Nightmare Before Christmas: (reviewed on the podcast
back in September) Once upon a time, the Walt Disney company
didn't know what to do with Tim Burton. He toiled in the
animation department, creating the stop-motion short "Vincent"
and directing the live-action short "Frankenweenie," about
the descendant of Victor Frankenstein bringing his dog back
both those shorts proved problematic (though visionary)
for the then conservatively family-friendly company. So
Burton went over to Warner Brothers, where he hit the trifecta
with Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice
lured him back, and this stop-motion epic, based on a poem
Burton wrote as a young man. Directed by Henry Selick but
chock-full of Burton's sensibility, this movie tells of
the time the Lord of Halloween, Jack Skellington, tried
to take over Christmas.
and a tad disturbing (in a good way), The Nightmare Before
Christmas straddles both holidays neatly. The only real
drawback is that composer Danny Elfman struggled to turn
this into a kind of operetta, and thus doesn't really show
off the great melodic sense he had with Oingo Boingo.
Of course, Jack
Skellington became pretty popular as a licensed character,
and now every year he invades Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.
The Anniversary Edition DVD released last month includes
a tour of Jack's version, which can be watched with the
ride's soundtrack, or with the Imagineers' commentary. Then
you can watch a featurette explaining the design work that
goes into it.
That alone makes
this a worthy purchase for me, but if you already have an
edition of this, Disney doesn't offer much else new. As
in their laser disc release many years ago, the set includes
"Vincent" and "Frankenweenie." The commentary and featurettes
on Burton and Selick, too, are recycled from earlier releases.
Since Burton's idol Vincent Price has passed on, the last
remaining horror giant Christopher Lee reads the original
poem, which is kind of cool.
So if you're
having a slight post-Trick or Treat letdown, pop this one
in and remember that it can still be a Black Christmas between
now and Black Friday.
Nightmare Before Christmas (2-Disc Collector's Edition +