PLEASE NOTE: “As an Amazon Associate, [Need Coffee] earns from qualifying purchases." You know we make money from Amazon links,
and I know you know this, but they make us say it anyway. More info, click here.

The Nightmare Before Christmas: Special Edition (1993) – DVD Review

The Nightmare Before Christmas Special Edition DVD cover art


Written by: Caroline Thompson, from story and characters created by Tim Burton, which were adapted by Michael McDowell
Directed by: Henry Selick
Starring the Voices of: Chris Sarandon, Danny Elfman, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix, Paul Reubens, and Ken Page


  • Deleted scenes and animated sequences
  • Making-of feature
  • Storyboard to film comparison
  • Stills gallery of concept designs and art
  • Audio commentary with Henry Selick
  • Original theatrical trailers and posters
  • Two early Burton films: Frankenweenie (uncut) and Vincent

Released by: Buena Vista
Region: 1
Rating: PG
Anamorphic: No

My Advice: Own it.

[ad#longpost]What can I say about this movie that hasn’t already been said? It has amazing music, cool animation, an interesting and involving storyline, and characters that show up at conventions every year still. I can’t tell you how many little goth girls want to be Sally when they grow up and marry their own little Jack Skellingtons…. You’re not a goth, you say? Well, you’ll love this film anyway, that is if you think you’d like to see Santa Claus captured and tortured by the Boogie Man, a little boy getting a shrunken head for Christmas, or just a host of anti-Whoville details that will leave you rolling and cheering.

The basic plot is as follows: Jack Skellington (Sarandon, Elfman when he sings), the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, is suffering from ennui. Each Halloween he orchestrates is scarier than the last, but it’s not enough somehow. He stumbles upon a grove that allows him access to the towns belonging to other holidays; in particular, he learns about Christmas, but doesn’t get it quite right. He returns to Halloweentown as a man obsessed. He conducts a series of experiments on some artifacts “borrowed” from Christmastown, such as a candy cane and a jack-in-the-box. His friend, Sally, believes that he is making a mistake and that there are things about Christmas he’ll never understand; besides, what’s so bad about Halloween? Finally, Jack decides to take matters into his own hands, starting with kidnapping Kris Kringle and replacing the usual Christmas trappings with Jack’s own special brand of Yuletide “cheer.” The results are amazing, imaginative, hilarious, and just about any other positive superlative you can imagine.

The list of bonuses on this inexpensive release is impressive. The two extra short films are amazing alone, but combined with the other bells and whistles, like the concept art gallery and the storyboards, it’s a nice little package. It would have been nice to have had a commentary track with Burton himself, or even Danny Elfman, but Selick‘s comments are interesting and relevant. I love the 180 faces of Jack Skellington screen.

'Bunny!' Title card from 'Vincent'
The quality of the image and sounds is excellent. The music is crisp and clean, and the voice work is excellent. It’s good to hear Danny Elfman’s voice for a change (as the singing Jack and the Clown with Tearaway Face), as well as his score. The French dubbed track is sort of…weird and overly dramatic in some way I can’t quite explain, but if you can understand English, you’ll be pleased with the DVD.

The case is ordinary enough, sturdy and decorated with images from the film. The DVD disc itself is nothing special, but the included pamphlet has a nice listing of the selectable scenes. It also provides a bit of background information on the film, including a brief note on the movie’s birthing process.

For any and all fans of Burton, this is a more than worthy addition to his corpus. It just goes to show what Disney can do when they try.

Where to Find Stuff