nightmare before christmas halloween

It’s one of the greatest cinematic controversies of all time. Since international law allows you to only watch The Nightmare Before Christmas once per year, fans of the 1993 stop-motion animated musical have long debated the more appropriate time to view the film. Is it a weird and creepy Christmas movie, or a Halloween movie with with a peppermint-flavored candy shell? It only took 22 years, but someone finally decided to ask director Henry Selick, who gave the definitive answer: it’s an October movie.

Find Selick’s reasoning for the Nightmare Before Christmas Halloween movie label after the jump.

The Telluride Horror Show film festival hosted a special screening of The Nightmare Before Christmas yesterday, with Selick himself in attendance. Devin Faraci of Birth Movies Death moderated the post-film Q&A and bore witness when a young girl in the audience asked if the film was a Christmas movie or a Halloween movie. Selick then made the cold, hard truth known:

It’s a Halloween movie.

So there you go. Selick did elaborate, explaining that the movie is about how the citizens of Halloween Town react to something as foreign and abstract as Christmas, but there’s your headline. The man who made the movie has made it clear that you are only allowed to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas on Halloween and never on Christmas. That’s that.

In all seriousness, we think we agree with Selick here. After all, here’s a movie about a singing skeleton and his ghoulish companions who pervert Christmas for their own insane ends. The final lesson isn’t “Christmas warms the hearts of all!” The final message is “That spooky skeleton’s mid-life crisis is over and now he can return to scaring the crap out of children and such.” The joyful grotesqueries of The Nightmare Before Christmas work so well with the playful, spooky atmosphere of Halloween. It’s one of the great kid-friendly horror movies, much like Selick’s own Coraline.

Previously, Disney has hedged their bets with labeling The Nightmare Before Christmas as belonging to one holiday or the other. The various 3D re-releases of the film have generally been timed to take advantage of both holidays, as has the elaborate annual re-theming of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion attraction. Why make it one or the other when you stand to profit from both seasons? You just know that at least one Disney accountant has a Selick-induced headache this morning.

A quick aside – the Haunted Mansion Holiday is pretty dang cool:

Cool Posts From Around the Web: