List of The Nightmare Before Christmas characters

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First appearanceThe Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Created byTim Burton
Voiced byCatherine O'Hara (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Attractions)
Kath Soucie (Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II and The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge)
Yuko Doi (Japanese)
  (Redirected from Oogie Boogie)
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The main characters in The Nightmare Before Christmas from left to right Doctor Finklestein, the Mayor, Sally, Jack, Barrel, Santa Claus, Zero, Lock, Shock and Oogie Boogie.

This article lists fictional characters seen in the film The Nightmare Before Christmas and two video games: The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King and The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge.


The filmmakers constructed 230 puppets to represent the characters in the movie, with Jack Skellington having "around eight hundred heads", allowing the expression of every possible emotion.[1] Sally's mouth movements "were animated through the replacement method. During the animation process,...only Sally's face 'mask' was removed in order to preserve the order of her long red hair. Sally had ten types of faces, each made with a series of eleven expressions (e.g. eyes open and closed, and various facial poses) and synchronised mouth movements."[2]

Main characters[edit]

Jack Skellington[edit]

Main article: Jack Skellington

The film's protagonist, Jack Skellington is a dreaded nightmarish skeleton with the alias of The Pumpkin King.[3][4] Under that alias, he is the titular hero of the prequel video game The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King. He is popular among the inhabitants of Halloween Town, due to his charming personality and aim to please. Despite a lack of inhibition, he means well. He is in charge of Halloween. Having not left it within many years (as heard in the song Jack's Lament where he mentions England, Kentucky and France), he felt his inspiration for his own holiday waning. Christmas Town gave him new ideas and inspiration. He also appears in The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge.[5]

He is voiced by Chris Sarandon, and his singing voice is provided by Danny Elfman.[6][7]

Jack Skellington made cameos in the film James and the Giant Peach as the "pirate captain".[8] Jack Skellington appears in the Robot Chicken episode "Anne Marie's Pride" voiced by Victor Yerrid.[9]


First appearanceThe Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Created byTim Burton
Voiced byCatherine O'Hara (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Attractions)
Kath Soucie (Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II and The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge)
Yuko Doi (Japanese)

Sally is Jack Skellington's love interest. She is a very pretty, loving, caring, and shy rag doll who told Jack that Christmas and Halloween shouldn't be mixed. She is originally patched together by Doctor Finkelstein. She is the only one to have doubts about Jack's Christmas plan. Although her creator attempts to keep her constantly imprisoned, she often manages escape with deadly nightshade she slips him, causing him to fall asleep. Nightshade is a flower that grows atop the grave of a dead witch, as seen before Jack's first song which induces temporary somnolence upon consumption. This becomes essential to Sally managing to trick the Doctor and escape. Despite her makeshift appearance, Sally is a determined individual with a good feel for what is right. Fiona Apple provides the vocals for "Sally's Song" on the 2006 special edition of The Nightmare Before Christmas: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, while Amy Lee provides the vocals for "Sally's Song" on Nightmare Revisited. She also appears in Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge.[10]

Sally is a rag doll-type character, with detachable limbs stuffed with fall leaves. She often falls apart, requiring her to sew herself back together, and carries a set of sewing needles and thread for precisely that purpose. She was created by Doctor Finklestein, Halloween Town's resident mad scientist, as a companion. Their relationship is rather tense, as Finklestein insists on keeping Sally under lock and key, under the pretext of protecting her from the excitement of the outside world. However Sally is restless, and is intrigued by the wonders of the outside world.

It is this restlessness, or, more specifically, this desire for something better in her life, that draws her to Jack Skellington. In the beginning of the movie, she idolizes and admires Jack much like any of the other female members of Halloween Town; however, she quickly discovers that they are connected by the desire for something more in their lives, and her feelings for him intensify. The two refer to each other as "friends", though Jack seems unaware of Sally's true feelings for him, as she is too shy to make them known to him other than through her sweet actions, however this could be argued because after Boogie's defeat, Jack and Sally are left alone and Jack sees that Sally tried her best to help him. Thus prompting him to finally realize how much she cares for him and how much he loves her in return.

