Jack

Or perhaps itís really not as deep
As Iíve been led to think
Am I trying much too hard?
Of course! Iíve been too close to see
The answerís right in front of me
Right in front of me

Itís simple really, very clear
Like music drifting in the air
Invisible, but everywhere
Just because I cannot see it
Doesnít mean I canít believe it!

Poor Jack
Elfman


Jack Skellington is the slim and sophisticated hero from The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).

Jack is the King of Halloweentown, and faces a sort of identity crisis after a particularly ghoulish Halloween. He's tired of the same old thing, bored with his lot in life, resigned to his position as the Pumpkin King, and when he finds a portal to all of the other Halloween worlds, and enters the tree-shaped one, he finds a completely new and exciting world, Christmas Town. Jack has the crazy idea to take over Christmas to try something new, and begins plans, engaging the help of all the citizens of Halloween Town. Jack thinks he knows what Christmas is all about, and is sure he can do it himself, and even improve it. He has "Sandy Claws" kidnapped, has a suit and sled and team of skeletal reindeer made, and oversees production of hundreds of ghoulish Christmas gifts. Sally, a rag doll created by local mad scientist Dr. Finklestein, harbors a secret but intense crush on Jack, and has a horrible premonition that his Christmas is going to go all wrong, but Jack brushes aside her warnings, sure that he knows what he's doing. True to Sally's omen, disaster strikes when the police are alerted to Jack's gift-delivering, and the military shoot the Santa Claus imposter down. Jack realizes that he can't pretend to be someone he's not, and that he has to take the chance to make things right. He learns that Sandy Claws was taken to Oogie Boogie, the gambling boogeyman, who has threatened to destroy Sandy, and Sally, who appeared to help him. Jack arrives and deftly outmaneuvers Oogie Boogie, unraveling his burlap exterior to reveal thousands of bugs which disperse, and the Boogie Man is no more. Sandy chides Jack, saying to stick to his own holiday, and leave Christmas to him, and rushes off to save Christmas. Jack realizes how Sally feels about him, and returns her feelings as Sandy leaves, leaving Halloween Town the gift of a white Christmas.

Jack is voiced by Chris Sarandon, with Danny Elfman himself providing his singing voice.

Jack is not only the star of his film, but he is also featured in a cameo appearance in James and the Giant Peach.


The demure and shy Sally has a serious crush on Jack, and when he gives up his obsession with Christmas, he can see it, and they end up together.
Jack, as king of Halloween Town, has few nemeses, but as it happens, the rogue Oogie Boogie is a pretty devious sort, and has to be dealt with in Jack's inimitable style. Also, Jack has to clean up a little from his own little messes he made for himself...
My personal thoughts and analysis of this incredible film...

What a landmark this film was for me, and for the animation industry. Tim Burton, the genius who brought us the stop-motion animated short, Vincent, brought the vivid and contrasting worlds of Halloween, Christmas and reality together in this amazing film. The characters are vastly interesting and varied, and always keep the action and plot moving. The performances are believeable, and the message is profound. Jack thinks he's dissatisfied, when really, he doesn't realize just how valuable what he has is, and what exactly he does have. Jack's intentions are pure, and he's very businesslike and polite about his coup of Christmas, and he's humble and apologetic when he realizes what a mess he's made. Sally is sweet and sensitive, a perfect match for Jack's stoic but playful nature. While Tim Burton came even closer to perfecting this art form in Corpse Bride (see Victor), this film will stand as a masterpiece of its time.



Pictures of Mr. Skellington



Quotes from the Pumpkin King

Mayor: Great Halloween everybody.
Jack: I believe it was our most horrible yet! Thank you everyone.
Mayor: No, thanks to you, Jack. Without your brilliant leadership...
Jack: Not at all Mayor!

Sax Player: Nice work, Bone Daddy.
Jack: Yeah, I guess so. Just like last year and the year before that and the year before that.

Jack: (Yawn!) Where are we? It's someplace new...

Mayor: Where have you been?
Jack: Call a town meeting and I'll tell everyone all about it.
Mayor: When?
Jack: Immediately!

Jack: There's got to be a logical way to explain this Xmas thing...

Jack: Interesting reaction....but what does it mean??

Jack: Eureka! I've got it!!! This year, Christmas will be OURS!!!

Mayor: How awful our christmas will be!
Jack: No, how jolly!

Jack: Ah, Halloween's finest trick or treaters. The job I have for you is top secret. It requires craft, cunning, mischief.
Shock: And we thought you didn't like us, Jack. (giggles)
Jack: Absolutely no one is to know about it. Not a soul. Now what you must do is go to the forest... a tree... Christmas Town. Now... (whispers) And one more thing. Leave that no account Ooogie Boogie out of this!

Jack: Sally, I need your help more than anyone's.
Sally: You certainly do, Jack. I had the most terrible vision.
Jack: That's splendid!
Sally: No, it was about your Xmas. There was smoke... and fire.
Jack: That not my Xmas. My Xmas is filled with laughter and joy and this--my Sandy Claws outfit. I want you to make it.
Sally: Jack, please, listen to me--it's going to be a disaster.
Jack: How could it be? Just follow the pattern. (holds up design of outfit) This part is red, the trim is white...
Sally: It's a mistake, Jack!
Jack: Now don't be modest, who else is clever enough to make my Sandy claws outfit? I have every confidence in you.

Sally: You don't look like yourself Jack, not at all.
Jack: Isn't that wonderful. It couldn't be more wonderful!
Sally: But you're the Pumpkin King.
Jack: Not anymore. And I feel so much better now!

Jack: Sandy Claws in person. What a pleasure to meet you. Why you have hands! You don't have claws at all.
Sandy Claws: Where am I?
Jack: Surprised aren't you? I knew you would be. You don't need to have another worry about Xmas this year.
Sandy Claws: What?
Jack: Consider this a vacation Sandy, a reward. It's your turn to take it easy.

Jack: There go all of my hope, my precious plans, my glorious dreams...

Jack: No Zero, down boy... My what a brilliant nose you have. The better to light my way! To the head of the team, Zero! We're off!

Timmie: Santa! (sees Jack, gasps) Santa?
Jack: Merry Xmas! And what is your name?
Timmie: Uh... uh...
Jack: That's all right. I have a special present for you anyway. There you go sonny! Ho-ho-ho-heeheeheeeee!!!

Jack: They're celebrating! They're thanking us for doing such a good job! (a missile almost hits Zero) Whoa, careful down there, you almost hit us!

Jack: They're trying to hit us! ZERO!

Jack: (falling) Merry Xmas to all and to all a good niiiiight...

Jack: That's right, I AM the Pumpking King! Ha ha ha ha!!

Jack: How dare you treat my friends so shamefully!

Jack: Forgive me Mr. claws, I'm afraid I've made a terrible mess of your holiday.

Jack: How did you get down here Sally?
Sally: Oh, I was trying to, well, I wanted to, to --
Jack: To help me
Sally: I couldn't just let you just...
Jack: Sally, I can't believe I never realized...that you...


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For more, check out the Links page or head back to the Heroes homepage, and special thanks to halloweentown.org for a lot of the images used here.