Good morning everybody, and a very Merry Christmas to all my readers out there! You guys have given me a wonderful Christmas present, in the form of my two biggest view-count months ever, so in return I’ve delivered what I hope were a few satisfying presents for you this December, including a beautiful header image that was commissioned from the incomparable Jennifer Paetsch, but now that the jolliest holiday of the year is upon us, I’ve decided to deliver you something a little more directly Christmas related. Since my Inconvenient Questions post about Rudolph has been a surprise hit… A year after it was posted, interestingly enough… I’ve decided to take down another popular stop-motion Christmas movie; The Nightmare Before Christmas!
For those of you who are new to this idea, here’s what’s going to happen; I’m going to watch the movie straight through, asking every single question that pops into my head. Some of these will be nitpicks, some of them will be comedic, some will be major criticisms, but they’ll all be… RATHER inconvenient. I won’t be posting timestamps, so to enjoy this, you’ll have to either have a good memory or watch the movie along with me, but since it’s fucking Nightmare Before Christmas, I don’t think you’re going to mind much.
All that said, let’s dive right in!
1: Who exactly dreamed this location?
2: Holidays are, by their very nature, based on ancient traditions and actual/imagined historical events. How exactly did they all originate as doors in trees?
3: In the St. Patrick’s day world, is the landscape over-run with clovers and leprechauns, or just a bunch of drunk people?
4: Is the Fourth of July world full of people shooting off fireworks? Because they can get boring after a while.
5: Is the Valentines day world a massive year-long orgy? Or is it just a Hallmark world where people act like the two doofuses from Hearts and Hooves day?
6: How many turkeys need to exist to support Thanksgiving world?
7: Why are all the holidays presented here so American, Christian friendly? Why are there no Jewish holidays, or anything like that?
8: Is the Easter world dedicated to the Easter Bunny, or the ressurection?
9: Is each holiday world a world where the holiday happens once a year, and then literally nothing else happens for 364 days?
10: Is this supposed to be some kind of multi-verse? Also, woohoo! Ten questions on one pause! A personal record!
11: What exactly IS Halloween in this town?
12: The way things are playing out, these spooks seem alarmingly aware of the camera.
13: Who dropped those Jack-o-Lanterns there?
14: They just… sing a song about what their town is, and what everyone’s job is?
15: Here’s something that’s bothered me since I was a kid… There’s nobody in Halloween town but monsters, so how are they aware of classic tropes like hiding under kids’ beds or grabbing their feet from the stairs? Have monsters here been using portals to get to the real world all along?
16: And furthermore, why do they say “your” so often? Who do they think they’re singing to? Are they aware of the viewer, but only during one song?
17: 364 days of planning, and everybody’s waiting for the next surprise? What the hell were they planning, surprises on themselves?
18: Who are they asking “Aren’t you scared” to? No, you know what, if I keep asking a question every time this one song inexplicably breaks the fourth wall, I’ll be here all night. Let’s just say it doesn’t make any sense and move on.
19: Again, though, what is Halloween? There’s no trick-or-treating, no costumes, no once-a-year connection to the human world opened up by cultists, it’s just… Well, to them, apparently Halloween is a reverse parade, where everyone stands waiting for their cue to mug the monster holding the camera and occasionally exposit about themselves. I don’t get the point of any of that.
20: Regardless of whether or not they’re mean, what’s their job, exactly? If it wasn’t for Jack’s trip to Christmas town, this would be a fucking slice-of-life story! At least in Monster’s Inc the monsters had a clear purpose!
21: So this whole reverse parade is performed to herald one man’s entrance into the town square? What is he, SkeleKim Jong Oon?
22: Exactly how much power does the Pumpkin king have?
23: Halloween is just one big reverse parade intended to stroke the ego of one person, isn’t it?
24: Why does the dynamic between Sally and her creator strike me as a sort of “Father and rebellious underaged daughter” thing?
25: If Jack planned this whole thing out, why is he just now getting humble about it?
26: Whose blood did the vampire drain?
27: What is that musician going to use that money for? Is there an economy here?
28: Jack’s Lament makes a lot more sense than the last song… Both in terms of story and purpose… But in it, he acknowledges the existence of humans and an awareness of Earth locations. How does this fit into the lore?
29: How does he know about Shakespeare, for example?
30: In a movie full of classic monsters and original creations, why is the guy the movie invented the only one bragging about being well known throughout the human world?
31: If he’s tired of his crown, why NOT give it up? What’s stopping him?
32: Does he not get fame and praise the other 364 days?
33: Couldn’t Sally’s creator, like, take her for a walk, or something?
34: Why does the mayor have two faces? I get the satirical purpose, but what’s the practical purpose?
35: Also, what’s the problem with an elected official not making decisions by himself? They need counseling and advice, it’s how it works!
36: Why does Christmas town get actual people and children to give it’s holiday figures purpose, while Halloween town doesn’t?
37: A clown exists in Halloween town, but the serial killer Snowman from Jack Frost doesn’t?
38: He doesn’t know what snowflakes are, but he knows what snowballs are?
39: Why is he calling them children, when I’m pretty sure those are all elves?
40: Wasn’t there music in the air in Halloween town?
41: Do they really need a whole year to plan one little reverse parade?
42: Why does Sally’s creator continue to let her make his food and drink unsupervised?
43: What would she do if he asked to use the spoon?
44: If she’s too scared to drink a spoonful, wouldn’t a whole bowl create the risk of an overdose?
45: If the town meeting was immediate, how’d he have time to paint that backdrop?
46: Where did he learn the various names for these things?
47: Why doesn’t he just come out and say “This isn’t a scary thing?”
48: Jack’s problem in this movie is that instead of attempting to become a part of Christmasland himself, he tries to force it on other people. This conveys a message against cultural appropriation, stating that it’s perfectly fine to try and adopt and try new things for yourself, as long as you don’t bastardize it on a larger scale. That would be all well and good, but the movie is resolved(spoiler alert) when Jack goes back home and gives up on his dreams, accepting his identity and destiny. So, ultimately, it’s the Jungle book moral… Stay with your own kind, don’t venture too far outside the norm. Except that the modern take on this was the live action Jungle book, where Mowgli overcame the racist force that wanted him gone, and stayed in the Jungle. So wouldn’t a more appropriate ending for this film be Jack abandoning Halloweentown, leaving it to it’s own devices, and becoming Santa’s assistant? I know I should ask this at the end, but I’ve seen it before… We all have… And this question just hit me now.
49: Maybe Santa could build a wall to keep Halloweentown out?
50: There’s no logical way to explain this Halloween thing, so why bother looking for logic in Christmas?
51: He already knows the explanation. It’s a source of warmth that brings joy to your heart. That’s what it did for him, right?
52: Which holiday world had a book about the Scientific method?
53: How did those glass items not break in his bag?
54: What chemical made the candy cane do that?
55: I replicated that snowflake cut he did, and got a completely different result!
56: No, seriously, what does it mean? not just that reaction, but the entire sequence? It’s pointless!
57: How exactly did she hold her limbs in place and sew them back on one handed?
58: What the fuck is up with that vision Sally had? Where did it come from? What caused it? Is that a thing she can do?
59: Seriously, though, this sequence of Jack trying to figure out Christmas is completely pointless. It’s filler. The only thing it leads up to is revealing that Sally’s in love, which is equally pointless, and Jack deciding to dress up as Santa. The whole sequence could have been cut.
60: So there is trick or treating, but it’s relegated to three undead children? Where does this fit into anything?
61: Furthermore, the build-up to the intro of Boogie is terrible. We knew he was a shadow in the moon, but he wasn’t even an acknowledged presence up until now. He has no backstory or clear motive. Why do people like him?
62: Is there nobody else he could send to abduct Santa? This is like telling Goldar ”Hey, here’s where the Zords are hidden… Don’t tell Rita!”
63: So Eastertown’s not about the Resurrection?
64: Wait, how much time has passed between Halloween and Christmas? That’s kind of an important detail.
65: How are ghosts carrying solid objects?
66: Is Jack not aware of how fucked up the stuff he’s making is?
