Classic Film Scene: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Nightmare Before Christmas

Great films appear every year and with them are potentially classic scenes that may become more famous than the film itself. The shower scene in Psycho, the chariot race in Ben Hur, the chest bursting moment in Alien, and the opera music sounding across the prison yard in The Shawshank Redemption are just some of the examples of the classic celluloid moments that we may be familiar with even if we’ve never seen the film. I’ll be sharing my favourite film scenes, some you will know others may be unfamiliar, but hopefully they’ll be moments you enjoy as much as I do.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – Jack’s Lament

Nightmare Before ChristmasHenry Selick’s 1993 stop motion film, adapted from a story by Tim Burton, is one of the finest examples of animation to date. Cartoons or Japanese anime are always worth a look if the animation and storyline are good but I find the likes of Wallace and Gromit, Corpse Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas are to be admired even more for the amount of work that must go into them. Not only is The Nightmare Before Christmas beautifully animated it is filled with a rich collection of catchy songs and complementary music. I’ve heard the music to This is Halloween in the Playstation 2 games Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2 and always find myself humming along to the theme whenever I hear it. As memorable as that particular number is I have chosen what is, for me, the film’s best song as the standout scene.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is based around the idea that there are different worlds for all the major holidays and celebrations throughout the year such as Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas and, of course, Halloween. In Halloween Town there is Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, who rules over a dark world of creepy forests, dark fields, castles and inhabited by some scary subjects including bats, vampires, witches, zombies and trick or treating youngsters. Each year Jack and his subjects devote 364 days to the preparations for Halloween where they venture out in force to deliver some real scares. This particular year Jack has grown weary of Halloween and, desiring to be alone, happens upon Christmas Town. Revitalised by the many things he sees, Jack kidnaps Santa Claus and decides he and his subjects will take charge of the Christmas celebrations instead. Not quite understanding Christmas, Jack and his followers end up creating carnage.

Early in the film Jack returns to Halloween Town amidst rapturous applause from his subjects as This is Halloween plays out. Surrounded by adoring subjects, Jack grows impatient and wishes to be alone. The Mayor begins handing out awards to the outstanding residents of Halloween Town and Jack is able to sneak away. He calls a ghost dog, Zero, to join him and begins wandering the outskirts of Halloween Town. The song Jack’s Lament begins with the Pumpkin King reflecting on how weary he is of being the ruler of Halloween Town and how none of his subjects understand the burdens on his shoulders. Jack stands on a spiral hill with the giant full moon in the background as he unburdens his woes, believing no one but Zero can hear his lament. Jack is not alone, however, with his love interest in the film, Sally, listening in and feeling sorrow for his plight. Jack’s Lament is the best song in the film, beautifully sung and capturing the essence of a tortured Jack who doesn’t want to let his subjects down but is desperate to be free of the constraints of being their ruler.

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Dave Brown

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I live in Barnsley, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.
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