The Nightmare Before Christmas Director Says It’s Unfair Tim Burton Still Gets All The Credit for the Movie

The Nightmare Before Christmas has Tim Burton written all over it, right? It has a gothic sense of style, a Danny Elfman score, a ghoulish sense of macabre humor…but it also has director Henry Selick, who could almost be Jack Skellington crying “What’s this?”when people constantly forget that while he was many things, Tim Burton did not have a hand in directing the stop-motion animated Christmas classic.

After almost 30 years of The Nightmare Before Christmas being constantly referred to as a Tim Burton movie, Selick has revealed his frustration at constantly being overshadowed or even forgotten about entirely when it comes to the iconic movie. While speaking recently to AV Club, Selick vented his annoyance at the misconception. He said:


“That was a little unfair because it wasn’t called ‘Tim Burton’s Nightmare’ until three weeks before the film came out. And I would have been fine with that, if that’s what I signed up for, but Tim was in L.A. making two features while I directed that film, and I mean, Tim is a genius — or he certainly was in his most creative years. I always thought his story was perfect, and he designed the main characters. But it was really me and my team of people who brought that to life.

“Now, of course, if you ask Danny Elfman, well, that’s his movie. When we finished the film, it was so funny because he came up to me and shook my hand. ‘Henry, you’ve done a wonderful job illustrating my songs!’ And he was serious, and I loved it! Fine. But my thing was I’m going to hang in there long enough to where people actually say, ‘Oh, that guy Henry, he does stuff.’”

What Has Henry Selick Done Since The Nightmare Before Christmas?


Well, even if Henry Selick did not quite get the glowing marketing that he would have liked for The Nightmare Before Christmas, he has gone on to be known as one of the greatest directors of stop-motion animation movies, having taken the helm of the Neil Gaiman adaptation Coraline, and now Netflix’s new movie Wendell & Wild. In both cases, Selick made sure that the same thing did not happen when it came to his recognition. He continued:

“I mean, Coraline is based on a really good book by Neil Gaiman. That didn’t hurt. On [‘Wendell & Wild’], my collaborator is Jordan Peele—and that is the reason we were able to set this up. So I really, truly like to collaborate. But I’m the one leading the team to make the movie.”

Wendell & Wild features an ensemble voice cast including Angela Bassett, James Hong, Lyric Ross, Keegan-Michael Key, and Selick’s collaborator on the movie Jordan Peele, who voices Wild, wrote the movie and acted as producer. However, the movie is definitely directed by Henry Selick, and no one should forget that piece of Information when discussing the movie.

Wendell & Wild Is streaming now on Netflix.