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Henry Selick wishes he got more credit for Nightmare Before Christmas

Henry Selick is the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas, but he finds it annoying that most people think Tim Burton made the animated movie.

Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas

Most people think Tim Burton directed the animated movie The Nightmare Before Christmas, but it was actually Henry Selick who brought the brilliant family movie to life. He doesn’t get enough credit for that, and Selick himself finds that a little bit annoying.


The Halloween movieChristmas movie hybrid is a beloved part of most people’s viewing schedule between the months of October and December each year. Unfortunately, because it was written by Tim Burton, and the guy is such a big name in the filmmaker world, many people forget that he didn’t actually direct The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Speaking to the AV Club, legendary stop-motion filmmaker Henry Selick took time out from promoting his new Netflix movie Wendell and Wild to admit he wishes more people recognised his work on Jack Skellington’s fantastical story.

“[It] was a little unfair because it wasn’t called Tim Burton’s Nightmare until three weeks before the film came out. And I would have been fine with that, if that’s what I signed up for. But Tim was in L.A. making two features while I directed that film, and I mean, Tim is a genius – or he certainly was in his most creative years. I always thought his story was perfect, and he designed the main characters,” Selick said of the promotion of the ‘90s movie.

“But it was really me and my team of people who brought that to life. Now, of course, if you ask Danny Elfman, well, that’s his movie,” Selick recalled. “When we finished the film, it was so funny because he came up to me and shook my hand [and said], ‘Henry, you’ve done a wonderful job illustrating my songs!’ And he was serious, and I loved it!”

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Selick isn’t one to get too precious though, adding, “I really, truly like to collaborate. But I’m the one leading the team to make the movie.” Fair play to the guy, it can’t be nice to see someone else take all the credit for your hard work.

If you’re a fan of the Disney movie, why not check out our list of the best scary movies for kids for more slightly spooky content.