YMMV / The Nightmare Before Christmas


  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • The song "What's This" has quite a few passages that, when listened to in the proper state of mind, sound like they're describing something completely different.
      "I've never felt so good before
      This empty place inside of me is filling up!
      I simply cannot get enough!
      I want it, oh, I want it
      Oh, I want it for my own!"
    • "In here they've got a little tree! How queer!"
    • It gets worse during "Making Christmas". Jack seems to get a little too excited. The lyrics make it worse:
    I can't believe what's happening to me. My hopes, my dreams, my fantasies! *giddy, high-pitched laughter*
    • Let's all sing This Is Halloween! "Skeleton Jack might catch you in the back" — Wait a tick...
    • Boogie's Villain Song makes it seem like he may have ulterior motives in his capture of Santa.
      "And now, with your permission, I'm gonna do my stuff."
      "What are you going to do?"
      "I'm gonna do the best I can."
      • Ken Page, who played Boogie, described his voice as being more "intimate" when he sings closer to Santa's face. Make of that what you will.
  • Adaptation Displacement: Most people aren't even aware of the poem the movie was based on. Which is understandable, since it wasn't published in book form until after the movie came out, and was only sporadically available for a good 20 years. Now that it's received a big re-release for its 20th anniversary and has generally stayed on bookstore shelves in the years afterward, it's become a bit more well-known.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Dr. Finklestein, Bigtime. Did he create Sally to be his daughter? His Sex Slave? An emotional companion? A servant? All of the above? Who knows! And what of the mother-like figure he's with at the end?
    • Tim Burton has said that he doesn't consider Oogie Boogie evil.
    • Lock, Shock, and Barrel: mischievous friends who work together and happen to have similar names, or siblings?
    • Are any of the characters actually "good" or "evil" in the sense that we understand it? Their homes are the origins of our Holidays, so it's not hard to imagine that they're all mythological archetypes. This would pretty much make them all amoral, since free will wouldn't be a thing for them.
  • Awesome Music: Every. Single. Note of Danny Elfman's score and songs! It's just as much his movie as it is Tim Burton's.
    • The perfect incorporation of "This Is Halloween" into this man's downright amazing Halloween light show.
    • Elfman has recently taken part in a musical retrospective of his scores for Tim Burton, the finale of which is him singing nearly half the score for this film by himself.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The scene with the Easter Bunny.
    • Arguably it does have a purpose, as it would have been Foreshadowing had they kept a deleted scene scene near the climax where, after Jack hears Sally and Santa screaming for help in Oogie Boogie's lair and dons his Let's Get Dangerous! face, he makes a terrifying face to scare Boogie's boys away and proceeds to rescue them. Even without the deleted scene, it foreshadows Jack getting angry when he learns that the children cause a kidnapped "guest" in Halloween town undue terror and stress. The scene also illustrates that Jack may not have qualms about kidnapping other Holiday residents to Halloween Town, but even he draws the line at hurting or frightening them unnecessarily.
  • Counterpart Comparison: Even critics have noted that Jack's tale of taking over Christmas is similar to the Grinch, right down to his dog pulling his sleigh. Not surprisingly, Tim Burton himself has compared the two, being a huge fan of the cartoon.
  • Crossover Ship:
    • Jack has been shipped with Victor and Emily from Corpse Bride. There's even been a love triangle between him, Sally, and Emily.
    • Sally's also been shipped with Bonejangles.
  • Die for Our Ship: Because she's Jack's official love interest, poor Sally gets bashed by fangirls who pair their OCs with Jack.
  • Director Displacement: The film is mostly known as Tim Burton's work, and it is, but it was directed by Henry Selick (Burton was too busy with Batman Returns to direct himself).
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Oogie Boogie tends to get this a lot, often making Jack into a bully to do so. Also, Jack is probably one of the rare heroes (if not the only one) who gets this. Fans bash the military for shooting Jack down, despite the fact that they were justified in doing so.
    • Lock, Shock and Barrel have quite the popular fanbase, despite them being three homicidal, malicious, violent children. Although they do undergo a Heel–Face Turn later...
  • Ear Worm:
    • "This Is Halloween"
    • "What's This?"
    • "Oogie Boogie's Song".
    • "Kidnap The Sandy Claws".
    • The tune that pops up multiple times in the film, when Jack sings: "Oh, somewhere deep inside of these bones..." You will never get that one riff out of your head, ever.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Harlequin Demon has a reasonable amount of fanart.
    • The Clown with the Tear-Away Face also gets a lot of attention.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Apart from the already canon couple Jack/Sally, people often prefer Lock/Shock as well.
  • Faux Symbolism: A skeletal creature trying to supplant a ruler of his crown, being shot down and falling, Wreathed in Flames, into the arms of a stone angel? There's got to be something to that.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Come on, there's really no reason why, when he decided to show, Jack had to announce his presence to Oogie Boogie looking like he's trying to seduce him.
    • Then there's Oogie's Shout-Out comment to Santa, sounding like Oogie's going to rape him.
    • The Show Some Leg scene! Seriously, that's probably the reason for the Oogie/Sally ship!
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The Mayor ends up falling down the stairs of Jack's house trying to get Jack. This is hilarious until you realize that the Mayor's voice actor Glenn Shadix died because of blunt trauma to the head following a fall at his Birmingham condo.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Nightmare is Big In Japan, which explains why Halloween Town is featured throughout the Kingdom Hearts series.
    • There's also a manga adaptation by Jun Asuka.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Jack rescuing Sally from Oogie Boogie and reciprocating her feelings towards him in the ending becomes even sweeter than it already is when the video game Prequel The Nightmare Before Christmas The Pumpkin King establishes that Jack also rescued Sally from Oogie when they first met.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • One of the toys made is a rolling duck (duckroll) the predecessor to Rickroll.
    • Sally's red hair, pale face, and Glasgow Grin can bring to mind the disguise of a certain super-villain.
    • When Jack starts on his walk in the beginning of the film, he pauses next to a grotesque statue that looks surprisingly similar to the villain Discord from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
    • Jack himself looks like a distant relative of Slenderman.
    • The movie ending with an epic throw-down confrontation between Santa Claus and the Boogeyman. Sounds familiar...
    • Take a look at the curtains in Town Hall. Now take a look at the logo for Kingdom Hearts. And yet ironically, the interior of Town Hall isn't accessible in any of the KH games.
    • A few of the headstones in the Halloween Town cemetery resemble ghostly versions of the famous Edvard Munch painting, The Scream. Three years after this film came out, another film gave us Ghostface, who not only fits that same description as those headstones, but has also become the best-selling Halloween costume of all time, making his appearance in Halloween Town highly appropriate.
  • Ho Yay: Of all the citizens of Halloween Town, the Mayor appears to be the most worried for Jack when he goes missing — and it doesn't look like just as a professional and/or as a friend, either. In his defense, there are only 365 more days until NEXT Halloween.note 
    • It helps that his actor, Glenn Shadix, was openly gay.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks: Some fans feel this way because of the film's popularly. Luckily, this is a very Vocal Minority. Hype Backlash is another reason. As for Tim Burton not wanting to do sequels, it's a little late for that.
  • Love to Hate: Oogie Boogie is a malicious sadist and also a very popular villain.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • On the first day of October, expect social media (especially Tumblr) to be flooded with references to this movie. Quoting the opening song (often in full) is very popular.
    • "There's only three hundred and sixty five days 'til next Halloween!" "Three sixty four!"
  • Minion Shipping/Toy Ship: Lock and Shock.
  • Narm: Clever though she may be, it's unfortunate that most of Sally's dialogue is an expository reminder to the audience about the state of the situation, or other obvious thoughts to herself.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Invoked with some of Halloweentown's residents, like The "Who" When You Call "Who's There".
  • Periphery Demographic: Amongst the most cited favorites of young Perky Goths everywhere. Tellingly, the average Hot Topic location probably carries just as much Nightmare merchandise as the average Disney Store (if not more).
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Averted, mostly. As Halloween Town has made most of its appearances in Kingdom Hearts, it's been pretty good. As for the PS2 game...decent, but it would have made a better movie sequel than a game.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The Easter Bunny and Shrunken Head Kid both only appear for short scenes, but are among the most meorable characters.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Yes, Dr. Finkelstein has a rather... questionable and dysfunctional relationship with Sally, but this does not excuse the Fan Fic writers for writing him into a freaking rapist.
