The Nightmare Before Christmas is a movie we all know and most of us probably hate. It’s a full hour of songs and stop-motion animation, but for some reason adults still flock to it each Halloween to try to relive the magic they felt the first time they watched it as children. It’s the Halloween version of Love, Actually. We don’t think it’s a good movie, but here we are watching it again.
On my 300th viewing of Tim Burton’s holiday classic, I noticed something that could have changed the entire plot.
After Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, bemoans the lack of novelty in his life through a song sung in Halloween Town’s cemetery, he wanders off into the woods where he finds a set of doors leading to other holiday towns. (I honestly don’t know why I’m explaining this to you since you definitely just watched the movie.).
Jack Skellington chooses the door to “Christmas Town,” and sets in motion a chain of events that will almost ruin Christmas. Jack eventually realizes the err of his ways when things get out of hand: Santa is kidnapped, anti-aircraft guns shoot Jack’s sleigh down. Jack learns he belongs where he’s always belonged, and shouldn’t go changing himself or try to change other worlds.
But wait. What about all those unexplored worlds? Isn’t Jack at least curious?
There’s Thanksgiving Town: likely the most boring. It’s probably equivalent to visiting a living history museum where a guy dressed as a pilgrim explains how butter was churned at the first Thanksgiving. Ugh. There’s Valentine’s Day Town, which would be full of candy and romance, but every bedside drawer in Valentine’s Day Town would be full of things you should never show children.
Then there’s the first door Jack pauses on. Saint Patrick’s Day Town.
All I can imagine behind that door is a massive parade of drunk Irishmen who immediately give Jack a hero’s welcome.
If Jack had opened this door, the entire movie would have been a delightful, messy meeting of holiday cultures.
Jack would immediately get fucking drunk.
Firstly, Jack would be given whiskey and a green beer. Since he’s a skeleton, and weighs roughly 40 pounds, he’d be drunk before he could see most of the town.
Then he’d bring the party back to Halloween Town.
Instead of singing “What Is This?” and running around looking at shamrocks and freckled redheads, Jack would end up learning an Irish folk song so depressing, he’d drunkenly invite everyone back to Halloween Town so his new Irish friends could be scared into having fun again.
That’s when shit would go off the rails.
After a massive, impromptu drunken brawl, Jack would lead the Irish people into Halloween Town, where everyone would continue to drink and fight and throw up on all the newly made Halloween decorations, much to the delight of Halloween Town residents who love disgusting each other. The Irish, known for being a bit death-obsessed themselves, would laugh at the decaying spectacle around them. Anything that would actually frighten them, like a Mayor whose head spins around like a top, would be met with a drunken cackle, and an invite to drink more.
Halloween Town would get so hammered, they’d forget to celebrate Halloween.
Oops! The whole town would wake up the next morning hungover and angry at Jack.
The Irish would have already gone back to Saint Patrick’s Day to fill up on soda bread before drinking again. In Jack’s hazy memory of the evening, he’d remember someone saying there were no snakes in Ireland because of Saint Patrick.
“No Snakes!” Jack would say. “That’s no fun!”
Then he’d enlist several Halloween Town residents to help him bring snakes to Saint Patrick’s Day Town. Before Jack could open the door and release the snakes, Saint Patrick would show up and expel them all from Halloween Town, then let another mob beset Halloween Town. Another disturbingly drunken night would ensue, and frightening rivers of blood would turn into rivers of piss before Jack’s eyes. Halloween Town would not be amused.
The rest of the movie would be everyone from Halloween Town trying to convince Jack that he has a problem.
They’d try to tell him Saint Patrick’s Day is fun for awhile, but too much is unhealthy. Sally would still be working for the mad scientist because she’s a strong independent woman who doesn’t need to leave her job for a guy who’s clearly a wreck. But Sally also would keep hosting interventions for her friend Jack. Eventually, Jack would admit he had a problem, and start healing in time for the next Halloween.
I’d watch that movie.
Don’t get me started on what would happen if there were a Yom Kippur Town.