Meet Jack Skellington. He’s in charge of making Halloweenland the coolest creepy place around. But when Jack suddenly grows bored with tricks and treats, he goes searching for new ways to celebrate…and he finds them in Christmas Town! Christmas, Jack decides, is just what Halloweenland — and the world — needs! He sets out to take over the role of Santa. But can anything good come of a tall and lanky skeleton dressed up as everyone’s favourite jolly old elf?
Part two in my festive triumvirate of reviews is another children’s tale, and though more recent than How The Grinch Stole Christmas, it’s no less a classic. In 1989, the now-famous Tim Burton penned a poem. In time he illustrated that poem in is rather dark style, before working with Disney to create a stop-motion animated film based on the poem. And what poem am I waxing lyrical about? The Nightmare Before Christmas, that’s what.
I remember receiving a copy on video tape back when it came out from my parents. And from the very first moment, I fell in love. The wonderfully-created figures, the style and atmosphere in the film, and the stunning Danny Elfman soundtrack. Ever since then I have proceeded to wear out every copy, from VHS, to DVD to Bluray due to watching it multiple times a year every year from around Halloween through Christmas. But, yet again, I have never actually read the original poem, less so laid eyes on Burton’s illustrations for it.
That was rectified last year when my brother bought me a copy for Christmas. But not just a regular copy; this is the 20th Anniversary edition with additional illustrations. The cover alone brought up a lot of childhood memories, with Burton’s unique style. From the very start, the poem captured me in exactly the same way the film did. The style, the feel, the emotions that Tim Burton puts together are all there. And the words are something else altogether. The rhyming style is almost reminiscent of The Grinch, and flows from beginning to end.
The director of the film version recently came out and stated he felt The Nightmare Before Christmas was at its heart a Halloween film. The book though, is something else. It’s filled with festive spirit, good intentions and the joy the season brings. And alongside the film adaptation, this is a new festive favourite!