This August, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas celebrated its 30th anniversary with a beautiful new coffee table book delving into the origins, the creation, and the enduring legacy of this iconic, classic film. Written by Emily Zemler, this book reads like a love letter to the film. Along with Zemler’s text, the book includes everything from concept art to behind-the-scenes production images to modern cosplay and merchandise.
I had the opportunity to briefly chat with Emily Zemler about the book:
It’s clear from the detail and care you’ve put into this book that you truly love Nightmare. What was your first introduction to the film?
I don’t remember the first time I saw Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. It feels like a movie that has just always been in my life. As a kid I had it on DVD and used to watch it a lot — I’m of the camp that you watch it around Halloween! In general, I was and am a big fan of Tim Burton and his work. I remember reading Burton On Burton and being really fascinated by his artistic process. Nightmare is a good example of seeing that process come to life onscreen.
I really love how this book delves into not only the history of Nightmare, but the legacy and impact it’s had on filmmaking, fandom, and pop culture. What is the biggest impact it’s had on you, personally?
For me, the most enduring legacy of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is the community it has created. I was a misfit kid, like so many people, and the film is very much about feeling out of place. Jack Skellington wants to belong, but he isn’t sure how to do it. Who can’t relate to that? I love that so many misfit fans have all come together in a shared love for the film and its characters.
Thanks so much to Emily Zemler for taking the time, and for this fantastic entry into the history of a pop culture classic.
About THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS: Beyond Halloween Town
After 30 years, discover the inspirations behind Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and its legacy as a certified pop-culture experience.
What is it about Jack Skellington that is so compelling? Why does the love between Sally and Jack resonate with so many? The feature-length, stop-motion movie about the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town who becomes obsessed with celebrating Christmas is a fascinating musical and love story that has transcended the original film and captivated the world. From the improbable tale to the lovable characters, Tim Burton’s creation has turned into a lifestyle, branching into fashion, video games, card and board games, live-action concerts, themed celebrations at Disneyland, and even cameos in other movies.
Featuring an original foreword by Tim Burton himself, Disney Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Beyond Halloween
- Author and creator, Tim Burton
- Animators, sculptors, and other artists of the film
- Musical talent behind Jack Skellington
- The iconic voice of Sally, comic actress Catherine O’Hara
- Musicians on the Nightmare Revisited album
Emily Zemler is a writer and journalist based in London. She is a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone, among other prestigious outlets. Emily is the co-author of A Sick Life, with TLC’s Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, and the author of The Art and Making of Aladdin and Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara.
Tim Burton, director and artist, is widely regarded as one of cinema’s most imaginative filmmakers. Both his live-action and animated films have earned Academy Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and many other industry accolades, cementing his status as one of the greatest filmmakers of our time.
He has a dedicated following, notably for classic features such as Beetlejuice (1988); Edward Scissorhands (1990); and Sween
Long before becoming a director, Burton expressed himself through drawing, painting, poetry, and photography, all of which have been documented in books The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, The Napkin Art of Tim Burton, and the 2009 release, The Art of Tim Burton, a 430-page volume comprising more than 40 years of his personal and professional artwork. Coinciding with the release of The Art of Tim Burton, the Museum of Modern Art opened an extensive exhibition of his work in New York, which went on to tour in Melbourne, Toronto, Los Angeles, Paris, and Seoul. A second exhibition of his artwork, The World of Tim Burton, continues to tour internationally. A third, immersive exhibition entitled Tim Burton’s Labyrinth, premiered in Madrid in 2022 and continues to tour internationally.
Available August 22, 2023, everywhere books are sold.
DISNEY TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS: Beyond Halloween
The Story, the Characters, and the Legacy
Published August 22, 2023, by Epic Ink ∙ Hardcover, 168 pages, 100+ illustrations
$30 US, $39.99 CAN ∙ ISBN: 9780760380987