On the album to the film it is mentioned that years later Sandy Claws returned to Halloween Town and saw that Jack now had four or five skeleton children of his own. Many fans of the film and of the franchise assume that given the ending to the film, that Jack and Sally eventually got married and had a family of their own.

Bryan Theiss declares that "Sally is one of those rare fantasy characters we can relate to on a certain level as much as we can to real-world characters on a more literal level."[11]

Sally's voice was played by Catherine O'Hara throughout the movie,[7][8] and Kath Soucie in the video game spin-offs.

Oogie Boogie[edit]

Oogie Boogie
First appearanceThe Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Created byTim Burton
Voiced byKen Page

Oogie Boogie is the main antagonist of the film. Oogie Boogie is essentially the Bogeyman, resembling a large burlap sack. When Oogie Boogie is defeated, it is revealed that he is a colony of bugs wrapped in sacking.

Oogie Boogie did not appear in Tim Burton's original poem, but Burton later sketched a portrait of what appeared to be a potato sack man with horrible things inside.[12] The Oogie puppet was two feet high, twice the height of the other puppets.[12] In his autobiography Burton on Burton, Burton says that Oogie Boogie was loosely inspired by Cab Calloway's 1932 appearance in a Betty Boop cartoon, and that he asked Danny Elfman to make Oogie's song in Nightmare slightly resemble Calloway's 1931 recording of the song "Minnie the Moocher". Elfman ended up referencing the Betty Boop cartoon The Old Man of the Mountain (1933), also featuring Calloway. Santa's line "Well, what are you going to do?" and Oogie Boogie's response of "I'm gonna do the best I can!" are direct quotes from this cartoon. Another idea for Oogie's identity was for him to be Dr. Finklestein in disguise, gaining revenge on Jack and Sally, but it was not pursued past storyboards since Tim Burton scrapped the idea. This is visible on the Special Edition DVD.

Unlike all the other inhabitants of Halloween Town, who are merely monsters who scare people simply because they enjoy it as a celebration of their skill and fun, it appears that Oogie is truly evil. It is suggested that his sinister nature had resulted in his exile from the mainstream Halloween Town. He lives in an underground lair full of torture devices, each of which features a casino-like appearance. Red skeletons — implied to be the remains of previous victims — are in several of the devices, and overhanging chains are used as perches by skeletal bats. Oogie Boogie's lair, during his theme song, is lit with black lights in the style of a cheap funhouse. Under these, Oogie himself glows bright green, similar to a glow stick. After the lights dim, however, the bright color is sapped from his lair, transforming its appearance into that of a dank, cellar-like dungeon. Above his lair is the clubhouse of Lock, Shock, and Barrel, who feed him bugs regularly via a metal chute. It is at first believed that Oogie cannot be killed or die but it is later revealed he can be destroyed if his brain, the lead bug, is destroyed. In the movie, Lock, Shock and Barrel kidnap Santa Claus and (against the wishes of Jack, who holds Oogie in great contempt) send him down to Oogie Boogie's lair, where he is bound to a giant roulette wheel. According to deleted song material (found in the soundtrack version), Oogie plans to add "Sandy Claws" to his new batch of Snake and Spider Stew, to "add a little Spice". Sally, after finding out Santa's fate, attempts to rescue him but is captured herself. Oogie then tortures and tries to kill Sally and Santa Claus, but is destroyed when Jack pulls a thread loose from him, which causes the majority of his bugs to fall into the lava pit. The lead bug is then squashed by Santa after it falls next to the pit. The rest of the bugs scurry off after this.

In The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King, Oogie's origins and the birth of his rivalry with Jack were revealed. As it turns out, he once had his own holiday, Bug Day, that was (most likely) forgotten by the people of the real world and thus vanished. Unfortunately, Oogie escaped, found Halloween Town and decided that it would be the new Bug Day. He and his army of insects invaded the town and nearly took it over. Jack found out and he defeated the bugs and Oogie. Oogie survived the battle, learned to fear the Pumpkin King, and was banished to his underground lair.