  • Sacred Cow: Zig-zagged. Some circles hate it just because Tim Burton was involved, while others consider it the only good movie (apart from Batman and Batman Returns) he was involved in. The fact that a lot of people grew up with it certainly helped.
  • Self-Fanservice: Lock, Shock, and Barrel get a lot of fanart where they're aged up into hot gothy teens rather than the gonkish little kids they are in the movie.
  • Signature Scene: Both of the major scenes taking place on the spiral hill — "Jack's Lament", specifically the part where he walks up said hill against the full moon, and the final scene where Jack and Sally have their Final Love Duet.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • The border of the removable faceplate on the Mayor puppet's happy face is clearly visible.
    • The bats flying towards the camera during the "This Is Halloween" sequence are clearly held up by wires. In the remastered version, most of the wires were digitally erased, but they are still slightly visible in a few frames.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: In many ways to How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. Whereas The Grinch is a lonely grump who ends up realizing what makes Christmas great, Jack is a lonely Nice Guy who learns that while Christmas is good, that doesn't make his own holiday any less important.
  • Ugly Cute: Pretty much everyone in Halloween Town. The younger generation of the town's residents, for example.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The Halloween Town citizens. Justified because they're supposed to be creepy.
    • A lot of the fans think the elves are creepy. They're too cheerful, dammit!
    • The human children are creepier than most things hanging around Halloween Town.
    • Have you ever seen fanart of Jack drawn realistically? Dear Lord, there's a reason why Jack is a cartoony skeleton!
  • Vindicated by History: It was a modest hit in 1993, and well-received by critics, but it wasn't near as big as Disney's in-house fare at the time (Aladdin arrived the previous year, The Lion King the next). This was partially because Disney was nervous about the Nightmare Fuel; they initially released it under their Touchstone Pictures banner (which was reserved for mature films and the edgier Who Framed Roger Rabbit). But now it's arguably a much more popular film than any of Disney's post-Lion King animated efforts, and they've since allowed it to be released under the Disney banner itself.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The entire movie is absolutely gorgeous, and there are some really creative designs to be admired if you look at the citizens of Halloween. For a stop-motion film, it's very impressive/
    • There are small touches, such as motion blur for the sweeping camera movies, courtesy of a special camera invented solely for this film. If you know anything about stop motion, especially when it's shot on non-reusable film stock, this is extremely difficult and it does not show at all!
    • Special mention goes to Oogie Boogie. It can't be easy giving a burlap sack expressive animation, but they did it. The cloth movement is realistic, and the "My bugs!" scene was terrific. The puppet was one of the trickier ones to work with, but they did it!
  • The Woobie: All those who feel sorry for Henry Selick because he never gets any credit for this film, raise your hand. While he was a director-for-hire for Burton because he was away filming Batman Returns, he is still responsible for putting it all together. Luckily this seems to have changed a bit after his adaptation of Coraline was advertised as being from the director of Nightmare, causing some controversy over whether the studio was trying to falsely imply that Burton was involved and bringing a lot of attention to Selick. note  For the record, Selick himself acknowledges that the film was Burton's idea and that his job was to bring Burton's vision to life.
    • Sally. All the things she does for someone who doesn't reciprocate her feelings (at first) is heartbreaking. Though note that "not-reciprocate-Sally's-feelings" does NOT equal "hardly-notices-her".
    • Jack. A guy who gets tired of his job might sound whiny, but not when you consider that he lives in a town where it's all about said job. Put that on top of the fact that a lot of the responsibility for Halloween is on his shoulders, and all you have to say is "That's rough." Also since Jack is all bones he might be Really 700 Years Old, who knows how long he was doing the same thing every year. 10 years? 50 years? 100 years? Since Halloween was created?
      • Given Jack is placed opposite figures such as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny - who are the chief representatives and figureheads of their holidays - it could be easy to assume Jack has been doing that job since the concept of Halloween existed in a modern context.
    • Even Oogie Boogie's death makes you feel sorry for the guy!

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas