‘The Nightmare Before Christmas‘ Is Tim Burton’s Crowning Achievement That He Never Made


It’s a seasonal classic, perfect for pipsqueaks and adults. Songs get stuck in your head, you’re captivated by the eerie animation style, and you’re left feeling warm inside by the ending, which reminds you that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. But wait, a minute, remember when I said it’s Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas? Well, it turns out, that’s not completely true. While Burton certainly did conceptualize the story and created the art style that the movie was animated in, most people falsely believe that Burton directed the movie. Let’s dive into why people believe this, despite his lack of direct involvement with the film’s direction, screenplay, and animation.

Tim Burton Created a Poem That Was Adapted into a Film He Didn’t Make

The idea that The Nightmare Before Christmas is Burton’s brainchild isn’t completely baseless, since he wrote the poem that was later adapted into the infamous movie that’s on everyone’s Annual Must-Watch Halloween Movies list. The poem was written in 1982, 11 years before the release of the film. While the general plot of the film is laid out in the original poem, several characters that are crucial to the success of the film are glaringly absent from the poem, namely Sally, Oogie Boogie, and Dr. Finklestein. The only characters that are mentioned in the poem are Jack, his dog Zero, Santa Claus, and a rough idea of the three trick-or-treaters who kidnap Santa. 

The film stays true to the overarching story of Burton’s poem, which was about Jack Skellington, a burned-out resident of Halloweenland – a place that is characterized by its ghouls, ghosts, and frights. But Jack grew tired of the terror and fright and thought to himself “there must be more to life than just yelling Boo!” Walking along the forest one night, he came across the door to Christmas Town. When he opened it, he was blown into a world very different from his own, a place where stockings hung by the fire, children were snuggled in their beds, lights glimmered on trees, and special decorations made the place seem magical. He was enthralled with what he was seeing, so he grabbed as much evidence of this…



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