In the 2004 video game The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge, Oogie was resurrected by his henchmen Lock, Shock and Barrel, who sewed him together. He quickly deceived the residents of Halloween Town and tricked the townspeople into making traps for Jack stating that Jack wouldn't return if they can make an even scarier Halloween for next year. Oogie attempted to become the Seven Holidays King. He successfully kidnapped the real leaders and tried to murder Santa Claus again, but his plans were foiled by Jack. Desperate, Oogie puts up a fight in the junkyard by turning into a gigantic junk-filled version of himself named "Mega-Oogie", but he is again destroyed.

Oogie also appears with other in Disney Halloween events such as the Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland, and the fireworks show HalloWishes at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World during "Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party" separate-admission ("hard ticket") event.

Despite the fact that he is hated for the most part by the other inhabitants of Halloween Town, it appears they still allow him to take part in their celebration, as his shadow makes an appearance in the opening musical "This Is Halloween" as the "shadow on the moon at night, filling your dreams to the brim with fright". In the version of "This Is Halloween" that was heard on The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge, a different voice was heard when it came to the shadow on the moon part.

He is voiced by Ken Page in all of his appearances.[13]

Oogie Boogie also appears in the video game Kingdom Hearts as a member of Maleficent's team of Disney villains. He appears again in the sequel Kingdom Hearts II, where he attempts to turn Santa into a Heartless, and in the interquel Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories as an enemy based on Sora's memories of him.

Doctor Finklestein[edit]

Doctor Finklestein
First appearanceThe Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Created byTim Burton
Voiced byWilliam Hickey (film)
Jess Harnell (video games)

Doctor Finklestein is a resident of Halloween Town. He is the mad scientist and the "father" of Sally. He is described as a pale-as-a-sheet mad scientist with a duckbill-like mouth and a hinged skullcap that he can open up to reveal his brain. For unknown reasons he uses a motorized wheelchair (early drawings of Finklestein depict him standing freely, and his original action figure followed this example, implying he was not always intended to be a wheelchair user). Finklestein is only referred to as the "Evil Scientist" in the credits. His true name is only mentioned in the movie when the Mayor calls him up to the front of the line for his Christmas assignment.

Doctor Finklestein lives in a large observatory with his living rag doll creation Sally[14] and his hunchbacked assistant Igor. James Whale's Frankenstein is quoted in Finklestein's line "I made you with my own hands" which is ironic as Finklestein's body appears to be largely if not entirely artificial. Unlike Frankenstein who takes no responsibility for his creations and disowns them almost as soon as they are completed (much like the original Dr. Frankenstein), Finklestein takes full responsibility over Sally and acts as an over-protective father and in some ways an overbearing husband (thus explaining Sally's attempts to run away) by keeping her under lock and key under the pretext of sheltering her from the world. In addition to being an overbearing and antagonistic father figure for Sally to overcome, Finklestein also has a hand in helping Jack Skellington (of whom he seems to be very fond) with his plan to take over Christmas by bringing to life several skeletal reindeer to pull Jack's sleigh. At the end of the film, Finklestein, deciding that Sally is too much of a handful, creates a wife for himself using a portion of his own brain.

Dr. Finklestein is featured in The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge. When Jack is tired of doing the same thing at Halloween, Dr. Finklestein helps him by giving him the Soul Robber, a weapon that allows Jack to change its shape. Jack also tells Dr. Finklestein to watch over the town while he is away. After Oogie Boogie's revival, Dr. Finklestein was under Oogie's control by switching his brain to a different one and created monsters that obey Oogie Boogie's every command. Fortunately, Jack was able to put Dr. Finklestein's original brain back in place making Dr. Finklestein break from Oogie's control. In the game spin-offs, Finklestein's name is pronounced "steen" instead of "stein". For some reason, his wife creation "Jewel" is not present in the game, and Sally appears to still be living with him even though in the movie she appeared to be free at the end. Sally even says "He insists on keeping me locked up" while next to the Hanging Tree in the Graveyard.

