THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993)
THE GIST: Somewhere, there is a forest where trees are doorways to towns where holidays reside. Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon) is the king of Halloween Town where it’s always Halloween. (Mind you, he’s not the mayor; that’s a plump, little bi-polar man.) One gloomy day, Jack goes off wondering with his ghost dog Zero in search of inspiration for the upcoming Halloween when he comes to the forest with the holiday portals. Curious about the door the shaped like a pine tree, he peeks inside and stumbles in, landing in Christmas Town. Enchanted, but bewildered, he has a eureka moment: Halloween Town should run Christmas this year! Thus follows the most bizarre, Halloween-infused Christmas ever.
TRICK OR TREAT?: Trick-ridden treat. Although it’s a family film, any peek into Tim Burton’s mind is always a little dark and eerie.
WHY IT GETS US IN THE SPIRIT: For those who love Halloween, who wouldn’t want to visit a Halloween town? It’s so grimy and slimey and crawly, just as Halloween should be, but it also takes a spin on the tradition in strange mix of family wholesomeness and almost-disturbing gloominess.
SCENE TO DIE FOR: The opening scene of “This is Halloween” where we meet the clown with the tear away face, the man under the stairs, the shadow on the moon at night and all the ghouls of Halloween town in the array of voices and odd garb. Not to mention, it marks the start to the amazing soundtrack by Danny Elfman.
BEST COSTUMES: Lock, Shock, and Barrel. Not because they might be the only costumes in the film (unless you count Jack in the body of a snowman) but because their marks are just slightly creepier versions of their actual faces.
SUGGESTED SWEET: Candy canes. (I mean, right?)