67: Why use a two person saw to make a doll?
68: If the elves are so adept at making cookies, why do people still leave them out for Santa?
69: The message of the movie is even more confused now! At first, Jack wanted to make Halloweentown celebrate Christmas. Now, he wants to bring his own version of it TO Christmastown! This isn’t misappropriation anymore, it’s damn imperialism! Am I the first person to actually try to follow the plot of this movie?
70: Why don’t the kids on Santa’s list have last names?
71: So, just a sack, then? They’re using a Team Rocket plan?
72: How did he forget to make the hat? Why is his realization of this considered such a profound moment?
73: Why doesn’t Sally just say something about what’;s going on, aside from her vision? There’s so much evil in what Jack’s doing, surely she could think of something to say!
74: I could ask about Santa going down the pipe, but it actually points out a pretty obvious flaw in the Santa mythos, so I’ll leave it alone.
75: Instead, what did Boogie want with him, exactly?
76: If he doesn’t think this is the real Santa, why doesn’t he stick to his guns over it and send him back?
77: What has Boogey been doing all this time? In his non-Santa down time, what exactly does he do? We’re supposed to buy him as a troublemaker, but this is the first we’ve seen of him!
78: I mean, is Santa in any real danger, or just being mildly inconvenienced?
79: Is this the entire purpose of Zero? Being Rudolph?
80: And what the hell is the purpose of Sally? Foreshadwing through Deus Ex Machina, being a love interest who has no discernable dynamic or chemistry with him?
81: What’s she more concerned about? The looming doom, or not being able to jump his most important bone?
82: These kids aren’t the elf kids that we saw earlier. And Jack didn’t go through the doors to get here. Does that mean Christmastown and Halloweentown are actually connected to the real world? And if so, why does Christmas get to interact with it, while Halloween is contained within it’s own parameters? I haven’t seen the movie in years, so I can buy that I remembered this connection wrong, but it still doesn’t make any sense.
83: Kind of a dark question, but did Jack accidentally murder anyone tonight?
84: If all holiday lands exist within the real world, what’s the purpoise of the doors?
85: How was Jack able to replicate Santa’s magic sack full of infinite presents?
86: If Sally‘s hands can operate on their own, then why didn’t she stay with her leg to distract Boogey?
87: Where did Jack get Santa’s list?
88: Since when did Halloweentown have a cauldron that could show them the world?
89: How did Jack survive the fall intact?
90: Does Jack know he did something wrong, or not? His reprised lament kind of jumps between notes.
91: God, this idiot bounces between ideas worse than Haruhi Fucking Suzumiya.
92: His revelation and his actions don’t seem well connected. He realizes that he loved Halloween all along, so the first thing he does is go to rescue Santa? I mean yeah, it’s the moral thing to do, but
A: It doesn’t fit his character. He’d more likely think what he did was on par with Santa, and that returning Claus is meaningless because of it, and
B: How does he know where Santa is? How does he know Santa’s with Oogie Boogey?
93: So, Boogey eats people?
94: If he’s so eager to cheat, and only he can see the dice, why bother saying the right result out loud at all?
95: How was Jack lounging around upside down on that thing?
96: How am I supposed to get invested in this face-off when the hero and villain have no established history? Jack was the antagonist for most of the movie!
97: So the legendary Boogeyman could have died if a thread got caught on something?
98: Why is he saying that the character who had a Deus Ex Machina vision is the only one who makes sense?
99: How is the lake already frozen over, if it just started snowing?
100: Why does Jack accept the idea that he and Sally are made for each other? He’s never shown any interest in him before, and she had nothing to do with his arc. She supported him once, and then had an unexplained vision that practically redefines the term “Unexplained.” Was she written into the movie in the final draft to pad things out and add a love interest?
101: I would have rather played the Kingdom Hearts version than watch this movie. Why do I have to play through so much other stuff to get there? You know what? I didn’t like this movie as a kid, but I kept it to myself, because of all the people saying it was the greatest thing ever. I’ll admit, the character designs are amazing, which is why I have three Pop figures from it in my collection, but guess what? Black Butler had amazing character designs, and it still sucks!