“Life’s no fun without a good scare,” sings the town of Halloween in the song “This is Halloween” from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” The McNay Art Museum pays homage to this lyric and the film with a nine-piece exhibit in the year of the film’s twentieth anniversary.
Just in time for Halloween and Christmas, the McNay Art Museum released their biennial “Nightmare Before Christmas” exhibit which contains pieces illustrating the frightening and fascinating Disney film.
Tim Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas” both entertained and disturbed children when it was released in 1993. In Halloween Town, everyday is Halloween and everyone is a monster, vampire, ghoul or zombie just jumping at the chance to prank or scare someone. Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, has grown tired of Halloween and stumbles, or rather falls, into Christmas Town.
Jack is astonished to find an entire town full of color and joy, celebrating a holiday very different from Halloween. In a failed attempt to make Halloween Town more like Christmas Town, Jack tries to imitate Santa Claus, but only scares children with the ghastly presents he delivers.
Fans of the film will be delighted to see how Jack’s tower was made from simple ink paper and wood or how Lock, Shock and Barrel’s walking bathtub was made from wood, metal and styrofoam.
The highly praised film is brought to three dimensions with the constructed sets of pivotal scenes including Jack’s Christmas experiment and Lock, Shock and Barrel’s plan to kidnap “Sandy Claws.” The pieces in the exhibit take on the same dark and disturbing tone of the film. The media used seem so simple but create this unique world effortlessly.
Oogie Boogie, the burlap sack monster covered in spiders and worms, is also on display. The monster from every child’s nightmare, made from foam, rubber and wire, is an integral character of Halloween Town.
Funny signs are displayed alerting patrons not to touch the pieces. One states, “Hands off! This is art you know.”
The exhibit also contains information on the making of the film, including the 24 photographs that were needed to make one second of stop-motion animation.
The exhibit mentions that designers for the film made 180 different heads for the character of Jack with mouths and eyes for various emotions. These different heads were synched with Jack’s dialogue.
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” exhibit is a treat for any fan of the movie, animation or art. The many pieces allow patrons to explore the film in a new way and educate fans on the making of such a praised and admired film.
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” exhibit will be available through Jan. 5, 2014 at the McNay Art Museum (6000 N. New Braunfels Ave.) in the Theatre Arts section of the gallery. The McNay is open from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
Admission is $5 for students with I.D. and free on Thursdays after 4 p.m. and on the first Sunday of each month from noon to 5 p.m. McNay Art Museum is closed on Mondays.