25 things you didn’t know about ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ | Digital Asia

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This Disney classic turns 25 this year.

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This Disney classic turns 25 this year.
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Disney

“The Before ” is one of the most iconic Halloween … or movies of all time.

This year, the beloved animated feature turns 25, and to celebrate, INSIDER dug up some of the spookiest facts about “The Nightmare Before Christmas” that will send shivers down your spine. For those brave enough, continue reading for some grave-turning facts about one of Disney’s darkest films.


The movie was based on a poem.

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This movie was based on a poem.
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Buena Vista Productions

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” was based on a poem written by Tim Burton when he was an animator for Disney.

When asked where the idea of the film came from, director Henry Selik told the Daily Beast, “Tim rewrote the classic poem, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,’ along with designs for Jack Skellington, his dog, Zero, and Santa Claus.”


The poem was inspired by holiday decorations.

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The poem was inspired by the idea of changing Halloween decorations to Christmas decorations.
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YouTube

Written in 1982, Burton said in the film’s commentary that “The Nightmare Before Christmas” poem was inspired by the changing of Halloween decorations to Christmas decorations.


Oogie Boogie was the toughest character to design.

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It’s partly because of his size.
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Disney

“Oogie Boogie was the toughest because he’s big and pretty shapeless. Ultimately, Rick Heinrichs had to re-sculpt it, and then, when he gets his skin pulled off and he’s filled with bugs, that took some years off a few animators’ lives-it’s three or four killer shots and took about four months,” Henry Selick told the Daily Beast.


There were over 400 Jack Skellington heads made.

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There were 400 heads created for Jack Skellington.
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YouTube

The sculpting team behind the famous animated characters took the time to create about 400 heads with various emotions for Jack Skellington, according to Michael A. Morrison’s “Trajectories of the Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Fourteenth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts.”


Tim Burton was the producer, not the director.

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Tim Burton didn’t direct the film.
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YouTube

Although his name is above the title, Burton was not the director of “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Instead, Henry Selick made his directorial debut with the animated Disney film.


In the original poem, there were only three characters.

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The poem only featured three people.
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YouTube

Despite the colorful cast of characters in the film, Burton’s original poem only featured three characters: Jack Skellington, Zero, and Santa Claus.


The film’s songs were written first.

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The songs were written first.
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YouTube

Danny Elfman wrote the songs for “The Nightmare Before Christmas” before there was a script to go off of.

He wrote the iconic songs after Burton described bits and pieces of the story to him.

Eflman told the LA Times, “Tim would show me sketches and drawings, and he would tell me the story, describe it in bits of phrases and words and I would say, ‘Yeah, I got it.’ Three days later, I had a song.”


“The Nightmare Before Christmas” took about three years to make.

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One minute of filming took a week.
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YouTube

Because the film was stop-motion, it took animators about three years to complete the film.

“I was on the film for three-and-a-half years. The stop-motion animation took about 18 months, but with pre-production, where you storyboarded every single shot, it did add up. At its peak, it was about 120 people working on it, and we had between 12-17 animators on the job. It’s an insane way to make a movie, but a lot of fun,” director Henry Selick told the Daily Beast.


Elfman was the voice behind Skellington’s singing in the film.

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The composer was the voice of Skellington.
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YouTube

Although he wasn’t the speaking voice of the Pumpkin King, Elfman did sing all of Skellington’s parts in the film.


Jack Skellington appeared in “Beetlejuice.”

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Skellington was featured in “Beetlejuice”.
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YouTube

Skellington’s first feature film appearance wasn’t the film based on his story, but rather the 1988 movie “Beetlejuice,” another of Burton’s creations.


Jack Skellington makes a cameo in “James and the Giant Peach.”

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Skellington also makes a cameo in “James and the Giant Peach”.
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YouTube

In another Burton-Selick film, the famed Jack Skellington makes a cameo in the haunted shipwreck scene in “James and the Giant Peach.”


Skellington also makes a cameo in other popular films.

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Jack Skellington makes his way into a lot of classic animated movies.
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YouTube

Skellington’s character or likeness has been spotted in “Coraline,” “Princess and the Frog,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Finding Nemo,” and even “Sleepy Hollow,” reported PopBuzz.


