Characters: The Nightmare Before Christmas
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Citizens of Halloween Town
Jack Skellington, The Pumpkin King
Voiced by: Chris Sarandon
Singing Voice: Danny Elfman
Jack Skellington, also known as the "Pumpkin King", is the main protagonist. Jack is a tall skeleton who wears a black pin-striped suit, complete with a bat bowtie. He has earned the title of Pumpkin King by being so terrifying to humans (but never harming them), a clearly well-earned title as it appears he is even able to scare the monsters that occupy the town. He lives in Halloween Town, a world based solely on the holiday of Halloween.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Jack could possibly be the Personification of Halloween.
- The Atoner: Downplayed both in his feelings and the level of mayhem. He does go about trying to fix his mistakes, but only angsts about it very briefly; overall, he is satisfied that he tried his best with Christmas and had fun doing so.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: "What's this?!" He exclaims as he discovers Christmas Town.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Jack is the de-facto leader of Halloween Town and is therefore the most badass.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Jack is the Pumpkin King because he's the scariest and the toughest.
- Badass Bookworm: He attempts to master the magic of Christmas through study and scientific research, and while his methods fail entirely, the logic he employs suggests a strange sort of genius at work.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: The Badass Jack sports a nifty suit.
- Bad Santa: Though, in his case, it's less due to maliciousness than just not being very good at Santa's job.
- Beneath the Mask: All of the Citizens of Halloween Town (except Sally) believe Jack to be bold, loud, and happy. Too bad they have no idea that underneath that bony exterior was a guy that was practically going through depression before he discovered Christmas Town.
- Berserk Button: Do not harm his friends. He will not take kindly to this.
- The Big Guy: He's not very big, but he's the Pumpkin King, and thus the most powerful of Halloween Town.
- Plus, he's pretty tall.
- Blessed with Suck: Jack has grown tired of the same old tricks and traditions, even if he's the most popular.
- Bowties Are Cool: Jack wears a bowtie when he's wearing his tux, although some people mistake it for a collar. It's still pretty cool, though. Plus, it kind of looks like a bat.
- A Boy and His X: A Skeleton Man and His Ghost Dog. Zero is his constant companion.
- Broken Ace: The opening shows Jack's boredom over things never changing in Halloween Town turning into despair.
- Camp Straight: He's quite effeminate and becomes an Official Couple with Sally.
- Celebrity Is Overrated: He has this realization at the start of the film and wishes he wasn't the King of Halloween.
- Creepy Good: He's a skeleton, the King of Halloween, and The Hero.
- Cultured Badass: Has read Shakespeare's works.
- Dark Is Not Evil: He may be the Pumpkin King and love scaring, but he's a pretty nice guy. But don't forget... he is still the Pumpkin King.
- Dem Bones: Jack is a skeleton humanoid.
- The Dreaded: Given who he is, it's pretty reasonable.
- Evil Laugh: It's his regular laugh.
- Forgets to Eat: Implied by the scene where Sally sends a basket of food up to him.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Sanguine — The most sociable and warm-hearted of Halloween Town.
- Friend to All Children: Well, the children of Halloween Town. The Corpse Kid hugs onto his leg when he finds out he's alive and Jack doesn't object to this.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Falls in love with Sally, a redheaded zombie.
- He's Back: "That's right! I AM the Pumpkin King!"
- Hollywood Mid Life Crisis: Another theory behind Jack's lost love for Halloween and being so enamored by Christmas. After his attempts at running Christmas go bad, he rediscovers his love for Halloween.
- Horrifying Hero: He's not the King of Halloween for nothing.
- Hot-Blooded: A given since he immediately decides to become Santa Claus by kidnapping the real Santa.
- Iconic Outfit: Jack's pin-striped tuxedo and bat bow-tie.
- Idiot Hero: As detailed on the main page, he's not an Idiot Hero because of an inherent lack of intelligence; he's an Idiot Hero because he's never encountered non-Halloween stuff before and he's too excited to listen to common sense.