Finklestein also appears in Kingdom Hearts and other games in the series. When the Heartless appear in Halloween Town, Jack thinks of adding them to the Halloween celebrations and asks Dr. Finklestein for advice. Realizing that the Heartless need a heart, the two find the ingredients for one: pulse and emotion (terror, fear, hope, and despair). Their initial experiment fails, and Dr. Finklestein sends Jack off with Sora and the gang to retrieve two more ingredients, memory and surprise, thus completing the heart. However, the heart is stolen by Oogie Boogie. In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, created from Sora's memories, Dr. Finklestein creates a potion that allows people to see their true memory. The only problem is that once he sniffed the potion, Heartless appeared. In Kingdom Hearts II Finklestein creates an experiment aided by Lock, Shock, and Barrel. As the Experiment has no heart, it goes on a rampage to steal gifts, in an attempt to understand the emotions behind giving and gain a heart of its own. Sadly, Sora and the gang have no choice but to destroy the Experiment.

Dr. Finklestein was voiced by William Hickey in the film[13] and by Jess Harnell in the video game spin-offs. His Japanese voice is provided by Yūji Mitsuya.

Mayor of Halloween Town[edit]

The Mayor of Halloween Town
First appearanceThe Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Created byTim Burton
Voiced byGlenn Shadix (film, Kingdom Hearts II, Oogie's Revenge)
Jeff Bennett (Kingdom Hearts)

The Mayor of Halloween Town is depicted as a short, fat man, who has the appearance of a giant candy corn with a cone-shaped head, wearing an impossibly tall top hat, a spider bolo tie, and a ribbon of office that says "Mayor" on it. His cone-shaped head has two faces. One face is peach-skinned, rosy-cheeked, and smiling while the other face is white-skinned, pale and frowning with pointed teeth. Depending on the Mayor's mood, his head swivels around to display the right face with a loud clicking sound; the other face, when not in use, has its eyes closed and is considered dormant. This split personality is likely inspired by Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and is a literal interpretation of the phrase "two-faced politicians".

Despite his office, the Mayor apparently has very little actual authority in the day-to-day running of the town, or has very little confidence in his leadership skills, especially in planning for Halloween. This is attested when he arrives at Jack Skellington's house to discuss some plans with him, not knowing that Jack is not home. When Jack does not answer, the Mayor quickly gets hysterical and yells, more to himself than anyone, "Jack, please, I'm only an elected official here! I can't make decisions by myself!". Nonetheless, the Mayor seems to enjoy his position. He apparently owns the only automobile in town....a hearse-like car called the "Mayor-mobile" that is equipped with a loudspeaker for making announcements and a black, cat-shaped hood ornament that sounds a siren when its tail is cranked. The Mayor supports Jack and helps him in his quest to bring his own version of Christmas to the world, despite his secret misgivings about it. When Jack is apparently killed by the US Army, the Mayor openly admits he had a bad feeling about "this Christmas thing," and sorrowfully goes off in his Mayor-mobile to make the announcement throughout Halloween Town and the surrounding countryside that "the king of Halloween has been blown to smithereens". Later, he is told by Lock, Shock, and Barrel that Jack is in over his head and alive, and comes to retrieve him and Sally after Oogie Boogie has been defeated. The Mayor of Halloween Town is among the citizens surprised (and once again uneasy) when it starts snowing in Halloween Town, but when he catches a snowflake on his tongue, his head swivels around to reveal his pleased expression.

The Mayor of Halloween Town appears in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. His role in both games is fairly minor. In the first game, he helps Jack and Sora find an ingredient they need for the heart Dr. Finklestein is making. In the second game, he tries to stop two Heartless outbreaks by yelling at the Heartless through his megaphone, but has no success.

In The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge, the Mayor is seen in the opening cut scene congratulating Jack on another "horrible" Halloween. He is later seen in the level "Mayor's Madhouse" where Jack rescues him from a cage hanging from the roof of his house. While Jack goes to Christmas Town, the Mayor frees the other holiday leaders.

He is voiced by Glenn Shadix in the film, Oogie's Revenge, and Kingdom Hearts II.[13] and by Jeff Bennett in Kingdom Hearts. His Japanese voice actor is Tōru Ōhira.

