Disney (Wednes)Day: The Nightmare Before Christmas

I’m not entirely sure if The Nightmare Before Christmas really counts as a Disney movie but I watched it anyway and all I can say about this movie from 1993 is that it’s freaking weird. That’s the best I can do but let’s start at the beginning.

A voice over tells something I already forgot as soon as it was over and we pan over to Halloween Town where a whole bunch of weird creatures walk around. (Maybe we should turn this post into a drinking game and you have to take a shot every time I say weird because I’m pretty sure it will be a lot of times.) The stick and putty figures sing a song about their town. It reminds me of the one at the beginning of the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban movie.

Stick Figure has a conversation with the mayor but don’t ask me what it was about. It’s difficult for me to tell what is important about this movie and what isn’t. Then we see a woman who looks very stitched together. Wheelchair Dude tells her she has to come back home and he pulls on her arm but she loosens one of her stitches and her arm comes off, effectively freeing herself from the guy. Who knew stitches could come in handy like that?!

Meanwhile the mayor is giving out some kind of awards for werewolves and vampires whereas Stick Figure Guy leaves the event to walk over a cemetery. He calls for his ghost dog with a glowing nose and sings another song. Wow, this movie really is heavy on the songs, who would have guessed? The armless woman has been following Stick Figure Guy and she looks like she is crushing on him, big time. Good for you, girl! (or not, depending on how this pans out.)

After the song, the woman plucks some weeds from Witch Hazel’s grave and returns to her home. She is apparently a Frankenstein’s Monster kind of girl and wheelchair guy is her handler, sewing her back together. Though their relationship seems strained as he mentions she has tried poisoning him a couple of times. Awesome!

Next morning the mayor is looking for Jack who hasn’t come home all night and my sharp instincts, toned by watching all these movies tells me that Jack is Stick Figure Guy. Apparently the mayor can’t make decisions on his own which sounds weird but so is this entire movie.

Cut to Jack in the woods where he comes upon a group of trees that have drawings on them. One has a Christmas tree on it. Jack somehow opens it up and gets pulled in. So the tree is some kind of portal, transporting him into Christmas Town. Wow, they were creative with the names.

Jack sings about snow and all the weird merriment he is seeing because it is so different from the gloomy Halloween life he is used to. Maybe I’m reading this wrong but this is what I got from here. He is fascinated and inspects all of it.

Cut back to Halloween Town where they are all looking for Jack because they have to prepare for Halloween in about a year?! I really don’t get what is going on here but okay.

Half-Dead Woman is cooking soup for her handler, spiking it with what I can only assume is poison. But Wheelchair Guy is sceptical so he wants her to taste it before him to make sure it won’t kill him. She uses a spoon with holes so she doesn’t have to eat the real stuff. Off Wheelchair Guy is into deep sleep or coma. Something like that.

In town, Jack is back with a big block of cheese snow. He calls for a town meeting and explains all he learned in Christmas Town. Of course this is done in song. Back at his home, he goes through all his books about Christmas but still does’ quite understand what is going on. That makes two of us, bro. He decides to tackle the problem scientifically and goes off to do some experiments.

Wheelchair Guy is a awake again and locks Sally (the Half-Dead Woman) away.

Meanwhile Jack is cutting open teddy bears, inspects Christmas tree ornaments and so on, you know, stuff one does. We see Sally putting together a bottle of some liquid that I can’t tell if it’s good or bad but s it gets delivered to Jack, I think it’s good. In order to bring it to Jack, she has to fall from the top of the tower she was locked in. Of course she loses some limbs upon hitting the ground but no problem, she just sews them back on herself. I don’t know if I should be creeped out or impressed by this.

Later Sally touches a dead flower, because everything in Halloween Town seems dead, but it turns into a small Christmas tree before it bursts into flames. Whoops.

And another song about something being up with Jack. Jack decides the town will celebrate Christmas this year and he sends off three brats to kidnap Santa Clause. That’s rude, yo!

Sally tells Jack that she has some bad premonitions about this whole Christmas thing but he isn’t listening to her.

Instead of Santa, the three brats caught what I can only assume is the Easter Bunny. Then the town gets decorated and the start manufacturing presents.

Cut to the real Mr. and Mrs. Clause. The doorbell rings and the three brats are there to take Santa.

In Halloween Town, Jack is all dressed up but Sally is still afraid something is going to go wrong with this shinding.

On Christmas, it alls starts off well, then it gets really foggy but don’t worry, Jack just puts hi ghost dog ion front of his sleigh to guide his way and away the rise into the clouds to bring gifts to children. I’m sure this is a splendid idea, not! Sally sings a sad song about her premonitions, because why the hell not?!

Jack is having fun pretending to be Santa though his toys are alive and creeping out the kids. The police is aware of some Santa impostor and tries to fight him. At first Jack think they are just congratulatory shots but they are not. Then Jack gets the sadz because his good intentions weren’t so good after all.

Cut to Santa and Sally nearly getting killed but Jack appears last minute to safe them from death. Jack apologises to Santa and let’s him correct his mistake. Then Jack and Sally are finally alone together and talk about their feelings for each other.

It snows in Halloween Town.

Sally sneaks out to follow Jack to the graveyard where they sing a song and declare their undying love for each other.

The end.

Well this was…different. I can’t say The Nightmare Before Christmas was bad, because it wasn’t but it is also really, really weird and I don’t see this being a movie for kids to be honest. I know my Mom would not have let me watch it. And I’m also a bit puzzled as to the moral of the story. Maybe this felt extra weird because I was watching with recaper eyes and I had no idea how to properly do this. Well, I’m not sure I’ll be watching it again anytime soon. The songs were cool but it was also hella depressing in general to me.


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  • Vanessa

    This is one movie so many people love, but I’ve never seen it and don’t really feel any desire to. I can’t quite put my finger on why. But after reading this great recap, maybe there’s even less reason to watch it now!

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      So we’re on the same page. I would not have watched this movie if it weren’t on the list because there is nothing that appeals to me. Having seen it now, I won’t watch it again. It’s just not my kind of movie.

  • cupitonians

    Clay animation movies will always have my heart. This one is not a kids movie at all. I haven’t seen it advertised as one to be honest. It one of those reality is depressing sort of movies!

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      Yes, but it’s considered part of the Disney collective so I kind of assume it being a kids movie.