Filmsite Movie Review
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Pages: (1) (2) (3) (4)
Plot Synopsis (continued)

The Plot to Kidnap the Leader of Christmas Town - Mr. Sandy Claws:

The three mischievous, psychopathic trick-or-treaters headed off to their treehouse, the top part of Oogie's underground lair, to gleefully plan and contemplate their devilish plan to work together, with the song: "Kidnap the Sandy Claws". The song was performed in their treehouse playroom that was filled with torture "toys" or devices (a bear trap with jagged teeth, spiked clubs, an axe, poison, a trident spear, a bathtub that walked with legs, ammo, and a catapult):

  • Lock - his trick-or-treat costume was the Devil, with a red shirt and tail, and he also wore a pink facial mask, making his head appear narrow and elongated, with purple lips, yellowish eyes peeking through, curved eyebrows, sharp teeth, and two wavy red-haired bangs (or horns) atop his head; he was the assumed leader of the group
  • Shock - the only female trick-or-treater, costumed as a pointy-hatted Witch; she was the oldest, smartest, cleverest, skinniest and slyest trio member, with dark blue stringy hair, a very long and thin face with a big toothy grin and prominent nose, wearing a purplish-colored dress and wide-brimmed hat
  • Barrel - his Halloween costume was a Skeleton; he was the shortest and most rotund of the trio, with a very circular and pale white face, closely-cropped hair, two very round eyes, a large Cheshire-cat grin with all his teeth showing, and bones showing on his clothing; he was often seen with candy or a lollipop

All: Kidnap the Sandy Claws lock him up real tight / Throw away the key and then turn off all the lights!
Shock: First, we're going to set some bait inside a nasty trap and wait / When he comes a-sniffing we will snap the trap and close the gate!
Lock: Wait, I've got a better plan to catch this big red lobster man / Let's pop him in a boiling pot and when he's done, we'll butter him up
All: Kidnap the Sandy Claws Throw him in a box / Bury him for 90 years Then see if he talks
Shock: Then Mr Oogie Boogie man
All: Can take the whole thing over then / He'll be so pleased, I do declare / That he will cook him rare Whee!

They enacted the caged capture of Sandy Claws with a scared, victimized green skeletal creature inside, and deposited the cage into a pipe chute that led to Oogie-Boogie Man's lair below. They disobediently thought of how their plan would please the Oogie-Boogie Man and that they might be rewarded:

Lock: I say that we take a cannon Aim it at his door and then / Knock three times, and when he answers Sandy Claws will be no more!
Shock: You're so stupid, think now If we blow him up to smithereens / We may lose some pieces
Shock & Lock: and then Jack will beat us black and green
All: Kidnap the Sandy Claws Tie him in a bag / Throw him in the ocean Then see if he is sad
Lock and Shock: Because Mr Oogie Boogie is the meanest guy around / If I were on his boogie list I'd get out of town
Barrel: He'll be so pleased by our success / That he'll reward us, too, I'll bet
All: Perhaps he'll make his special brew / Of snake and spider stew / We're his little henchmen and we take our job with pride / We do our best to please him and stay on his good side

After briefly quarreling with each other, they resumed their song - detailing how they would trick Sandy Claws, kidnap him, and present him to Oogie Boogie:

Shock: I've got something, listen now This one is real good, you'll see / We'll send a present to his door Upon there'll be a note to read / Now, in the box, we'll wait and hide until his curiosity
All: Entices him to look inside and then we'll have him one, two, three / Kidnap the Sandy Claws Beat him with a stick / Lock him up for 90 years See what makes him tick / Kidnap the Sandy Claws Chop him into bits / Mr Oogie Boogie is sure to get his kicks / Kidnap the Sandy Claws See what we will see / Lock him in a cage and then throw away the key

In Oogie-Boogie's lair-hideout below, the sinister bogeyman laughed to himself: "Sandy Claws, huh?" as he tossed or rolled a pair of bloody-red "bones" (dice). A black and white-banded, Beetlejuice-like toothy sand worm or snake emerged from a hole on the side of the die and slithered around.

Further Assignments for Other Halloween Town Residents:

Jack assigned the Halloween Town's three Zombie Band members, Jimmy the Accordian Player (with the head and tail of a fish on either end), James the saxophone player, and Jim the bass player (with a severed head inside his instrument), to practice playing the tune to the popular Christmas carol "Jingle Bells."

Sally (with psychic powers) warned Jack of her "most terrible vision" or premonition about his Christmas idea, with "smoke and fire." She cautioned that his well-meaning but non-judicious plan to co-opt Christmas was ill-advised. She cautioned him that it was a mistake to mix Christmas and Halloween together and would lead to disaster: ("But it seems wrong to me, very wrong"), but his over-enthusiam led him to ignore and not heed her admonitions.