Lock, Shock and Barrel[edit]

Lock, Shock, and Barrel
First appearanceThe Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Created byTim Burton
Voiced byPaul Reubens (Lock)
Catherine O'Hara (Shock)
Danny Elfman (Barrel)

Lock, Shock, and Barrel are introduced as Oogie Boogie's not-so-loyal "little henchmen". The children, Lock, Shock, and Barrel are not completely loyal to Oogie as they are simply making mischief for their own fun and to stay on his good side (in other words: they serve him out of fear) and after his death they just have harmless fun, which they seem to enjoy more; however, this is contrasted by their lack of common sense as, presumably due to their lust for mischief they have shown no protest when their master was revived in the spinoffs, and once out of boredom revived him themselves in "Oogie's Revenge".. They all three are trick-or-treaters, with masks similar to their faces(e.g. Barrel's skeleton mask is large and round to fit his face, with a huge grin on it like his near-permanent creepy smile). Their names are a play on the phrase, "lock, stock, and barrel." Though not totally antagonistic, they are usually the comedy relief. They appear to be Anti-heroes or merely neutral characters, as they'll work for most of those who summon them.

Instructing them to "leave that no-account Oogie Boogie OUT of this!" (they promise to do so, but cross their fingers), Jack sends Lock, Shock, and Barrel to "Kidnap the Sandy Claws" (the Halloween Town residents' mistaken name for Santa Claus). At first, they accidentally capture the Easter Bunny, whereupon Jack tells them to apologize and sends them back. They then capture their true quarry, and Jack takes Santa's hat. The trio then take Santa Claus to Oogie's lair, where Oogie taunts and threatens Santa. Once Jack has defeated Oogie and rescued Santa Claus, a hatch above opens and Lock, Shock, and Barrel appear now protagonists, having led the Mayor to Oogie's lair to find them.

In The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King, Oogie Boogie sends Lock, Shock, and Barrel out to nab the new "Pumpkin King." They come back with Sally instead, saying she looked like Jack in the dark. Throughout the game, they are behind most of the ruckus going on around town ranging from poisoning the acid pools, driving the leeches crazy, knocking down the town's street lamps, luring Jack into death traps, and helping Oogie in the final battle.

In The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge, Lock, Shock, and Barrel decide to revive Oogie Boogie when Jack leaves Halloween Town. In the game, Jack encounters the three one by one. In chapter 15, the threesome try to stop Jack a final time in their mobile bathtub. He defeats them yet they spring a trap and drop him into a maze in Oogie's lair. They do not appear again in the game afterwards.

In Kingdom Hearts, after hearing Jack speak of a heart that can control the Heartless, Oogie sends the three out to steal the heart as his plan to take over Halloween Town. After the three are defeated by Sora, Donald, and Goofy, they confess that Oogie made them do it. Later in the game they comment how quiet Halloween town has become without Oogie and consider making a ruckus just to liven things up. In Kingdom Hearts 382/2 Days, the three found a Heartless and raised it before it became too big for them to control.

In Kingdom Hearts II, Lock, Shock, and Barrel start off working as Doctor Finklestein's (Not very obedient) lab assistants, until they encounter Maleficent, who revives Oogie Boogie for them and gives them the "Prison Keeper" Heartless to hold off Sora and company. The monster keeps the children in a cage underneath its body, but swallows one of them to act as its "pilot", each giving the monster a different ability and appearance, ultimately swallowing all three of them attacking Sora and party with its full repertoire. After its defeat, the trio run off saying it was 'fun' and unintentionally reveal Oogie's return. In the second visit, the three are accused of stealing presents after they enter Santa's workshop and are caught looking through gifts. Sora and the party have to fight these mischievous rascals by knocking them unconscious and putting them in boxes. In the end, the three claim that they did not steal the presents, as they regard Christmas toys to be boring, while revealing that they were actually looking for parts for Doctor Finklestein's Experiment. They also cause mischief as obstacles in the "Making Presents" mini game, before and after the fight with the Experiment. After the battle they run off, not to be seen again in the game.

