As the spooky season approaches, I — like many who no longer go out to trick or treat — sit in front of my TV watching Halloween movies while downing a 75-piece chocolate box.
There are several movies in my rotation, my favorites being “The Witches” and “The Shining.” There are also several Halloween-specific movies like “Hocus Pocus” and “Halloween.”
However, one Halloween movie stands head and shoulders above the rest: “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”Yes. You read that right. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a Halloween movie!
Tim Burton’s stop-motion musical fantasy directed by Henry Selick originally released in 1993 stands the test of time. The audience follows Jack Skellington, the uninterested Pumpkin King of Halloween Town who ventures away to Christmas Town to rekindle their inspiration. Though I may not dive too deep into the plot of the movie, I highly recommend you watch this movie before continuing any further! For those who believe “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a Christmas movie, why? Because Christmas is in the title? Because there is Sandy Claws? These surface-level comparisons are just that, surface level.
The title also has “Nightmare,” the movie features all protagonists as popular Halloween icons. By simply watching the movie during Christmas, you can feel that it does not fit with the vibes of the festival. There are several songs that feature Christmas, but it is almost always presented in a dark manner. Furthermore, there is a track titled “This Is Halloween” on the soundtrack. The creepy, dark and dour imagery and tones tied to this movie strictly embrace those found during Halloween. From kidnapping Sandy Claws to shooting down skeletal reindeer, this is a stark contrast to Christmas classics — yet feel on-brand for a tradition based on fear of the unknown.
It should also be noted that the movie was released on Oct. 29, 1993; which, incidentally is two days before Halloween.
Like all other marketing that is put into movies, even the release date is significant to a movie’s rollout.
Having such a close release date to Halloween hints at the connection and implies that Disney agreed with the Halloween movie sentiment.
If this isn’t enough, Selick chimed in at the Telluride Horror Show in 2015 stating, “Oh boy, it’s a Halloween movie.”
For all those who still believe this Halloween classic is a Christmas movie, please look inward.
Are you sure you just wished it was Halloween during Christmas? I don’t blame you, I love Halloween more than Christmas too, but you don’t need a false excuse like calling this masterpiece a Christmas movie just to watch it later.
If you watch the movie near Christmas, all power to you, but recognize this movie is a Halloween movie littered with Christmas, not the other way around.
As a collective, we have deep pockets of high-caliber Christmas movies.
Why further saturate the list with movies that barely relate to the event?
When you choose to compare “The Nightmare Before Christmas” with classics like “Rudolph,” an injustice is done to both wonderful movies that should be watched at least once a year.
The Halloween catalog is restricted to a few key, popular, names and several movies with small cult-like followings.
Since children are normally preoccupied with other activities on Halloween, they lose out on some of the best films provided by this festival and would never find it if it keeps getting grouped and paired with Christmas classics.
There should be no debate that “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a Halloween movie. If you disagree with this sentiment, just be honest with yourself and rewatch this movie, please. I promise you by all aspects, this is a Halloween movie through and through.