Real talk, I have literally gotten into fights with my parents and siblings re: whether or not The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie.
“It is OBVIOUSLY a Halloween movie,” I have argued with all the fire and fury I can muster up for a pop-culture debate. “Basically the entire thing takes place in Halloween Town, we only take the briefest of detours to Christmas Town and Earth. Also, Jack Skellington is the protagonist and his whole journey is about learning to embrace who he is (Halloween) and stop trying to be what he’s not (Christmas). Also, all the other main characters are basically all Halloween Town characters, with the notable exception of Santa Claus. Also, all the best songs take place in Halloween Town (Look, I’m not a monster, I love ‘What’s This’ as much as the next Nightmare geek, but are you really going to put that song in the ring with ‘This is Halloween,’ ‘Making Christmas,’ and ‘Kidnap the Sandy Claws’? No, me neither).
But it’s true, there is SO much Christmas in Nightmare Before Christmas (the holiday is in the title, for Pete’s sake) that it does raise the question, what DID the filmmakers intend for this to be, a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie?
As MTV reports, the question was answered once and for all at the Telluride Horror Show film festival this past weekend, when, in a post-screening Q&A with Nightmare director Henry Selick, a little girl (who is ALL OF US), took the mic and asked the director once and for all “Is this a Christmas movie or a Halloween movie?”
“It’s a Halloween movie,” Selick replied.
Victory air-punches! Knew it!
Though, as Birth Movies Death reports, Selick did soften the blow a little bit for Team Christmas, acknowledging that while a large section of the audience did prefer the Christmas sections (“They love Santa and say he’s all-powerful,” Selick admitted) ultimately the director believes that this is a story about Halloween.
We would love for producer/character-creator Tim Burton and composer/singing voice of Jack Skellington Danny Elfman to weigh in on the matter, but knowing how goth these collaborators skew when they work together (and how goth Burton is just all the time), we have a feeling we can guess their answers.
For those that are feeling despondent right now, chin up! Burton already made you a dark and twisty Christmas movie! It’s Batman Returns! And the whole thing takes place during Christmas, so there’s basically no room for debate there. Though this is pop culture we’re talking about, there’s kind of ALWAYS room for debate, so get your arguments prepped re: why Batman Returns is ACTUALLY a Halloween movie.
(Image via Touchstone Pictures.)