In the movie, Lock was voiced by Paul Reubens, Shock was voiced by Catherine O'Hara, and Barrel was voiced by Danny Elfman.[13] In the Kingdom Hearts series, Lock was voiced by Jess Harnell, Shock was voiced by Kath Soucie, and Barrel was voiced by Jeff Bennett. In The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge, Paul Reubens reprised the role of Lock, Kath Soucie reprised the role of Shock from the "Kingdom Hearts" series, and Dee Bradley Baker voiced Barrel.

Despite having apparently reformed at the end of the film in later appearances they have reverted to being antagonist;this suggests that they like working for Oogie Boogie more than being good.

Santa Claus[edit]

Santa Claus
First appearanceThe Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Created byTim Burton
Voiced byEd Ivory (The Nightmare Before Christmas)
Corey Burton (video games)

Santa Claus (or Sandy Claws as Jack calls him) is the leader of Christmas Town. When Jack stumbles upon the town, he becomes mesmerized with the holiday and he tries to bring Christmas to Halloween Town. In order to do so, Jack orders Lock, Shock, and Barrel to kidnap Santa on Christmas Eve so Jack can take his place for the Christmas season. The three then take Santa to Oogie Boogie where the holiday figure's life is threatened. A last minute rescue helps save not only Santa, but the entire holiday of Christmas as well. Santa Claus manages to round up the living gifts and replace them with the right ones.

In The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge, Oogie Boogie targets Santa Claus and leaves him hanging over the tracks for his scissor-tipped Oogie Train to drop him. Santa Claus was saved by Jack Skellington. When Oogie Boogie hijacked Santa's sleigh, Jack lets him use the same sleigh he used when Jack tried to improvise Christmas.

Santa Claus appears in Kingdom Hearts II. Sora, Donald Duck, and Goofy meet Santa Claus when they follow Jack Skellington to Christmas Town. He also made a reference about how Jack Skellington tried to improvise Christmas. Maleficent revives Oogie Boogie and sends him to capture Santa Claus. When Sora defeats Oogie Boogie, Santa Claus tells Jack that he should concentrate on Halloween and Santa should concentrate on Christmas. He also tells Sora to believe that he will meet Riku again. Later on, Santa's presents get stolen by Dr. Finklestein's Experiment. He helps Jack make decoy presents to attract the Experiment. Jack and company get them back by hiding in a decoy present. After they defeat the Experiment, Santa Claus decides to give Jack a taste of what it's like to deliver Christmas presents. When Jack finishes delivering presents, Santa takes back his sleigh and brings forth beautiful snow drops as a present to those in Halloween Town.

Santa Claus is voiced by Ed Ivory in the movie and by Corey Burton in the video game spin-offs.


First appearanceThe Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Created byTim Burton

Zero is Jack's faithful ghost dog who floats about freely and follows Jack wherever he goes. His nose, which is in the shape of a jack-o-lantern, also doubles as a bright light.

Minor characters[edit]

Halloween Town residents[edit]

Halloween Town-based Toys[edit]

The following toys were created by the citizens of Halloween Town:

Christmas Town residents[edit]


The owners of the franchise have undertaken an extensive marketing campaign of these characters across many media. In addition to the "Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland" featuring "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas characters,"[22] Jack Skellington, Sally, Pajama Jack, and the mayor have been made into Bendies figures,[23] while Jack and Sally even appear in fine art.[24] Moreover, Sally has been made into an action figure and a Halloween costume.[25] The Mayor has been made into a Bendies figure.[23] Jack is also the titular character in the short story "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Jack's story."[26]

Oddly enough, Jim Edwards actually contends that "Tim Burton's animated movie The Nightmare Before Christmas is really a movie about the marketing business. The movie's lead character, Jack Skellington, the chief marketing officer (CMO) for a successful company decides that his success is boring and he wants the company to have a different business plan. Some have wondered which real-life company failure the movie is based on: Sergio Zyman's New Coke or Merck's launch and subsequent withdrawal of Vioxx."[27]


