Best '90s Halloween movie: 'Hocus Pocus' or 'Nightmare Before Christmas'? | The Tylt
We're talking vintage '90s Disney goodness here. "Hocus Pocus" resurrects a trio of witch sisters in modern day Salem to terrorize two teens, a talking cat and a young Thora Birch. "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is a classic Tim Burton/Henry Selick stop-motion movie about the pumpkin king of Halloweentown and his desire to change careers. Both films came out in 1993 and have been immortalized on home video—but which one is the best? Vote below! 🎃
Best '90s Halloween movie: 'Hocus Pocus' or 'Nightmare Before Christmas'?
Released on July 16, 1993 by Walt Disney Pictures, "Hocus Pocus" initially started out as a made-for-TV movie for the Disney Channel. Producer David Kirschner came up with the idea after telling his daughter a spooky bedtime story. The film's cult classic status even inspired a book released earlier this year entitled "Hocus Pocus in Focus: The Thinking Fan's Guide to Disney's Halloween Classic."
You're in for a devil of a time when three outlandishly wild witches -- Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy-- return from 17th-century Salem after they're accidentally conjured up by some unsuspecting pranksters! It's a night full of zany fun and comic chaos once the tricky 300-year-old trio sets out to cast a spell on the town and reclaim their youth -- but first they must get their act together and outwit three kids and a talking cat! Loaded with bewitching laughs, HOCUS POCUS is an outrageously wild comedy that's sure to entertain everyone!
Released on October 29, 1993 by Touchstone Pictures, Disney executives feared "The Nightmare Before Christmas" would be too scary and weird to exist under the proper Disney banner. The film began as a three-page poem written by Tim Burton, who toyed with the idea for years. When Disney finally green lit the project, Burton tapped his longtime friend Henry Selick to direct since Burton was already attached to "Batman Returns." The film was converted to Digital 3-D in 2006, and it is screened annually at Disney's El Capitan theater in Hollywood.
Bored with the same old scare-and-scream routine, Pumpkin King Jack Skellington longs to spread the joy of Christmas. But his merry mission puts Santa in jeopardy and creates a nightmare for good little boys and girls everywhere!
When "Hocus Pocus" bowed in theaters back in 1993, it was something of a commercial flop. It did not receive widespread critical acclaim. But as time moved on, the film found a cult following... which grew into something of a cultural marker for many millennials.
Cable broadcasts of "Hocus Pocus" now draw in millions of viewers for ABC/Disney. And every year, like clockwork, the film jettisons to the top of Amazon's best sellers—pulling in millions of dollars in home video sales.
Basically, "Hocus Pocus" has aged like a fine wine and is millennial nostalgia bait that knows no rival.
“It really is kind of amazing, whenever someone finds out that I wrote that film — particularly females — how enthusiastic their reaction is,” says Garris, who is known primarily for his work in horror but has received increasing amounts of Hocus Pocus love over the past decade. “This has become something iconic and something that represents the holiday.”
"The Nightmare Before Christmas" was also something of a commercial dud when it came out in 1993, earning only $50 million during its first theatrical run. But unlike "Hocus Pocus," the Henry Selick-directed film received widespread critical acclaim and was nominated for an Academy Award. It currently holds a 94% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
"Nightmare" was an instant hit on home video, however, and gradually became one of Disney's most recognizable and beloved properties. By the turn of the century, "Nightmare" had basically overtaken Hot Topic's entire retail catalog and found its own corner of Disneyland to sell merchandise to fans.
"Nightmare Before Christmas" is timeless, boasting an incredible soundtrack of memorable songs and the most impressive stop-motion animation of the last 25 years. It's easily the most celebrated Halloween-themed movie from the '90s, even though Disney fought constantly with both Selick and Tim Burton during production.
Because of the dark and deeply weird nature of Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas, Walt Disney Studios decided it was too off-brand to be released under their banner. So the film was made through their branch Touchstone Pictures. But this didn't keep Disney from dropping some serious studio notes, including the insistence that Jack Skellington's empty sockets be filled with a pair of friendly eyes. A common guideline in animation and puppet-creation is that eyes are crucial to having an audience connect to a character, but Selick and Burton wouldn't budge, and ultimately proved their anti-hero didn't need oculars to connect.
Yeah, but the fans say "Hocus Pocus" is the best Halloween film! There can be only one!
Nope! "Nightmare Before Christmas" is the best Halloween film and—depending on who you ask—the best Christmas film too.
Get you a movie that can do both. 🎃🎄