FACE-OFF: is “The Nightmare Before Christmas” a Halloween or Christmas movie?

Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is a multi-seasonal cult classic including whimsical spooks, quirks and laughs. It simultaneously scares and warms the heart through both the Halloween and Christmas settings present. However, it is commonly wondered which holiday category this film should fall under. It presents itself with stereotypical characters found within decorations in both seasons but does not draw a definite line upon where this movie belongs.

The appearance of Christmas in the title should not automatically sway one to lean towards the winter season in this debate. While the movie does include elements like Santa Claus and colder weather in its plot line, the main characters and main setting are what determine the seasonal genre for this film. Jack Skellington does obsess over the idea of Christmas Town, but again, it is important to remember the skeletal and dark nature of this character.

Patrick Cremona of RadioTimes.com outlines the importance of the spooky style of Sally, a blue, tattered rag doll, and Jack Skellington as well as their hometown of Halloweentown to further justify why this movie belongs in the fall. The large portion of Halloween imagery allows the scary tone to completely overlap the possible warm, fuzzy winter vibe one might get from seeing Christmas Town and snow. Cremona mentions the recurrent Jack and Sally Halloween costumes that appear each year to further instill proof of a Halloween victory.

The film was released on Oct. 29 and was created by a man known for his dark, amusing masterpieces. It is just another one of Tim Burton's spooky and creepy pieces with the addition of Christmas spirit to maintain its relevance twice a year. "The Nightmare Before Christmas" portrays itself in a similar reflection to Burton's other frightening films such as "Corpse Bride," "Beetlejuice" and "Edward Scissorhands."

According to Dana Rose Falcone of Entertainment Weekly, Henry Selick, the director of the film, proclaimed "The Nightmare Before Christmas" to be a Halloween film. If the director expressing the true genre of this film is not convincing, then what else could be? Let us remember that the director is the person who essentially leads the production and crew towards the overall creative vision, so Selick's admission further defined his own creative lead toward the Halloween genre.

Patrick Ryan of USA Today shows that along with the director, composer and voice of Jack Skellington, Danny Elfman, also felt this movie belonged within the Halloween category. Elfman agreed that the movie was about Christmas, but he felt that his own personal experiences and feelings towards the Halloween season allowed him to lean towards the spookier position.

The argument for "The Nightmare Before Christmas" to be classified as a Halloween movie has proved itself to be verifiably strong. Ignoring the plot line and Yuletide presence, the spooky characters, setting and conclusion of the film reveal itself to be a great choice for the fall season and possibly even a great influence for a Halloween costume this year.

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