. He can be seen as a corpse hidden inside an instrument, played by the Halloween Town band.
When Oogie Boogie’s plan – and body – begins to unravel, he is quickly reduced to a pile of creepy crawly bugs. But did you know that there was actually a version in which Boogie’s body fell apart only to reveal he was actually Dr. Finkelstein in disguise? The deranged, wheelchair bound quack had sabotaged Jack’s plan as revenge for having stolen the affections of Sally, Finkelstein’s long-legged creation.
It goes without saying that the residents of Halloween Town are not of this world, but can you believe there are actually groups out there on the good old internet who devote their time coming up with possible ways Jack, Sally, et al met their demise? Some believe that Sally’s repeated talk of visions suggests she was tried and executed as a witch, while others believe the Pumpkin King himself was burned alive.
Perhaps the most convincing, though, is that of Dr. Finkelstein, who many believe died from poisoning, hence Sally’s failed attempts to off the old git.
If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t visit Halloween Town at Disneyland, blame Tim Burton. Apparently plans were drawn up for a Nightmare Before Christmas ride, but Burton nixed it.
To call The Nightmare Before Christmas a cult film would be complete nonsense. It’s HUGE. Teenage girls and adults of a certain age worship the damn thing. Sadly, though, none of these super fans bothered to go to the cinema upon its release. In fact, by today’s standards, the movie was a moderate flop,. It grossed a large amount of its $76 million total box office on subsequent, modern day re-releases.
Henry Selick has confirmed that The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie. So, I guess that’s the debate over. But for us, it will always be an essential part of any Christmas movie line-up!
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