With her prodigious and creative sewing skills, Sally was appointed to sew a red "Sandy Claws" suit for Jack, who would impersonate Santa. Jack praised her sewing abilities: "Who else is clever enough to make my Sandy Claws outfit?"

Jack was interrupted by the arrival of Lock, Shock, and Barrel, who brought Jack their abductee, but they accidentally had entered through the wrong holiday tree portal and mistakenly returned with the Easter Bunny. Jack ordered them to restore the Easter Bunny to its world and apologize, and then be careful in fetching Sandy Claws. The trio promised: 'We'll get it right next time."

Preparations for Christmas:

With about 35 days left until Christmas Day, Dr. Finkelstein was in his science laboratory with his hunch-backed assistant Igor, working on plans to supply Jack with skeletal reindeer. Igor was rewarded with a toss of bone biscuit treats, like a dog. Sally was busily sewing Jack's red Santa suit at her sewing machine, using thread from a spider spinning its web.

In the "Making Christmas" sequence, the Halloween Town residents were at work while singing about their duties, making ghoulish gifts, presents and decorations:

This time / This time / Making Christmas / Making Christmas / Making Christmas Making Christmas is so fine / It's ours this time and won't the children be surprised? / It's ours this time / Making Christmas / Making Christmas / Making Christmas Time to give them something fun / They'll talk about for years to come / Let's have a cheer from everyone / It's time to party / Making Christmas Making Christmas / Snakes and mice get wrapped up so nice / With spider legs and pretty bows / It's ours this time / All together, that and this / With all our tricks We're making Christmas time

During the song, many ghastly presents and gift boxes were created, including a giant orange, black-striped python snake with teeth, two terrorizing Jack-in-the-Boxes (with a pumpkin-head and black cat inside ready to jump out) made by the Clown with the Tear Away Face, and an evil toy duck built by the Vampire brothers. Wolfman noticed that Jack had arrived, who was offering compliments and caught up in his fantasy of taking over Christmas. Jack was oblivious to the fact that the citizens were making unbelievably frightening and creepy presents placed in gift boxes:

I don't believe / What's happening to me / My hopes, my dreams / My fantasies / (He cackled) Hee, hee, hee, hee ...

Jack happened to notice that the Harlequin Demon had transformed an 'old rat' into a gift hat, and suggested that it needed to be replaced by a bat instead:

My compliments from me to you on this your most intriguing hat / Consider though this substitute A bat in place of this old rat

Jack also advised the Melting Man, wearing a suit over his sticky body, to not pass off a dead turtle as a present and suggested he choose something more pleasant:

No, no, no, now that's all wrong / This thing will never make a present / It's been dead for much too long Try something fresher / Something pleasant Try again, don't give up

The three Mr. Hydes from earlier were appropriately creating a set of 'nesting' dolls: "All together, that and this / With all our tricks We're making Christmas time." The clock's hands moved forward to indicate that only 11 days were left until Christmas. A corresponding group of elves in Santa's Christmas Town factory, not knowing of Halloween Town's devious plans, were also busily creating rocking horse toys, teddy bear patterns, and stamping out gingerbread men. They were also polishing Santa's shiny red sleigh. Both groups were loading up the gifts for delivery. In his laboratory, Dr. Finkelstein was resurrecting skeletal reindeer with electrification, bringing them to life, and attaching them to Jack's sleigh.

A final chorus of the song was sung by the Halloweeners, as Jack's coffin-shaped sleigh was assembled and filled to the brim with scary toys:

This time, this time / Making Christmas, Making Christmas / La, la, la It's almost here and we can't wait / So ring the bells and celebrate / 'Cause when the full moon starts to climb / We'll all sing out -

Jack ended the song with "It's Christmas time!" and another cackle: "Hee, hee, hee." It was now Christmas Eve.

In Christmas Town, Santa was reviewing a long list of children to receive gifts (those who were "nice") and noticed that very few of them were "naughty." He was interrupted by the trick-or-treating trio of Lock, Shock, and Barrel ringing his doorbell. When he answered the door, they threw a black bag over him to kidnap him.

Jack's Disastrous Plan to Kidnap and Impersonate Santa:

Sally was disturbed by Jack's white beard and his glee at donning the red Santa suit that she had made for him (including the coat, belt, and boots): "You don't look like yourself, Jack, not at all," but Jack was overjoyed: "Isn't that wonderful? It couldn't be more wonderful!" She was used to him as "The Pumpkin King" although Jack loved his new identity and persona: "And I feel so much better now!" However, he noticed that he was missing Santa's red cap. Just then, the trio of Lock, Shock, and Barrel arrived with the captured Santa tied up in a bag.

