Advent Calendar Day 9: The Nightmare Before Christmas

what it taught us, controversies, fun facts, and theories


Beck Iannucci

life lessons

The Nightmare Before Christmas is more than a cheesy holiday movie. Take Sally, for instance. She wants to leave Dr. Finkelstein and pursue her own happiness. Sally feels trapped and continuously tries to escape before she is successful. Sally feels like the equivalent of a teen trapped at home, unable to pursue their own wishes, before finding freedom and seeing the world. Jack also has a similar feel. He is trying to pursue his happiness but it feels like the people around him don’t approve.

racism allegations

The movie has come under fire for a specific character. The character Oogie Boogie is actually a derogatory phrase from the South used against African Americans. Caroline Thompson, the film’s screenwriter, says she informed Tim Burton of this and he accused her of being over sensitive. She also points out that his design makes him look like a Ku Klux Klan member.

fun facts

  • the film´s songs were written before the script was done and the characters were finalized
  • the film wasn’t expected to be a hit so it only reached two theaters and there was no leeway to add more dates
  • the film actually started as a poem
  • Jack had a different actor and singer — the singer also play two other characters
  • it’s a stop-motion film
  • there was going to be a ride at Disney but it never happened
  • next to Christmas Town there are lots of other doors — suggesting a Thanksgiving Town, Saint Patrick’s Day Town, Valentine´s Day Town, and Easter Town also exist

fan theories 

  • some theorize that Jack was Victor from the Corpse Bride while he was alive because of his love of dogs and affinity for death
  • Some think he’s a descant of Victor
  • Some theorize that Jack died before Christmas was recognized as a holiday and became a more modern tradition  — so some time around the 1800s
  • Some think the citizens represent different fears. Personally, this is my favorite theory. I think Sally could represent the fear of being trapped. Maybe Jack is not being able to achieve your dream. Some think that the Dr. symbolizes a fear of aging which I also agree with. He also feels like a representation of the older generation being scared of the new generation. Some say that the mayor represents insecurity. This one I also agree with because he mentions in the film how Jack has all the power to make decisions not him. I think he may feel insignificant.