That moment when you’re watching “The Nightmare Before Christmas“, when you just REALLY APPRECIATE that was the lead singer from a band from your high school years. Oingo Boingo wasn’t the best band from the 80’s, but they definitely carried some awesome memories for me.
Time for my annual “Nightmare Before Christmas” commentary. (Wasn’t planning to watch it, but holiday viewings will happen). From an animation/acting perspective, Jack’s moves around the screen, and is given the mannerisms and broad gestures you would expect from a flamboyant, theatrical villain. His silhouettes and shape language are decadent, bordering on camp.I’ve never been able to put my finger on why I like it, or why it became so popular 20 years after release, but I suspect that some of it may be that Jack Skellington himself is fairly subversive. He’s framed as the hero, but based on how he acts and moves, he ought to be the villain.
Since the film has come out, Disney and kids media in general has been willing to play around with the concept of “good and bad”, but even in these cases there is a clear delineation between who will become the hero, and who the villain always was. A lot of that delineation comes from posture, silhouette and acting style. If you want a great example, check out Wicked. We know from the get go Elphaba is meant to be our heroine, albeit cloaked in the villains robes, because she doesn’t move broadly or confidently, or theatrically as a villain does. She lacks camp. I’m not entirely sure what to make of this. If anything, I suspect it was just clever animators recognizing an opportunity to do something interesting, but I do think it’s pretty interesting that from the get go, Jack Skellington shirt is framed as the hero, but has such campy acting. He’s not malicious, but he is posed as humorously threatening throughout.