Seven Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a dazzling display of holiday cheer, with Tim Burton saluting both Halloween and Christmas in this 1993 classic, but how many facts do you know about this film?

With Danny Elfman, Paul Reubens, and Catherine O’Hara performing live and bringing The Nightmare Before Christmas to packed audiences at the Hollywood Bowl for three nights in October 2016, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, producer Richard Kraft described how happy Danny Elfman was to partake in this rare event in Los Angeles.

“L.A. doesn’t have an upscale Halloween event to go to, a place to take your family that isn’t a haunted house type thing. This fit a major niche. Danny is pretty joyful at the end of it. It played into things that Danny loves, and it was a celebration of a movie that he is close to.”

Tim Burton with Paul Reubens, Danny Elfman and Marilyn Manson at the 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' in 3D in Hollywood, California on October 16, 2016.
Tim Burton with Paul Reubens, Danny Elfman and Marilyn Manson at the 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' in 3D in Hollywood, California on October 16, 2016. [Image by Vince Bucci/Getty Images]

With Halloween over and Christmas just around the corner, it is time to take another look at this pioneering film with some fun facts that you may not be aware of.

Did you know that Tim Burton didn’t actually direct The Nightmare Before Christmas? That’s right, Tim Burton was already busy at the time working on Batman Returns, so he decided to let his friend Henry Selick take over the responsibility as director for this film. Burton did, however, produce the movie, as well as create it, along with all of its characters, according to Mental Floss.

If you’re wondering how the ingenious plot of The Nightmare Before Christmas came about, you might be surprised. In Los Angeles, there is no appreciable difference in the change of seasons, and because of this, shops mark Halloween and Christmas with holiday decorations.

While this really seems no different than other locations, the main difference is that with the sun ever present in Southern California, the only way you can really tell that the holidays are approaching is by watching the decorations go up and growing up with this melding of both Halloween and Christmas store props inspired Tim Burton to create his film.

Gizmodo explains that The Nightmare Before Christmas was originally a poem written by Tim Burton 11 years before it became an animated film, and Christopher Lee himself even recorded a spoken version of it.

If you are familiar with the work of the absolutely astounding Edward Gorey, you may recognize his spirit in this film. The production team working on this film were inspired by both Gorey and Ronald Searle and used their work as inspiration for their physical design sets.

What about that suit that Jack Skellington wears in The Nightmare Before Christmas? That was actually Henry Selick’s idea, along with the white stripes that you see on it. Tim Burton originally had Jack clad all in black, but it was decided that the pinstripe look was able to make Skellington “pop” rather than blend into the film’s scenes.

Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli in front of The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland's annual 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' display. Taken on December 16, 2011.
Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli in front of The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland's annual 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' display. Taken on December 16, 2011. [Image by Handout/Getty Images]

What was the most difficult shot to capture on film during the movie? It was the scene where Jack Skellington is wandering through the forest and happens upon those doors leading to other worlds. When they shot The Nightmare Before Christmas, it was apparently exceedingly difficult to get Jack’s reflection just right during the scene where you watch him with his hand on that golden knob on the door.

Do you remember the poor, hapless Santa Claus that was captured by Lock, Shock, and Barrel and who ended up pinned down during Danny Elfman’s “Oogie Boogie’s Song?” Vincent Price very nearly was the voice behind him. As Tim Burton had previously worked with Price on Edward Scissorhands, Vincent readily agreed to provide the voice of Santa Claus. However, the surprise death of Vincent Price’s wife prevented him from taking the role as Tim Burton described how forlorn he sounded when he voiced his lines.

Now that you’ve discovered some new facts about The Nightmare Before Christmas, this is the time to give the film another viewing as knowing more about the above aspects of it may give the film new meaning.

[Featured Image by Stuart Wilson/Getty Images]