20 Things You Didn’t Know About The Nightmare Before Christmas for its 20th Anniversary!

‘Tis the season, that time of year when we watch what has become a Halloween AND Christmas classic — the Tim Burton film The Nightmare Before Christmas. Basically, it’s a film that has a big hold on three months of merry making. And this year is particularly significant for The Nightmare Before Christmas, because the film is celebrating it’s 20th — yes 20th — anniversary.

And you know what? The film has continued to grow in popularity with new The Nightmare Before Christmas fans being brought into the Tim Burton fan club each and every year. While we have all seen The Nightmare Before Christmas one, two, or twenty times, there are some things you may not know about the film. Check out these 20 things you didn’t know about The Nightmare Before Christmas right here:

  • 20 Things You Didn’t Know About The Nightmare Before Christmas 1 of 20

    Click through to find out more about this beloved Tim Burton classic!

  • Origins 2 of 20
    "Sweeney Todd" Rome Photocall

    The first incarnation of The Nightmare Before Christmas was a poem that Tim Burton wrote when he was an animator at Disney in the early 1980s. It was a response to TV specials like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas.


    Oh, and you have got to hear this — the one and only Christopher Lee reading Tim Burton's original poem. Check it out here.

  • The Original Idea 3 of 20

    His original inspiration came when he reportedly saw the Halloween merchandise in a store being replaced by Christmas goods. It was a jarring juxtaposition in his eyes and fodder for his film.

    Photo Source: Disney

  • Henry Selick 4 of 20
    The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D World Premiere

    Tim Burton had wanted to direct The Nightmare Before Christmas, but he was super busy at the time working on Batman Returns and was also in the midst of pre-production for Ed Wood. Instead, Henry Selick signed on to direct. Tim Burton was only on set for about eight to ten days during the production.


    You may know of Henry Selick's other big films such as Coraline and James and the Giant Peach.

  • Touchstone 5 of 20

    When the first teaser trailer for The Nightmare Before Christmas was released, it was under the Walt Disney Pictures branding. But that changed, and it was released under the more adult film banner Touchstone (which was owned by Disney). At the time, Michael Eisner — the CEO and Chairman of The Walt Disney Company — thought the Tim Burton film was "too dark for kids."


    The film was brought back under the Walt Disney Pictures umbrella in 2006 when the film was released.

  • Tender Lumplings 6 of 20

    There is an odd phrase in the song "This is Halloween" that says, "tender lumplings everywhere..." Tender lumplings? Doesn't make much sense, until you find out that that this is a title of a song by the film's composer Danny Elfman and his old band Oingo Boingo.

  • Patrick Stewart 7 of 20
    "A Time to Kill" Broadway Opening Night - Arrivals

    The original introduction for the film was performed by the one and only Patrick Stewart, which is something you can hear on the film's soundtrack. But really, Patrick Stewart should introduce EVERYTHING. I love that voice of his.


    You can hear Patrick Stewart's rendition right here. 

    Photo Source: PR Photos

  • Behemoth 8 of 20

    The character Behemoth was reportedly based on the Swedish B-movie actor and wrestler Tor Johnson. And a ironic side note: while The Nightmare Before Christmas was being produced, Tim Burton was working on the film Ed Wood, a film based on the director who brought us Plan 9 from Outer Space, which starred Tor Johnson!

    Photo Source: Disney and Wikipedia

  • Innovation! 9 of 20

    During the production of The Nightmare Before Christmas, there were some unique innovations developed to make things go more smoothly. One was the "light alarm," which was a warning system so that animators would know if the stage lights didn't come on. The other was that they developed a way to swap out the puppets seamlessly without ruining the shot.

    Photo Source: Disney via Maha Copia

  • Chris Sarandon 10 of 20
    2012 Monsterpalooza - The Art of Monsters - Day 3

    Chris Sarandon was the voice of Jack Skellington, but he did not do the singing. He apparently didn't have the pipes for the songs; instead, Danny Elfman, who wrote the music, sang all of Jack's numbers.  You might recognize Chris Sarandon in another iconic role, that of Prince Humperdinck in The Princess Bride. And did you know who he was married to? Susan Sarandon! That's how she got the last name.

    Photo Source: PR Photos

  • The Original Three 11 of 20

    In the original story (or poem), there were only three characters: Jack, Zero, and Santa. The other characters were created for the film.  Yes, not even Sally was in the original!

    Photo Source: Disney

  • Catherine O’Hara 12 of 20
    "Where the Wild Things Are" New York Premiere - Arrivals

    Did you know that Sally was voiced by Catherine O'Hara? You might recognize her from Home Alone and Christopher Guest's Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind. She also did voice work in Tim Burton's Frankenweenie, playing Weird Girl/Mrs. Frankenstein. And who can forget her as Delia Deetz in Beetlejuice?

    Photo Source: PR Photos

  • The Band 13 of 20

    If you look very closely, you'll notice a head inside the upright bass — that figure is based on Danny Elfman! Yes, I never noticed that either.

    Photo Source: Disney

  • Danny Elfman 14 of 20
    "Real Steel" Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals

    What did Danny Elfman think of the gig? He once said that The Nightmare Before Christmas was "one of the easiest jobs I've ever had. I had a lot in common with Jack Skellington."


    And later this month, Danny Elfman will be performing songs from the film LIVE! You can check out details here.

    Photo Source: PR Photos

  • Glenn Shadix 15 of 20

    The Mayor of Halloween Town was voiced by Glenn Shadix. You might recognize him as Otho from Beetlejuice!

    Photo Source:

  • Jack Skellington Cameos! 16 of 20

    Jack Skellington does indeed escape Halloween Town, but he escaped into different movies! Jack has had several cameos in other movies such as: Beetlejuice, Coraline, James and Giant Peach, Sleepy Hollow, Alice in Wonderland, and Vincent.

    Photo Source: Disney

  • Vincent Price 17 of 20

    Vincent Price originally was going to play Santa Claus, but he had recently lost his wife and his own health wasn't doing so well. Price's voice was very weak and not strong enough for the film, so he had to be recast. And did you know that Vincent Price voiced Tim Burton's early film Vincent?

    Photo Source: Wiki Commons

  • There Was Talk Of A Nightmare 2! 18 of 20

    In 2001, Disney wanted to make a sequel to The Nightmare Before Christmas. They did not want it to be a stop motion film, but rather a glossy computer animated film. Tim Burton convinced them to drop the idea.


    "I was always very protective of [Nightmare] not to do sequels or things of that kind," Burton explained. "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."

  • Cameos in The Nightmare Before Christmas 19 of 20

    There are a couple of cameos that were put into The Nightmare Before Christmas. For example, a cat from Burton's short Vincent is in the beginning knocking over a trash can, some believe that the snake in the film looks a lot like the Sandworms from Beetlejuice, and one of the toys that Jack Skellington has looks just like the Penguin's vehicle in Batman Returns (which Tim Burton was directing).

    Photo Source: Disney

  • Nightmare Before Christmas at Disneyland! 20 of 20

    Since 2001, the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland has been taken over by Jack Skellington and his friends! An imagineer spoke of the transformation, saying, "At first, the team thought that ... the concept sounded easy. But as we got into it, we realized it wasn't." He added that, "The creative team set out to create a holiday attraction that was ... so over the top and ambitious, it would either succeed ... or fail miserably!" And succeed it did!

    Photo Source: Disney

Also, you have to check out the special The Nightmare Before Christmas second screen live screenings in select theaters where you can interact with the movie while you watch it!

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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