I’ve already written about the movie itself, last year. But what I had yet to do, in all the years of watching this almost 20-year-old flick, is listen to the audio commentary track. So I figured this would be a good excuse to revisit the content for this Halloween blog.
The commentary track to the movie features creator Tim Burton, director Henry Selick, and composer Danny Elfman. Unfortunately, they recorded their commentaries separately, so there’s no candid conversations, which is always the best part of any commentary track. The three tracks are woven together well, though, and somehow I was able to hear some stuff I hadn’t before, although only one was of crazy interest to me, which I’ve stuck in the last spot on this otherwise randomly ordered list.
5. Selick is Cooler than You Think He Is. Sometimes you hear the joke that Selick directed The Nightmare Before Christmas like Irvin Kershner directed The Empire Strikes Back. However, over the course of the commentary, a few of Selick’s ideas for the movie surprised me. For instance, Jack’s pinstriped suit. Black and white stripes are a staple Burton feature, but apparently his original vision for Jack was a solid black suit. Apparently, Selick thought the camera would have trouble picking up Jack’s thin, black body, so he got the okay to stripe him.
7. The Man Behind the Mask. Burton got the idea that the faces of Lock, Shock, and Barrel would match their masks from the fifth-season Twilight Zone episode, The Masks.
8. It’s Like Learning There’s No Santa Claus. I don’t know how I never came across this (apparently I’ve never visited the IMDb.com trivia page for Nightmare), but Vincent Price originally recorded the voice of Santa Claus. However, apparently his voice was too frail and too sad for the film makers to use it. In the commentary, the unfortunate performance was attributed to the effects of the recent death of Price’s wife. Price would himself die a couple years later, less than two weeks after the October 15th theatrical release of the film, in fact.
What a horribly sad way to end this piece. Here’s a picture of a baby with a pumpkin: