It’s usually quite simple to figure out which holiday a film is representing. However, one film has long perplexed a lot of viewers.
People watch the stop-motion animated classic film by Tim Burton and Henry Selick in both October and December.
But what event does it depict? Is the nightmare before Christmas a Halloween movie?
Indeed, the film is set in Halloween Town. Also, it features a skeleton named The Pumpkin King as the major character.
There’s also the notion that he has a ghost dog. On the other hand, there are witches and, of course, Oogie Boogie, a sack full of snakes with some torture chamber.
But things are not as simple as they seem. The entire film revolves around Christmas. It is set in Christmas Town in the run-up to Christmas.
Even the title of the film contains the word “Christmas.”
The question remains, is the nightmare before Christmas a Halloween movie? So, let’s begin with the film’s basic plot. It’s the same routine every year in Halloween Town.
On Halloween, monsters emerge and terrify the living crap out of the town.
After Halloween night, Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king, is tired of the notion and starts wandering into the woods with his dog Zero.
He discovers a field of woods with many doorways signifying various festivals at the crack of dawn. The Christmas tree door catches his eye.
Upon entering the world of Christmas, Jack falls in love with this new concept of Christmas. He then feels compelled to share it with the residents of Halloween Town.
Moving on, The Nightmare Before Christmas has been as well-received in October as it has in December.
This results in prompting some viewers to ask which of the two holidays the film portrays more.
With that in mind, let’s dig deeper into both points of view—one defending Halloween and the other explaining why it’s a Christmas film.
Keep reading to know that is the nightmare before Christmas a Halloween movie?
It’s a Christmas movie
It’s true that Jack Skellington, the story’s principal hero and “Pumpkin King,” is from Halloween town, yet their entire trip revolves around Christmas.
When Jack first arrives in Christmas Town, the majesty of the season overwhelms him. He loves the Christmas spirit, which he can explain.
Also, he immediately wants to return to Halloween Town to spread seasonal joy and share everything he saw.
He intends to take over Christmas himself. Despite his irrational inclinations, he gathers a team of reindeer, dons a red costume and a fake beard (just like Santa Claus), and flies all around the world giving gifts.
To crown it off, Santa Claus makes a little appearance in the film and showers Halloween Town with the first winter snowfall.
It’s a Halloween movie
Sure, the film has a lot of Christmas aspects in it. Jack Skellington spends a significant amount of the film attempting to scientifically determine the meaning of Christmas.
However, it is a Halloween film. It takes place mostly within Halloween Town rather than Christmas Town.
Also, the aesthetic of the film is suitably scary. It’s more Halloween-themed than Christmas-themed.
Halloween is a day for people to accept themselves. It’s about embracing death and rejoicing in life. It’s also about dressing up to pretend to be someone else for a night.
Well, this may appear to be the polar opposite of self-acceptance, but costumes often represent the person wearing it. It can educate you and offer you something about yourself.
Jack dons the Santa Claus costume since he no longer wants to be the Pumpkin King. He aspired to be someone different. However, his efforts to bring Christmas to the public prove to be a fail.
Jack realizes that he is exactly the person he was born to be and that striving to be somebody else will not give him what he wants. This also makes him feel good about himself.
In the end, Jack seemed to have given up on his ambitions to transform Halloween Town into a Christmas-themed version of the town. He appreciates his community’s individuality and strangeness.
Also, he thoroughly embraces Halloween in all of its spooky and horrific beauty.
During a conversation at Colorado’s Telluride Horror Show film festival in 2017, director Selick explicitly said, “it’s a Halloween movie.”
He said that, if you ask the filmmakers, the film is about Halloween. It’s about the individuals who celebrate it, as well as how they respond to events such as Christmas.
The composer Danny Elfman told USA Today, “It’s definitely about Christmas, but for me, it’s a Halloween movie.” Additionally, the film’s premiere date is October 29th.
This adds to the notion that the initial intention was to be appreciated largely as a Halloween treat. This answers the question: is the nightmare before Christmas a Halloween movie?
The Bottom Line
It is a fact that the film revolves around Christmas too. But, the film’s tone, graphics, and end indicate that it is a Halloween film. But what if you want to watch it during the holidays? No one is going to stop you now, are they?