- I Have Many Names: Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, the King of Halloween, Bone Daddy, Skeleton Jack, Mr. Unlucky...
- Incendiary Exponent: He sets himself on fire, therefore having one of the most awesome entrances in Disney history.
- The Kindnapper: Jack Skellington has part of his being a Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant. His way of indulging himself in his new passion for Christmas not only involves planning to run the show himself, but kidnapping the one who already does to enable his doing so. And he sees it as a favor for Santa, too! Despite Jack's unquestionable status as The Hero, though, his kidnapping is clearly shown as not being a good thing, especially because of what it leads to...Santa: (bursts out of the bag) Let me out! (the Halloween Town citizens gasp in awe)Jack Skellington: Sandy Claws - in person. What a pleasure to meet you. (prepares to shake but then looks down when their HANDS touch)Jack Skellington: Wh - ! Why, you have hands! You don't have claws at all!Santa: (dazed) Where am I?Jack Skellington: Surprised, are you? I knew you would be. You don't have to worry about another Christmas this year.Santa: Wh-what?Jack Skellington: Consider this a vacation, Sandy. A reward. It's your turn to take it easy.Santa: B-But there must be some mistake!Jack Skellington: See that he's comfortable... (the minions start to close up the bag, but then stop) Just a second, fellas! Of course! That's what I'm missing! (takes Santa's hat)Santa: B-But...Jack Skellington: (as he's putting on the hat) Thanks.Santa: Hang on - you just can't - (has the bag thrown over him again) - Hold on! Where are we going now?
- Large Ham: More subtle than Oogie, but still. "I AM THE PUMPKIN
- The Leader: Type IV. Due to his skill and charisma, all of Halloween Town loves him and would follow any Zany Scheme he's concocted.
- Loves the Sound of Screaming: A rare heroic example. He, and most of Halloween Town, enjoy the sound of screaming not out of sadism but because it's their job which they enjoy. Plus the screaming comes from harmless pranks rather than torture.
- Made of Iron: In his first appearance he sets himself on fire (briefly), and then later in the movie he falls at least a mile, lands on a stone statue, and doesn't suffer any permanent damage.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: He is the scariest ghoul in Halloween Town, but also one of the friendliest.
- Meaningful Name: Jack takes over Christmas for a year. One meaning of Jack is "supplanter".
- Mood-Swinger: Jack frequently and quickly swings between elation, depression, and anger. Many fans speculate that he has a mood disorder (bipolar disorder is the popular choice, but that's not actually how it works, most of the time).
- Nice Guy: Jack was never malicious about kidnapping Santa Claus, and is a good-hearted being.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant
- Noodle People: Justified since he's a skeleton and thus has a skinny body.
- Obliviously Evil: Jack means no harm at all and doesn't have a malicious bone in his body, but it's his actions that are creating nearly every problem in the film. Thankfully, he does eventually come to his senses.
- Oblivious to Love: Throughout most of the movie, he only views Sally as a friend, and has no idea that she's in love with him. He catches on eventually though.
- Official Couple: With Sally. They share a kiss by the end of the movie.
- Perky Goth: He's quite excitable for someone called the "King of Halloween".
- Sharp-Dressed Man: He wears a tux 85% of the time, and when he's not wearing it, he still dresses pretty good.
- Species Surname: Sort of, as "skeleton" is sometimes pronounced as "Skellington" with an accent. See Hot Fuzz and Stardust.
- Stingy Jack: Well, it is his name...
- Vague Age: In personality and voice, he comes across as being in his late twenties or early thirties, but he's an undead skeleton man, so this has no connection whatsoever to how long he's been around. And aside from being adult-sized it's impossible to gauge his age from his looks. He's probably older than thirtyish, though it wouldn't be impossible for him to be younger.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Not just the fact that he does have very wide eye-sockets, but he fits the idealist trope very closely.