Jack's well-meaning but disastrous mission to kidnap the leader of Christmas Town had been fulfilled (although it had taken the trio 30 days to return with Santa). He was surprised when he saw that the jolly white-bearded Santa actually had hands: ("Why, you have hands! You don't have claws at all!"). Jack told Santa of his misguided objective:

You don't need to have another worry about Christmas this year....Consider this a vacation, Sandy, a reward. It's your turn to take it easy.

Jack had no idea that he was putting the real Santa Claus into jeopardy, when he let the trio take Santa away - and they proceeded to march him to Oogie Boogie's place. At the last minute, Jack realized the costume-ingredient that he was missing, and grabbed the red cap off Santa's head - thereby acquiring Santa's power. Sally was very upset: "This is worse than I thought. Much worse."

To prevent Jack's plan from working, Sally briefly returned to Finkelstein's castle, where she looked in at the mad scientist who was busy at work in his lab creating a new female substitute-companion for himself, using about half of his own brain - so that his new creation would be more compatible as a mate than Sally. Sally stole a receptacle filled with "Fog Juice."

Meanwhile, Lock, Shock, and Barrel took 'Sandy Claws' to their treehouse hideout to place him into their long metallic chute that led down into the lair of the villainous, sinister bogeyman known as Oogie Boogie (Ken Page), Jack's evil rival (they were twin brothers). Santa was forcibly pushed down the pipe chute and was revealed to be wearing holly-and-mistletoe decorated underwear- he landed in the middle of a large neon-lit roulette wheel, at Oogie Boogie's feet. The hideout, normally resembling a dark dungeon with various torture devices and inhabited by skeletons and skeletal bats, was decorated as a gaudy casino, with a black-lighted interior and a giant, roulette wheel-shaped floor (with an oversized eightball as its center). [Note: Unlucky slots on the wheel were labeled with bad-luck symbols (a black cat and the number 13).] Oogie Boogie, who glowed green in the black-light, was introduced as an addicted gambler who rolled a pair of dice that often turned up with "snake eyes."

Resembling the shape of a walking brown burlap bag, he had been plotting to torture Santa and now found his opportunity to taunt and threaten his new shackled captive. As he gloated, he danced and jive-sang "Oogie Boogie's Song":

[Note: Oogie's cocky vocal performance was a mixture of many other memorable performances (although some worried it might be interpreted as racist), including: Bert Lahr's portrayal of the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz (1939), Mercedes McCambridge's vocalization of the demon Pazuzu, in The Exorcist (1973), Mabel Scott's 1948 hit "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus," and Calloway's 1931 sound recording of "Minnie the Moocher."]

Well, well, well What have we here? / Sandy Claws, huh? Ooh, I'm really scared! / So you're the one everybody's talkin' about / You're jokin' you're jokin' I can't believe my eyes / You're jokin' me, you gotta be This can't be the right guy / He's ancient, he's ugly I don't know which is worse / I might just split a seam now if I don't die laughin' first / When Mr Oogie Boogie says There's trouble close at hand / You'd better pay attention now 'cause I'm the Boogie Man / And if you aren't shakin' There's somethin' very wrong / 'Cause this may be the last time You hear the Boogie song

When Santa begged twice to be released (as part of the song), Oogie Boogie ignored him and continued to terrorize him:

You're jokin', you're jokin' I can't believe my ears / Would someone shut this fella up? I'm drownin' in my tears / It's funny, I'm laughing You really are too much / And now, with your permission I'm going to do my stuff

Santa: What are you going to do?
Oogie Boogie: I'm going to do the best I can.

[Note: This short exchange between Santa and Oogie Boogie was directly lifted from Cab Calloway's jazzy appearance in a Fleischer Betty Boop cartoon titled The Old Man of the Mountain (1933). At 3:40 into the 5:43 minute cartoon, Betty asked the question: "Whatcha going to do now?", and "The Old Man" (Calloway) answered: "I'm gonna do the best I can."]

Oh, the sound of rollin' dice, to me is music in the air / 'Cause I'm a gamblin' Boogie Man Although I don't play fair / It's much more fun, I must confess when lives are on the line / Not mine, of course But yours, old boy / Now, that'd be just fine....

Oh, brother, you're somethin' You put me in a spin / You aren't comprehending the position that you're in / It's hopeless, you're finished You haven't got a prayer / 'Cause I'm Mr Oogie Boogie / And you ain't goin' nowhere

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