Tonight – October 5th – I ended up watching two films for my October watch. Nightmare Before Christmas was the film I wanted to watch, the film that fits the entire latter quarter of the year. A film that is neither Halloween nor Christmas but the very best of both. I never truly get into the mood of Halloween until I’ve seen it at least once and tonight was the time for that.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Starting with a wonderful song about Our town of Halloween and descending from there into a world of Halloween that gets infected with Christmas, I find there’s not a moment of this film not to be loved. The wonderful style of Tim Burton, with the festivities of Victor Frankenstein and Santa Claus, come together in this film and it’s a wonder unlike any other.
My favourite thing about this movie is Sally. She is a Frankenstein’s Monster of a person but she has her own thoughts, her own feelings, her own heart. I love her story that is going on alongside Jack but which he is almost completely blind to until near the very end.
I had never seen this film before but my Mum told me we had it saved on the ‘My Shows’ section of our TiVo box and we put it on after Nightmare before Christmas tonight, to continue a Tim Burton theme to the Halloween watch of the night. I was aware of this film when it came out but not particularly interested in it. A friend of mine told me at the time that it was overly creepy and I’ve come to learn that she was right.
I don’t think that’s a bad thing; I mean when you mix Neil Gaiman with Tim Burton the result is never going to be sunshine and roses, more like gale forces and thorns. I thoroughly enjoyed the film although there were times I was somewhat horrified. I honestly believe that had I watched the film as a child it would have scared the living daylights out of me and throughout it I found myself questioning the PG rating it holds.
Coraline has themes within it that are difficult to tackle with children and does it in a particularly creepy and dark way. I personally don’t think I would yet young children watch this film because of the dark and creepy though rather than the themes. I firmly believe that having difficult themes in media for children does good because it stops us from patronising them and allows us to teach while also allowing children that may be in a situation to see they are not alone. A good example of this is the book A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness which tackles a parent with a serious illness and the child’s struggle with it. I don’t think Coraline is a good example, however, I also don’t think it exists to be a good exmaple of that.
The creepiness, I think, works in the film. There’s lines within it that are terrifying and the whole be careful what you wish for thing is explored wonderfully. The moment the other mother says “Even the proudest spirits can be broken with love” is utterly terrifying and I almost screamed aloud when she grabbed Coraline and pushed her into the room with no way out and the spirits. Holy shit. I wouldn’t say it was scary but it was creepy in a way that sits very uncomfortably. A very powerful movie, I’m very glad I watched it. And I have to say, I understand people’s fear of dolls.
Who knows what I’ll watch tomorrow, maybe Labrynth, maybe something else entirely.