Catherine O Hara
But it’s time for a change—and Jack (voice of Chris Sarandon) is the man to bring about that change. After stumbling upon a portal (read: tree) that leads to Christmas Town—which you’d imagine to be a nightmare of hellish proportions for Jack—he discovers his longing for candy canes and snowflakes. And thus, the plan to unify Halloween and Christmas into one big holiday. The plan involves kidnapping “Sandy Claws” (Santa Claus), posing as jolly old St. Nick, and with skeleton reindeer, deliver “treats” to the children of Christmas Town.
Rankin & Bass (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Year Without Santa Claus) may still reign as the go-to creators for animated holiday specials, but once this generation of suits step down from their thrones, The Nightmare Before Christmas will air at 8pm every December, and the fear of rejection and the common cold will be replaced by Oogie Boogie and vampire teddy bears!
Rightfully so, if you ask me; the stop-motion animation used for Nightmare is so carefully planned and skillfully executed, it set new precedent for the animated feature. It’s a film so peculiar and so rare that we didn’t see another like it until 2005’s Corpse Bride, also manned by Tim Burton. Receiving directing credit here is Henry Selick, but Nightmare is producer Burton’s film, with his gothic style and signatures bursting at the seams, including toe-tapping music (and lyrics) by frequent collaborator Danny Elfman.
The world Burton and his team create is like nothing ever seen on screen, though it takes some architectural tips from the German Expressionism masters. Every building, from Dr. Finklestein’s lair to Jack’s tower, seems to be askew. And the characters that inhabit these surroundings, from the stitched-up love interest Sally (voice of Catherine O’Hara) to the Clown with the Tear-Away Face, are just as off-kilter.
Just as Toy Story was the blueprint for the new age of computer animation, The Nightmare Before Christmas was the blueprint for the dying stop-motion form…but Toy Story has been topped.
Commentary by Producer Tim Burton, Director Henry Selick, and Composer Danny Elfman: Unfortunately, three separate tracks are combined to create this commentary, so we don’t get to experience the chemistry between the trio. However, each contributor is enthusiastic in sharing stories on production, evolution of the songs, and worlds more during the film’s short running time.
What’s This? Jack’s Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour divides itself into two parts: On Track (7:13) puts the viewer into a seat on the Disney amusement ride The Haunted [Holiday] Mansion, dressed up every October-January to honor The Nightmare Before Christmas (an optional trivia track is available). Off Track (37:22) goes behind-the-scenes of the attraction’s creation, with contributors sharing stories and pointing out secrets for each room in the mansion, along with other interesting tidbits.
Tim Burton’s Original Poem Narrated by Christopher Lee (10:57): Following an introduction by Burton, Lee gives an eerie reading of the poem over Burton’s original illustrations.
The Making of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (24:41): Divided into six parts (‘The Beginning,’ ‘Music,’ ‘Storyboards,’ ‘Art Direction,’ ‘Puppets,’ ‘Animation’), this making-of featurette covers most of the production’s aspects and the painstaking process of stop-motion animation. Interviews and behind-the-scenes footage are included.
Frankenweenie (30:01): Burton’s 1984 homage to the classic Frankenstein story, with a bull terrier as the Monster. Co-starring Daniel Stern and Shelley Duvall.
Vincent (5:52): Burton’s 1982 stop-motion short, with Vincent Price as narrator.
Deleted Scenes: With comments from Tim Burton, storyboards (2:53) for three scenes and four animated sequences (5:03) are offered. None add to the story, but fans will get a kick out of these.
The Worlds of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: This three-part feature (divided into Halloween Town, Christmas Town, and The Real World) offers character designs, animation tests, and concept art for many locations and characters.
Storyboard to Film Comparison (3:46) zeroes in on the “Town Meeting Song.”
Posters and Trailers.
Also included is a third disc, which contains a Digital Copy of the film.