The Pumpkin King’s suit was originally back.

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The suits were changed to make them pop on the black backdrop.
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YouTube

It is revealed in the 15th Anniversary 2-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD’s commentary track that Director Selick was the reason Jack’s signature suit was adorned with thin white pinstripes.

The decision was made in order to have the character stand out on an already dark colored set.


The film was released under Touchstone Pictures.

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The film has been distributed by Disney and Touchstone Pictures.
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YouTube

Disney released the picture under their other studio, Touchstone Pictures.

Now, Disney fully embraces the twisted Burton film, decorating their parks with Skellington decorations each Halloween.


Sir Patrick Stewart’s voice was supposed to be in the film.

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Stewart was supposed to be the narrator.
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Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Although ultimately cut, according to the Mary Sue, Sir Patrick Stewart was meant to voice the narrator in the film. But, Stewart’s iconic voice can be heard in the film’s soundtrack.


The original ending of the film was not the same.

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The reveal of Oogie Boogie was changed prior to production.
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YouTube

It was initially proposed that Oogie Boogie would be revealed to be Doctor Finklestein in disguise at the end of the film, but this was changed prior to production.


Danny Elfman has a favorite line in the film.

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Elfman composed the film’s music.
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Christopher Polk/Getty

In a 2010 interview with Interview magazine, Danny Elfman said, “For the record, my favorite lyric line is ‘Perhaps it’s the head that I found in the lake,’ from ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas.’” Directed at Burton, he added, “It’s your line, not mine.”


There are at least two Hidden Mickeys in the film.

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Mickey and Donald Duck make cameos.
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Courtesy of findmickeys.com

Fans on FindMickey, have spotted at least two Hidden Mickeys in “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” but another popular character also makes an appearance: Donald Duck.


There will (probably) never be a sequel.

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Burton is against a sequel.
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YouTube

Seeing as Burton owns part of the character rights to “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” he has been staunchly against creating a sequel of the film.

Burton told MTV, “I was always very protective of [‘Nightmare’], not to do sequels or things of that kind. You know, ‘Jack visits Thanksgiving world’ or other kinds of things, just because I felt the movie had a purity to it and the people that like it.”


There was going to be a “The Nightmare Before Christmas” ride.

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There was going to be a ride before Burton nixed it.
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Getty Images/Allan Grant/The LIFE Picture Collection/TASCHEN

According to Slashfilm, Disney wanted to create a ride dedicated to the film and even created sketches of what it would look like, but it never came to be. So, for now, fans can enjoy Halloween Town when The Haunted Mansion is transformed each Halloween season.


Fans think the film characters represent how they died.

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Fans theorize that the characters represent how they died.
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YouTube

One Redditor, theknightinthetardis, linked on Reddit to a Tumblr post that proposes that the characters in Halloween Town represent different aspects of how they died. For example, believe Jack was burned alive, Doctor Finklestein was poisoned, and Zero the dog was electrocuted.


An extended ending showed Jack as a father.

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The soundtrack points to the pumpkin king as a father.
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YouTube

The official soundtrack for the film has an epilogue that has Santa Claus returning to visit Jack years later and finding that the Pumpkin King has become a father.


Jack Skellington was never meant to have eyes.

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Burton fought for Skellington to have no eyes.
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YouTube

Despite pushback from Disney, Burton and Selick fought against animating Jack Skellington with eyes.

According to Mouseplanet, Burton said, “The first rule of drawn animation is that you have to have eyes for expression. I thought it would be great to give life to these characters that have no eyes. Disney really fought for us to give Jack these friendly eyes instead of dark holes but we wouldn’t budge.”


Elfman voiced two characters in the film.

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Elfman had a part of playing three characters.
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YouTube

In addition to acting as Skellington’s singing voice, Elfman provided the voices of Barrel and the Clown with the Tear Away Face in “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”


Lastly, is “The Nightmare Before Christmas” a Halloween or Christmas movie?

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The director takes the stance that it is a Halloween film.
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YouTube

During a Q&A about the film at Colorado’s Telluride Horror Show film festival, director Henry Selick said the film is a Halloween film. But, that doesn’t stop anyone from enjoying the movie 365 days a year, regardless of upcoming holidays.

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