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Nightmare Before Christmas director takes fence on holiday debate

The Nightmare Before Christmas could be a Halloween or a Christmas film, and director Henry Selick is not picking either side in the debate.

Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas

You may think that the debate over whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not is the biggest debate of its type, but The Nightmare Before Christmas has divided opinion just as intensely for years now. You’d hope the director of the animated movie, Henry Selick, would offer a definitive answer, but he isn’t willing to pick a side.


The Disney movie is a classic and a wonderful example of the magic of stop-motion animation. From the mind of Tim Burton, The Nightmare Before Christmas is, of course, pretty dark and weird, but is a great scary movie for kids nonetheless. But when is the best time to watch it? Is it more suited to the spooky season, or is Jack Skellington reserved exclusively for the festive period?

Well, in an interview with ComicBook.com, director Henry Selick has a very diplomatic that doesn’t really settle the debate.

“At the very beginning, when Tim Burton came up with this original idea in the ’80s at Disney, when it was intended to be a half-hour TV special in stop-motion, at the very beginning, I saw it as a mashup, that it’s both,” Selick said.

“Then subsequently, when we actually made the film as a feature, I might have tended to answer one way, but I’ve arrived at the original feeling. It is a mashup. It is a perfect collision between those two holidays. So there’s no better answer than both. It is both, and it’s its own thing. It’s a great celebration of Halloween that can last all the way into Christmas,” he added.

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If you’re anything like us, spooky season starts and ends when we feel like it, so that figures. While The Nightmare Before Christmas isn’t a horror movie, it certainly does feel at home in the Halloween period. That said, there’s plenty of festive cheer involved too, so it could go either way.

If you want something sinister, check out our list of the best Christmas horror movies.