by Eva Quattrocchi

“Boys and girls of every age, wouldn’t you like to see something strange? Come with us and you will see, this our town of Halloween!”

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a holiday classic that captures the spirit of Halloween and Christmas and is a treat to watch with the family on either day. The unique story and imagery make it a trademark Tim Burton film, and is actually based on a poem written by the iconic director himself. Danny Elfman created the soundtrack and that alone gives an example of the quality to be expected from the film. All of the songs are clever and catchy, and easily memorable for anyone who wants to sing along. Surprisingly there is no traditional Christmas music other than one interpretation of “Jingle Bells”, and the spooky background music is almost whimsical. Several revised soundtracks have been released since the movie, and they are all incredible, doing justice to the film while adding a modern twist.

The basic plot of the film is about Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king and ruler of Halloween town, who is bored with his holiday and looking for inspiration. When he accidentally stumbles across Christmas town, he decides to take over the jolly holiday and chaos ensues. It’s easy to imagine the horrors that would be created if Halloween was mashed together with Christmas. Although they are only a month apart, the history and tradition of each holiday could not be more opposite. One of the best parts of this movie is the incredible detail. Halloween town is dark, gloomy and full of shadows. The characters have stitches, tentacles, fangs and slime, and yet their spooky antics make them loveable. The angles and lines etched into every scene add texture and depth, and the facial expressions and movements of each character are nothing short of incredible. Christmas town is quite the contrast with its sparkling snow and bright and vivid color. Christmas lights actually reflect a glow off of windows and snow, and everything looks cozy and joyful. The crunch of snow and sounds of working elves in the background add to the complexity of each scene. The creators held nothing back; it truly is an inspiring place, and it’s easy to share Jack’s wonder and delight.

Despite the ghosts and ghouls, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is far from scary and I recommend it to all ages. It is full of great lessons and brings back a forgotten joy of what the holidays are all about. Its original and unique story and soundtrack earn it a 5 out of 5 turtles and make it a must-have for every movie enthusiast’s collection. Order the special edition from your local Slackers to see the making of and behind-the-scenes of this wonderful movie! You get to hear from Tim Burton, Danny Elfman, the director and other creators as they explain the extent of what went into the film. Also included is the original poem by Tim Burton, read by the famous Christopher Lee. The latest revised soundtrack is also available for order with the original songs re-sung by artists such as Marilyn Manson, Plain White T’s, and All American Rejects. Grab these holiday classics today and start your own spooky tradition. Check out other “Nightmare Before Christmas” inspired merchandise as well, such as toys, posters and even board games, to complete your collection this holiday season!