Voiced by: Catherine O'HaraSally is the deuteragonist. She is a humanoid ragdoll created by Dr. Finkelstein. She is made of various pieces stitched together, with dead leaves used as stuffing. It is unlikely that she feels any physical pain. This is demonstrated in the movie when she leaps from her upstairs bed chamber in Finklestein's Lab. After some of her limbs become detached upon impact, she sews them back. Head creation of the doctor, she is always under lock and key. Thus, when she wants to go out, she poisons the doctor with deadly nightshade (covered up with worm's wart and frog's breath) and sneaks out. Sally has a crush on Jack Skellington, but is unsuccessful in showing her affections to Jack.
- Cassandra Truth: Tries to warn Jack beforehand that his plan for Christmas will fail, but to no avail.
- Creepy Doll: Objectively supposed to be, as a life-sized rag doll, but to audiences she's rather attractive.
- Cute Monster Girl: As much of a monster as she is, she's adorable.
- Damsel in Distress: Unfortunately becomes her main function in the video games.
- Is also captured and almost killed by Oogie in the film.
- Feminine Women Can Cook: Serves Finkelstein his meals. Unfortunately for him, they're usually drugged.
- Fiery Redhead: Averted. She has red hair, but isn't fiery at all and more of a Shrinking Violet.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Melancholic.
- Frankenstein's Monster: One of the cuter versions, though.
- Glasgow Grin: Though not a creepy example, and justified because she's stitched up from top to bottom.
- Guile Hero: Her awesome moments come from being crafty and even cunning.
- The Heart: Sally is the most down-to-earth citizen in Halloween Town.
- Hero Antagonist: Mildly so. She tries to sabotage Jack's plans, but only because she fears for his safety and recognizes that he may be in over his head.
- Iconic Outfit: Her dress.
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: For a patched up living ragdoll, she's quite pretty, especially compared to her dad.
- Not So Different: With Jack."Jack... I know how you feel."
- Official Couple: With Jack. They kiss by the end of the movie.
- Only Sane Woman: Lampshaded by Santa:"Next time you get the urge to take over someone else's holiday, I'd listen to her! She's the only one who makes any sense around this insane asylum!"
- Only One Name: Unless you consider "Finklestein" to be her last name, after her creator.
- Opposites Attract: Her feelings toward the charismatic and boisterous Jack are a textbook example.
- Redheaded Hero: She has a red hair and is the deuteragonist.
- Shrinking Violet: One of the reasons Sally didn't tell Jack her feelings is because she's shy around him.
- Stalker with a Crush: Portrayed sympathetically because she is friends with Jack already, and simply too shy to confess her romantic feelings.
- True Blue Femininity: Her skin is blue.
- Unrequited Tragic Maiden: Seems to think she's this, as evidenced by her song, where she openly says she isn't "the one" for Jack. However, it's proven wrong when Jack does reciprocate her feelings after all.
Voiced by: William Hickey
Dr. Finkelstein is a resident of Halloween Town, the wheelchair-bound mad scientist and the "father" of Sally.
- Evil Cripple:...Kind of. He's not necessarily "evil", per se, but he is crazy and a bit of a jerk.
- Genius Cripple: A mad scientist in a wheelchair.
- Genre Savvy: "Nothing is more suspicious than Frog's Breath."
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As abrasive and curmudgeonly as he is, he does seem genuinely concerned for Sally's well-being and seems very fond of Jack.
- Mad Scientist: An expy of Dr. Frankenstein.
- Manipulative Bastard: He tries to Sally to eat the soup she made to test his suspicions. When she refused, he plays the dad card.Sally: Oh, don't be silly.
- My Brain Is Big
- Overprotective Dad: Or maybe Crazy Jealous Guy, we're not sure.
Lock, Shock & Barrel
Voiced by: Paul Reubens, Catherine O'Hara, Danny Elfman, respectively
Lock, Shock, and Barrel are a trio of trick-or-treaters from Halloween Town. They served as Oogie Boogie's henchmen and the secondary antagonists.
- Affably Evil: They really are terrified of Oogie, but in their minds, helping him is the most fun thing they can think of.
- Ambiguously Human: They don't appear to be monsters or capable of any special powers (see Badass Normal, below). That said, there's also definitely something about them that's...off.