While Yvonne Tasker notes "the complex characterization seen in The Nightmare Before Christmas,"[28] Michael A. Morrison discusses the influence of Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas on the film, writing that Jack parallels the Grinch and Zero parallels Max, the Grinch's dog.[29] Philip Nel writes that the film "challenges the wisdom of adults through its trickster characters" contrasting Jack as a "good trickster" with Oogie Boogie, whom he also compares with Dr. Seuss's Dr. Terwilliker, as a bad trickster.[30] Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic see the characters as presented in a more negative light and criticise the film's characters as having racial constructs, with the protagonists using "whitespeak" and the antagonist, Oogie Boogie, using "blackspeak."[31]

This perception was not entirely unanticipated by the filmmakers. Danny Elfman was worried the characterization of Oogie Boogie would be considered racist by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).[32] As Delgado and Stefancic's book reveals, Elfman's predictions became true. Nevertheless, director Henry Selick stated the character was inspired from the Betty Boop cartoon The Old Man of the Mountain. "Cab Calloway would dance his inimitable jazz dance and sing "Minnie the Moocher" or "Old Man of the Mountain", and they would rotoscope him, trace him, turn him into a cartoon character, often transforming him into an animal, like a walrus," Selick continued. "I think those are some of the most inventive moments in cartoon history, in no way racist, even though he was sometimes a villain. We went with Ken Page, who is a black singer and he had no problem with it".[33]

Regardless of the above controversy, Entertainment Weekly reports that fan reception of these characters borders on obsession, profiling "Laurie and Myk Rudnick a couple who are extremely interested in the motion picture The Nightmare Before Christmas. Their degree of obsession with that film is so great that...they named their son after the real-life person that a character in the film is based on."[34] This enthusiasm for the characters has spread beyond North America to Japan. As Stephen Jones writes, "The Japanese also seemed to go crazy for Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas with a fourteen-inch Jack Skellington doll, a gold 'Millennium' edition and a twelve-inch version dressed in pyjamas; a ten-inch Sandy Claws doll; a reversible pillow featuring Jack; a hand-painted set with Lock, Shock and Barrel, or a similar set of four vampires; a set of pull-back racers featuring Jack's faithful dog Zero...a Zero necklace, and various die-cast Jack key-chains, amongst numerous other items."[35]

Bryan Theiss explains this enthusiasm in The Scarecrow Video Movie Guide: "The last time I went to Disneyland, I saw more Jack Skellington hats than Mickey ears...because Jack and Sally are...those rare fantasy characters we can relate to on a certain level as much as we can to real-world characters on a more literal level."[36] Jamie Frater adds, "Jack is perfectly realized as the 'town hero' who seeks more in his life (or death, as it may be), a place we all find ourselves time to time. Sally is loverlorn and pines for Jack to not only love her, but to just notice her."[37]


