Happy October and welcome! All 31 days this month, I will be reviewing all the films I watch in the month of October. They’re mostly a selection of horror or suspense films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.
Please enjoy and leave a comment!
And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
The Haunting (1963)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The Other (1972)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
The Shining (1980)
Halloween II (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Halloween III – Season of the Witch (1982)
Teen Wolf (1985)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
The Monster Squad (1987)
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
They Live (1988)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Predator 2 (1990)
The Addams Family (1991)
Alien 3 (1992)
Army of Darkness (1992)
Our next film is…
WATCHING: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
DIRECTOR: Henry Selick, who would go on to direct the fantastic and equally impressive, if not musically strong, “James and the Giant Peach” as well as the insanely beautiful “Coraline”.
THE PLOT: After presiding over his umpteenth Halloween, a severely depressed and bored Jack Skellington wanders into a forest where he discovers a ring of trees, each one a portal to a much different holiday than his. After diving into Christmas Land, Jack is entranced by the magic and warmth of the holiday and vows to give Santa Claus a break for one year while he attempts to run his own special “Christmas” — but, while he has good intentions, Jack also has no idea what he’s doing and that may spell certain doom for both Halloween and Christmas.
WHAT DID CRITICS THINK?: The critics adored the film, calling it magical and inventive. Roger Ebert said that the visuals and effects in the film rivaled “Star Wars” while other critics said that the movie offered something for both children and adults alike.
WHAT DID I THINK?: “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is part 60’s stop-motion holiday special, part German expressionist piece, the film shines with sumptuous visuals, catchy songs, and dialogue and rhymes which roll off the tongue like something out of an old book of children’s nursery rhymes.
Chris Sarandon is the speaking voice of Jack here while Danny Elfman is Jack’s gorgeous Michael Crawford-esque singing voice. Elfman, the film’s music composer, also played two other characters in the film and also handled the scoring and music duties. Catherine O’Hara plays Sally, a living patch-work doll who spends all her time worrying for Jack.
The plot can run somewhat thin but it’s saved by a fairly short running time (just over an hour) and it goes down easy.
Tim Burton plastered his name all over this picture, having written the story and injected his unique vision into the entire production, but did not take directing duties. Those are left up to Henry Selick who does an outstanding job emulating Burton’s stylistic camerawork and working wonders with his beautiful sets and characters.
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is full of child-like wonder, imagination and creativity.