- Badass Normal: In any video game (sequel, prequel, or spin-off) they do things like control monsters, capture holiday leaders, fight the protagonists, and convince Maleficent herself to resurrect Oogie.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: One interpretation of Lock and Shock's relationship; Fanon says have a mutual crush on each other, but express it by teasing and yelling at each other.
- The Brute: Barrel. Switches to Lock in Oogie's Revenge.
- Butt Monkey: Barrel is constantly at the receiving end of pranks and smacks from his cohorts. (Just watch "Kidnap the Sandy Claws".) But usually when he pulls a prank on Lock or Shock he gets away with it.
- The Ditz: Barrel, though he denies this.
- The Dragon: Lock, to Shock. All three of them could be seen as this to Oogie.
- Enfant Terrible: They're spooky little brats, who love messing with people and are absolutely overjoyed at the idea of subjecting Santa Claus to Cold-Blooded Torture. When Santa himself asks them if they've ever heard of goodwill to all men, they flat out tell him "No!"
- The Evil Genius: Shock is the brains of the operation.
- Evil Laugh: Just to underline the Enfant Terrible trope.
- Pragmatic Villainy: After Lock suggests blowing Santa Claus up, Shock objects on the grounds that obliterating him would be inconvenient to them.Lock: I say that we take a cannon, aim it at his door and then
Knock three times and when he answers
Sandy Claws will be no more!
Shock: You're so stupid, think now
If we blow him up to smithereens
We may lose some pieces and then Jack will beat us black and green!
- Sibling Rivalry: An alternate interpretation of the kids' relationship (see Belligerent Sexual Tension above) claims that all three of them are siblings.
- Slasher Smile: Barrel. His grin extends from ear-to-ear and it's even reflected in his mask.
- Two Guys and a Girl: Lock and Barrel are boys, Shock is a girl.
Voiced by: Ken Page
Oogie Boogie is the main antagonist. He was a burlap sack filled with insects, two spiders and a snake for a tongue.
- Antagonist Title: Oogie's Revenge.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The final boss battle with him in the videogame is this.
- Ax-Crazy: Implied to be the only resident of Halloween Town to have actually killed people in cold blood. He also states that his gambling games are much more fun "when lives are on the line".
- Bad Moon Rising: Oogie's introduction in This is Halloween.
- Big Bad: Though all the citizens of Halloween Town dedicate their lives to scaring people, they do it purely for laughs and are mostly harmless. Oogie is the only really EVIL person there, and is implied to have actually killed people. He also serves as this in Oogie's Revenge.
- Berserk Button: "YOU TRY AND MAKE A DUPE OUT OF ME !!!"
- Blatant Lies: In an interview in his biography, Tim Burton described Oogie as "A nasty neighbor", said that there weren't any true villains; ohh yeeaaah... Anyone who's been banished, has tried to eat Santa Claus, and tried to forcibly take over all 7 holidays musn't be that evil!
- Boisterous Bruiser: A rare evil example. He loves singing and dancing...while he horribly tortures his victims and will later cook'em and eat'em.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: He's big and strong enough to easily overpower his foes, yet spends more time sicking death traps on them. This is subverted in Oogie's Revenge, where he shows just how dangerous he can be when he actually gets up and applies himself.
- Card-Carrying Villain: "I'm a gamblin' boogie man although I don't play fair!"
- Canon Foreigner: In-universe. Oogie is not a native of Halloween Town, instead hailing from the long-forgotten holiday of Bug Day.
- The Chessmaster: Masterminded the plot of Oogie's Revenge.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: In Oogie's Revenge. Upon being revived by Lock, Shock, and Barrel, Oogie first puts Dr. Finkelstein under his control by switching his brain with another and has him booby trap the town for Jack's return. He then kidnaps the seven holiday leaders and scatters the holiday doors across Halloween Town. When Jack retrieves the doors and confronts Oogie at his lair, it's revealed that it was Oogie's shadow, which served to distract Jack while he was at Christmas Town to kill Santa Claus.
- Dirty Coward: Despite being a hundred times bigger than Jack (at least in terms of sheer bulk), he whimpers and runs away if he even thinks Jack has the upper hand. Considering he's just a big burlap sack full of bugs, this behavior is reasonably justified.
- The Dreaded: Even the other residents of Halloween Town are implied to be terrified of him.
- Evil Counterpart: He's this to Jack- he's just as terrifying (if not more so), but unlike Jack, he's more of a sociopathic monster than a prankster.
- Evil Laugh: Once more!
- Expy: According to Word of God, he's an expy of Audrey II.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: In a sense; the burlap sack covering his bugs is technically his skin, meaning that his death basically amounts to him being skinned alive and then having the bugs, which serve as his organs, melted alive.
- Fat Bastard: Not only is he a big, nasty bag of bugs with a love of torture and casual cannibalism, he cheats at dice. In fact, Oogie Boogie was the biggest, heaviest puppet in the entire cast, needing the tightest joints in his armature skeleton for proper movement.
- Faux Affably Evil: He may look like an overstuffed potato sack living in a cross between a cheesy blacklight funhouse and a casino, but he's actually a sadistic monster who slowly torments people with rigged games of chance before cooking them up and eating them.
- For the Evulz: The only Halloween Town resident who is truly evil.
- The Gambler: Although he doesn't play fair.
- Knight of Cerebus: The movie is already pretty dark itself. However, not one of the Halloween Town residents is a deranged mass murderer with a taste for torture and gore.
- Large Ham: "Large" in every sense of the word.
- Living Shadow: His shadow appears on the moon in This Is Halloween, and is fought by Jack in The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge.
- Manipulative Bastard: In Oogie's Revenge, he forces Dr. Finklestein to work for him by switching his brain with another that puts him under Oogie's control.
- Obviously Evil: No eyes, big toothless mouth, stitched-up head, a snake for a tongue...
- Plot Irrelevant Villain: In the movie. He has nothing to do with the plot and only comes into conflict with Jack when the kids take Santa Claus to him against Jack's wishes.
- Put the "Laughter" in "Slaughter": His modus operandi.
- Scary Black Man: In spirit and voice, if not in body (being a lime-green, vaguely humanoid burlap sack guy and all).
- Sickly Green Glow: While his body is a plain burlap sack, he glows a vivid green under his casino black lights.
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The movie itself is not exactly bright and fluffy, but it is optimistic and lighthearted. Oogie Boogie, however is a cruel, terrifying creature and he's one of the darkest villains in Disney history.
- Villain Song: "The Oogie Boogie Song", which is one of the best.
- Voice of the Legion: Sort of. He starts off with a deep jazzy voice, but as he loses the bugs which make up his body, his voice becomes higher pitched and squeakier until he only has one bug left.
- The Worm That Walks: He's really just a giant burlap sack filled with sentient bugs, the leader of which controls his voice (and a few snakes, for some reason).
Voiced by: Glenn Shadix
The Mayor of Halloween Town is, well the Mayor of Halloween Town. His body (head included) is shaped like a cone. He wears a tall top-hat and suit with a spider bow-tie. He also wears a ribbon that says "Mayor" on it. Being a politician, he is naturally "two-faced" and can rotate his head to appear as either happy or sad, depending on his mood of course.
- Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: His two-faced head allows his body to spin while his head stays in place, demonstrated in "This is Halloween".
- Adipose Rex: He's conical.
- Authority in Name Only: "I'm only an elected official! I can't make decisions!"
- Cheshire Cat Grin: On his "happy" face, he has a large toothy smile. The other face has a Cheshire Cat frown.
- The Ditherer: See above. He needs Jack's help in planning every Halloween.
- Large Ham: Very loud and dramatic.
- Mad Eye: Has one spiral eye and one dark eye with a white pupil on his "happy" face.
- Multiple Head Case: He has a smiling face on one side of his head, and a frowning one on the other. However, only one face is ever active at once, and they simply reflect a change in mood.
- Nice Hat: Has a really tall top hat.
- No Name Given: Though some of the merch gives him the name Hizzonor.