  1. ^ Richard Rickitt, Special Effects: The History and Technique (Watson-Guptill, 2000), 159-160.
  2. ^ Maureen Furniss, Art in motion: animation aesthetics (1998), 168.
  3. ^ Jeff Belanger and Kirsten Dalley, The Nightmare Encyclopedia: Your Darkest Dreams Interpreted (Career Press, 2005), 235.
  4. ^ Jacob Steingroot, "A Grown-up's Guide to Halloween Movies: Too embarrassed to put on a costume and go door to door? Take advantage of having no bedtime by staying up late watching our favorite Halloween movies," Premiere (2008).
  5. ^ Ed. H. Leigh Davis, "Jack Skellington," Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge Official Strategy Guide (Indianapolis: Pearson Education, 2006), 2.
  6. ^ Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide: The Experts Guide to the Best Recordings (Backbeat Books, 2001), 997.
  7. ^ a b c Jack Clute and Jack Grant, The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (Macmillan, 1999), 686.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Jerry Beck, The Animated Movie Guide: The Ultimate Illustrated Reference to Cartoon, Stop-motion, And Computer-generated Feature Films (Chicago Review Press, 2005), 127.
  9. ^ "Jack Skellington (Character) from The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)," The Internet Movie Database.
  10. ^ Ed. H. Leigh Davis, "Sally," Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge Official Strategy Guide (Indianapolis: Pearson Education, 2006), 6.
  11. ^ Bryan Theiss, The Scarecrow Video Movie Guide (2004), 35.
  12. ^ a b Thompson, Frank (1993). Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas. 114 Fifth Avenue, New York City, New York: Disney Enterprises. p. 67. ISBN 0-7868-5378-6. 
  13. ^ a b c d Jerry Beck, The Animated Movie Guide: The Ultimate Illustrated Reference to Cartoon, Stop-motion, And Computer-generated Feature Films (Chicago Review Press, 2005), 179.
  14. ^ Doctor Finklestein : That's twice this month since you slipped deadly nightshade in my tea and run off.
    Sally: (correcting him) Three times.
    Doctor Finklestein : You're mine, you know! I made you! With my own hands... (The Nightmare Before Christmas)
  15. ^ Ed. H. Leigh Davis, "Clown," Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge Official Strategy Guide (Indianapolis: Pearson Education, 2006), 5.
  16. ^ Ed. H. Leigh Davis, "Corpse Kid," Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge Official Strategy Guide (Indianapolis: Pearson Education, 2006), 9.
  17. ^ a b
  18. ^ Ed. H. Leigh Davis, "Hanging Men" and "Hanging Tree," Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge Official Strategy Guide (Indianapolis: Pearson Education, 2006), 6.
  19. ^ Ed. H. Leigh Davis, "Three Mr. Hydes," Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge Official Strategy Guide (Indianapolis: Pearson Education, 2006), 8.
  20. ^ Ed. H. Leigh Davis, "Vampire Brothers," Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge Official Strategy Guide (Indianapolis: Pearson Education, 2006), 7.
  21. ^ Ed. H. Leigh Davis, "Tall Witch" and "Short Witch," Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge Official Strategy Guide (Indianapolis: Pearson Education, 2006), 8.
  22. ^ Ramin Setoodeh, "HAUNTED PARKS," Newsweek 144.16 (10/18/2004): 73.
  23. ^ a b Frederick J. Augustyn, Dictionary of Toys and Games in American Popular Culture (Haworth Press, 2004), 18.
  24. ^ "New Disney Fine Art: Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas Limited Edition by Artist Jim Salvati," TechWhack (November 3rd, 2008).
  25. ^ For an image of a Sally costume, see Bobwilson, "Halloween gives teens a chance to scare, be silly," AVALANCHE-JOURNAL (10/31/2008).
  26. ^ tk, "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Jack's story," Disney Scary Storybook Collection (New York: Disney Press, 2003.), 5.
  27. ^ Jim Edwards, "Jack Skellington, Brand Manager," Brandweek 47.40 (10/30/2006): 21.
  28. ^ Yvonne Tasker, Fifty Contemporary Filmmakers (Routledge, 2002), 76.
  29. ^ Michael A. Morrison, Trajectories of the Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Fourteenth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997), 154.
  30. ^ Philip Nel, Dr. Seuss: American Icon (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004), 95.
  31. ^ Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, Critical White Studies: Looking Behind the Mirror (Temple University Press, 1997), 281.
  32. ^ Ken Hanke (1999). "Burtonland". Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker. Renaissance Books. pp. 137—148. ISBN 1-58063-162-2. 
  33. ^ David Helpern (December 1994). "Animated Dreams", Sight & Sound, pp. 33—37. Retrieved on 2008-09-26.
  34. ^ "OBSESSIVE FANS OF THE WEEK!" in Entertainment Weekly 909 (12/1/2006): 6.
  35. ^ Stephen Jones, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2002), 75.
  36. ^ Bryan Theiss, The Scarecrow Video Movie Guide (Sasquatch Books, 2004), 35.
  37. ^ Jamie Frater, "Top Ten Kids' Movies Adults Will Love," The Ultimate Book of Top 10 Lists: A Mind-Boggling Collection of Fun, Fascinating and Bizarre Facts on Movies, Music, Sports, Crime, Celebrities, History, Trivia and More (Berkeley: Ulysses Press, 2010), 380.

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