The Nightmare Before Christmas: scary or merry?


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The 1993 film “The Nightmare Before Christmas” features the holidays Christmas and Halloween. Many wonder what time of year is appropriate to watch the Tim Burton classic.

Julia Hubbell, Staff Reporter

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas tells the story of Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king, losing interest in the spookiness of halloween, and trying to recreate Christmas within Halloween Town. The bizarre characters, lively songs and intriguing story made my viewing experience very pleasant. With citizens of Halloween Town singing “Jingle Bells” and making gifts (albeit with an unintentional scariness), the movie has pieces of both Halloween and Christmas. Though some may argue that the film was made for Halloween, I believe the tone of the movie is much more centered around the joy and spirit of Christmas.

Despite the movie’s release being in October, the Halloween-centered part of the film consists mainly in the opening scenes. The moment that Jack discovers Christmas Town is when the film shifts the focus to Christmas. For the remainder of the film, we see the citizens working to fix Christmas. The movie shows the audience symbols and items, as well as the spirit that the Christmas holiday encompasses. The messages of excitement and love are more fitting for Christmas than the fright and eerie ambiance surrounding Halloween. Had the movie been centered around Halloween, there would have been more dark songs, with a focus on Jack’s evil plans. Instead, we see Jack’s good intention for creating an enjoyable Christmas.

Even the tone of the movie shifts when focused on each holiday. During the song “Jack’s Lament,” the audience sees that Jack is becoming increasingly bored with Halloween, longing for a new exciting holiday. Shortly after, Jack discovers Christmas Town and the longing tone dissipates. He exclaims his fondness of the holiday through multiple songs, each with an upbeat and joyful tone. Though both holidays are represented, Christmas is clearly painted as the more exciting and prominent of the two.

Although some still prefer to think of the movie as a spooky classic, the film points towards Christmas. So whether you enjoy the movie surrounded by pumpkins and ghost décor, or next to a Christmas tree with a hot cocoa, the story of Jack Skellington sets the perfect holiday mood of your choosing.