- Stealth Pun: He's a two-faced politician.
- Two-Faced: He has two faces; one colorful and happy, one ashen and distressed. It's more of a facial mood ring than a split personality, though.
- Ultimate Authority Mayor: Played with; while he is evidently the only mayor Halloween Town had, he also doesn't have a lot of power. As an elected official, he can't make decisions without Jack (the king)'s help.
Voiced by: Randy Crenshaw
Voiced by: N/A
Zero is Jack's ghost-dog and the tritagonist.
- Bedsheet Ghost: A dog version. That said, he is very small. More of a handkerchief ghost, really.
- Canine Companion: To Jack.
- Expy: What Rudolph would probably look like if he were a ghost. Even used to lead Jack Skellington's sleigh at one point.
- My Hero Zero: His name is Zero.
- Non-Human Sidekick: For Jack, although technically Jack isn't human either.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: For a ghost dog, he's really adorable.
Voiced by: Randy Crenshaw
- All There in the Manual: The name of the woodcutter zombie with an axe in his head is revealed through merchandise.
- Dumb Muscle: He shows very little intelligence and is often seen doing physical work. His dumbness might be because of the axe embedded in his head.
- Gentle Giant: He's big and brutish, but not malevolent nor mean.
Clown With The Tearaway Face
Voiced by: Danny Elfman
- Body Horror: He can tear away his face and apparently the front part of his entire skull.
- The Blank: He becomes this without his face on.
- Jump Scare: Implied to be his modus operandi by his third and fourth lines in "This Is Halloween": "Here in a flash / And gone without a trace!"
- Monster Clown: It's what he is. Subverted though as he's just as nice as the other residents.
Voiced by: Unknown
Voiced by: Greg Proops
Tall Witch and Short Witch
Voiced by: Susan McBride and Debi Durst, respectively
Most of the residents
- Bedsheet Ghost: A bunch of them live in the town. For a given definition of the word "live", of course.
- Blue and Orange Morality: They don't quite grasp that "scary" is not what people look for on Christmas.
- Creepy Child: The Corpse Kid, the Mummy and the Bat. They're all actually kind of adorable, when you get past the fact that they're undead monsters.
- Dark Is Not Evil: As the opening song says, "That's our job, but we're not mean."
- Large Ham: Halloween Town is basically a World of Ham.
- Our Monsters Are Different: They come in many different shapes, sizes and colors and they're all so aesthetically pleasing!
- Nightmare Fetishist: A given, since they live in a town that's all about Halloween.
- No Name Given: Very few of them have names.
- Things That Go Bump in the Night: The Creature Under The Bed and The Man Under The Stairs.
Voiced by: Ed Ivory
- Badass Santa: Openly and fearlessly defies Oogie Boogie while being held captive and threatened with murder.
- Big Good: Once freed he is able to solve all the problems caused by Jack literally overnight.
- Distressed Dude: Gets held hostage by Oogie Boogie for most of the movie.
- Living MacGuffin: Rescuing him is a major plot point.
- Nice Hat: The classic Santa Claus hat.
- Santa Claus: Duh. Who else would he be?
- Christmas Elves: Obviously, and they fit the classic image of them.
The Easter Bunny
- No Name Given
- For some of them, anyway, at least onscreen. If you pay attention, the kid with the shrunken head is named Timmy (it says so on his stocking behind him), and in the book, The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Film, The Art, The Vision, on some of the concept art, it shows the kid who gets the big snake is referred to as "The Infant," and the fat kid is Howie. Others, like the Japanese Twins, play it straight, even in the concept art.
Shrunken Head Kid
- No Name Given
- Actually, if you look at the stockings on the fireplace behind him, his name is Timmy. It probably falls under Freeze-Frame Bonus.
- Shrunken Head: He gets one as a gift from Jack as Santa.
- The Stoic: Not a straight example, but the kid does deserve credit for not screaming when he finds his gift, and not being bothered that his home's been invaded by an undead Santa Claus. He actually was scared, but was too shocked to properly express himself.