Tim Burton has said the original poem was inspired after seeing Halloween merchandise display in a store being taken down and replaced by a Christmas display. The juxtaposition of ghouls and goblins with Santa and his reindeer sparked his imagination.
In the scenes with the street band, especially inside the town hall, there is a small man inside the bass that is based on Danny Elfman.
According to Henry Selick, Vincent Price was originally cast as Santa Claus. However, after the death of Price’s wife, his own health began to fail and his voice performance was very frail and weak. The tracks were deemed unusable which led to, much to Selick’s regret, the role being recast.
It is stated in “The Making of…” book that the most difficult shot to film in the entire movie is the shot in which Jack is reaching for the doorknob to Christmasland. Viewers can see the perfect surround reflection of the forest around Jack in the background.
There are only two shots in the entire film that were filmed at normal speed (24fps), one is the opening overhead shot of the trees in the forest and the other is the bugs falling into the molten pit in Oogie Boogie’s lair.
Danny Elfman did the singing voice for Jack because Chris Sarandon said he did not have a good singing voice.
It took a group of around 100 people three years to complete this movie. For one second of film, up to 12 stop-motion moves had to be made.
Director Trademark: [Henry Selick] [stop motion] The entire movie was in stop motion animation. (Duh!)
Two items were invented to facilitate the filming of the movie: One was a “light alarm” which would warn the animators if any of the stage lights failed to come on. The other was a system that enabled a puppeteer to seamlessly switch to a replacement puppet if a puppet broke during a shot. Prior to this, either situation, a light failing to come on or a puppet breaking would destroy a shot.
Jack is, by definition, a dead being. He even states that “since I am dead, I can take off my head”, yet later (when Jack has shut himself up at home to study Christmas) a little ghoul boy says “I hope he hasn’t died”.
In 2001, Walt Disney Pictures began to consider producing a sequel, but rather than using stop motion, Disney wanted to use computer animation. Tim Burton convinced Disney 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,” Burton said.
Tim Burton wrote a three-page poem titled The Nightmare Before Christmas when he was a Disney animator in the early-1980s. Burton took inspiration from television specials of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) and the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas. On the 2008 Special Edition Blu-ray/DVD release, Christopher Lee narrates this poem with a new animated visual accompaniment.
Behemoth is based on B-movie actor/Swedish wrestler Tor Johnson.
The teaser trailer tells us that the film was originally intended to by released under the Walt Disney Pictures banner, playing the movie heavily as the next generation of filmmaking following in the proud tradition of Walt Disney. By the time the theatrical trailer was released, the release label had changed to Touchstone Pictures, an alternate designation of the Walt Disney Studios. Michael Eisner, the then CEO and Chairman of The Walt Disney Company, found the film to be ‘too dark for kids’ and had it moved to their Touchstone Picture banner. In October 2006, the film was re-released in 3-D under the Walt Disney Pictures banner.
In the song, “This is Halloween,” the lyrics “… tender lumplings everywhere…” refers to “Tender Lumplings,” a song done by composer Danny Elfman when he was with Oingo Boingo.
Danny Elfman found writing Nightmare’s 10 songs as “one of the easiest jobs I’ve ever had. I had a lot in common with Jack Skellington.”