The Nightmare Before Christmas: Who is the director Henry Selick

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The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick spoke about his work on the film eclipsed by the role of Tim Burton

The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of the most iconic Halloween (or Christmas) movies of all time. It follows Jack Skellington, King of Halloween Town, as he discovers Christmas Town and attempts to merge the two festive traditions.

Many fans will have flocked to Disney+ during the Halloween season to watch the film, and as Christmas approaches, it will receive new attention from audiences who firmly believe that Nightmare, like Die Hard, is a Christmas movie.

Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas

The gothic feel of Nightmare Before Christmas and Disney’s marketing tactics have many fans of the movie mistakenly believing it was directed by Tim Burton – but it’s actually the work of the lesser-known Henry Selick.

When promoting the film, which was released in 1993, Disney gave it the alternate title “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas”, presumably to take advantage of the director’s name recognition. Burton had already made a name for himself after directing the cult classics Beetlejuice (1988), Batman (1989), Edward Scissorhands (1990) and Batman Returns (1992).

Who is Henry Selick?

Henry Selick is a New Jersey-born director who specializes in stop-motion animated films – as well as The Nightmare Before Christmas he directed James And The Giant Peach and Coraline.

His latest film, Wendell & Wild, which landed on Netflix in October this year, follows two scheming demon brothers who seek their friend’s help in traveling to the land of the living. The film is thematically similar to Nightmare in that it features demonic characters traveling to a more family-friendly world, where they unwittingly cause chaos.

Henry Selick directed The Nightmare Before Christmas

What did Henry Selick say about Tim Burton?

Selick told The AV Club: “It was kind of unfair because it wasn’t called Tim Burton’s Nightmare until three weeks before the movie was released. And I would have been okay with that, if it was. is why I signed up.

“But Tim was in Los Angeles doing two feature films while I was making this movie, and I mean, Tim is a genius – or he was definitely in his most creative years. I always thought his story was perfect. and he designed the main characters. But it was really me and my team of people who brought this to life.

Did Tim Burton direct The Nightmare Before Christmas?

No, but he seems to have gotten a lot more credit for it than Selick – promotional images for the film on Disney+ still use the title: “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas”.

The film took three years to make, 18 months of which were spent in stop motion animation, during which time Burton was working on other projects.

However, Burton still deserves some credit for the film, as he worked as a producer on the project and it’s based on a three-page poem he wrote in the 1980s while working for Walt Disney Feature. Animation. The poem was a darker take on the classic ‘It Was the Night Before Christmas’ and was adapted into a screenplay by Caroline Thompson, who also wrote the screenplay for Edward Scissorhands, The Corpse Bride and Black Beauty.

While Burton has become one of the best-known film directors of the modern era, with a body of work known for his own style, much like Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino, Selick hasn’t been nearly as successful. . Since Nightmare, he has only made four feature films, including the very poorly received Monkeybone.


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