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7 Movies to Watch If You Like “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Charlene is a Film and Television major. She is a big fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney, and Stranger Things.

Henry Selick, director of "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "Coraline," and "Wendell & Wild," is a master of combining the creepy and crawlie with stop-motion animation.

Henry Selick, director of "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "Coraline," and "Wendell & Wild," is a master of combining the creepy and crawlie with stop-motion animation.

Movies With Creepies and Crawlies

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a cult classic. It's conceptually unique, features inventive characters, and has catchy songs. The movie follows Jack Skellington, who is bored with his life in Halloween Town as the Pumpkin King and wants to try new activities.

He comes across Christmas Town, and without truly understanding it, he takes over the holiday and has the residents of Halloween Town try to fulfill his vision. He even dismisses Sally’s warnings of his goal ending in a disaster.

When he becomes the new Santa Claus, he gives scary gifts to children, upsetting them. Once his sleigh gets shot down, he is upset about the chaos he unintentionally causes, yet is happy about his new experiences and ultimately learns that being the Pumpkin King is what he is best at.

Spirit of Halloween

Although it is a movie that can be watched both during the Halloween season and the Christmas season, I perceive it as being more of a Halloween movie. All of the characters besides Santa Claus are from Halloween Town, and Jack turns Christmas into a Halloween version of it.

Good arguments can be made about The Nightmare Before Christmas being a Christmas movie; however, the visuals, the characters, and some of the story align more with having a creepy and unnatural style. There are also several movies that bring out this similar feel, commonly watched during Halloween.

1. Coraline (2009)

  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Genre: Animated dark fantasy

A lot of people mistakenly think this movie was directed by Tim Burton, but he was actually never involved. People may wrongly think so because a lot of Coraline’s promotional material said, “From the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

However, Tim Burton didn't direct The Nightmare Before Christmas, even though he created its story and produced the film. Both Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas were directed by Henry Selick. Coraline has some similarities to The Nightmare Before Christmas. Both movies use stop-motion animation to create a eerie atmosphere, and feature a protagonist who visits a new world.

Of course, there are differences. Unlike Jack with Sally, Coraline doesn’t have a love interest. Additionally, there is no defined villain in The Nightmare Before Christmas the way there is in Coraline. Either way, Coraline is an artistic film with a lot of twisted and heartful moments. It is magical, spooky, and charming.

2. Corpse Bride (2005)

  • Runtime: 77 minutes
  • Genre: Animated musical fantasy

Corpse Bride is Tim Burton’s first full-length stop-motion animated film as a director. Although Corpse Bride’s characters and songs are not as memorable as The Nightmare Before Christmas, it is still a good film to watch if you want to pass some time. The animation is delightful, the story is decent and simple, and the characters are sympathetic.

The two central themes of Corpse Bride are death and romance, which are not as prominent in The Nightmare Before Christmas, but still somewhat touched upon. In Corpse Bride, death connects both the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead, similar to how The Nightmare Before Christmas links Halloween Town and Christmas Town.

When it comes to romance, Corpse Bride teaches both what it means to love someone and what it means to let them go.

3. Wendell & Wild (2022)

  • Runtime: 105 minutes
  • Genre: Animated horror-comedy

Wendell & Wild marks Henry Selick’s return as a feature-length film director after 13 years. It is a movie that is visually stunning, full of energy, and occasionally frightening. It also deals with themes such as grief, guilt, anger, and hope.

In Wendell & Wild, two demons want to pursue their dream when they are summoned to the Land of the Living, though their goals end up being antagonistic to the protagonist.

It is reminiscent of The Nightmare Before Christmas in the way that Jack wants to celebrate Christmas, but ends up unintentionally causing chaos. Jack’s skull can also be seen a couple of times in Wendell & Wild; however, this detail is very subtle.

4. Frankenweenie (2012)

  • Runtime: 87 minutes
  • Genre: Animated sci-fi comedy-horror

Another film for which Tim Burton served as producer, director, and story creator. The story and black-and-white style is clearly inspired by the classic 1931 film Frankenstein. Frankenweenie is what Frankenstein would be for a younger demographic, though the two have more differences than similarities.

The idea of bringing a pet back to life is central to Frankenweenie. It captures the love and relationship between a dog and his owner. The other children also try to bring their dead pets back to life but have disastrous results.

Like The Nightmare Before Christmas, Frankenweenie is overall an incredibly heartwarming, moving, and whimsical movie, filled with a good amount of twists.

5. The Addams Family (1991)

  • Runtime: 99 minutes
  • Genre: Fantasy black comedy

Tim Burton was actually approached about directing this movie, but he turned it down in order to focus on filming Batman Returns. Barry Sonnenfeld took on The Addams Family instead, and he crafted a well-made world with creepy settings, sweet visuals, and clever humor.

Just like The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Addams Family gives off creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky vibes. The Addams Family is centered on a strange, yet loving family with macabre interests.

The movie has its own weird energy, delighting you with the family’s disturbing ways of living. The plot is easy to follow, but it is more driven by the superb performances.

6. Monster House (2006)

  • Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Genre: Animated horror-comedy

Monster House is a children’s movie that is perfect for the Halloween season. It focuses on the childhood wonder of three different kids, with the dynamic between all three of them being interesting to watch.

The film revolves around the mystery of Mr. Nebbercracker and we ultimately discover the tragic backstory of his "monster house." Overall, Monster House is entertaining, and it has some heartfelt moments near the end.

7. James and the Giant Peach (1996)

  • Runtime: 79 minutes
  • Genre: Musical fantasy

Both The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach were produced by Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick. Although James and the Giant Peach is more lighthearted than it is frightening, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth watching.

A surprising combination of live-action and stop-motion animation, James is incredibly rewatchable, with charm, heart, and creative characters.

Jack Skellington actually makes a cameo appearance in this movie as the skeleton pirate captain! Even Mr. Centipede says, “A Skellington?” followed by “Jackpot!” seconds later.