THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
August 5, 1991
AN OLD-FASHIONED CALENDAR,
the kind that used to hang in offices in the forties. Each day
is a tear-off page. The dates are printed in bold black
The pages of days of the year zip off -- at a rate faster than
the eye can really register. The impression should be of time
Over this, SANTA CLAUS narrates....
'Twas a long time ago, quite a bit to be fair
In a place that I'm sure you are quite unaware.
For our story that you are about to be told
Began in the holiday worlds of old.
Without holidays, goodness, how dull life would be
Without their distraction and pleasure and glee.
The calendar makes a SUDDEN STOP AT
The calendar page peels back to reveal the first hint of color in
the black and white of the year. Smoke curls up from the chimney
of a snow-covered cottage in a clearing of a snow-covered pine
forest. THE STOP IS ONLY FOR A BEAT.
Then the calendar speeds on.
SANTA (V.O.) (CONT'D)
But our holidays are the result of much fuss
And hard work for the worlds that must make them for us
The calendar STOPS again. This time at
This stop is short, but longer than the last -- as each
subsequent stop will be.
In Valentine-ville, FAT CUPIDS shoot arrows at distant chocolate-
dripping hearts: target practice.
SANTA (V.O.) (CONT'D)
See, each holiday town works all year to create
Twenty-four special hours, fantastically great.
Soon the calendar whirls on. Next STOP is
where it is spring. CACKLING HENS sit side-by-side on their long
row of nests. In unison, choreographed like some ballet, they
lay their pre-decorated eggs.
The eggs then drop down a chute and land on a conveyor belt which
carries them out ot the henhouse and into waiting Easter baskets.
SANTA (V.O.) (CONT'D)
Fleeting twenty-four hours take long to prepare,
A full year of planning and plenty of care.
But now getting back to the story at hand
I should mention THIS POINT about holiday lands --
The calendar flips to the
FOURTH OF JULY.
-- ABE LINCOLN fires a cannon. The cannonball explodes mid-air,
showering down the word, "HAPPY."
-- BETSY ROSS uses a SPARKLER to write the word, "FOURTH."
-- PAUL REVERE sets off the first of six rockets. Rocket #1
erupts into an "O." #2 traces an "F" -- together they read "OF."
Rocket #3 won't light. Neither will #4, #5, or #6. Paul Revere
But PAUL REVERE'S HORSE saves the day. He kicks off his
horseshoes -- shooting them at the side of a wooden fence. As
they hit the boards each becomes a letter: "J," "U," "L," "Y."
SANTA (V.O.) (CONT'D)
For each one, way back when, was alas unaware
Of the others' existence, now I've said it -- so there!
The calendar pages tear on, slowing at October 29, slowing more
at, and stopping at the 31st.
SANTA (V.O.) (CONT'D)
But once there occurred a calamity SO GREAT!
When two of the worlds did collide by mistake...
The october 31st page peels back to... nothing. To BLACK. We
fall in, or perhaps it should feel more like we're swallowed up.
Carved JACK O'LANTERNS come at us in the long tunnel of darkness.
Collision seems inevitable, but in the instant before we would
slam into them, the jack o'lanterns veer off, turning to display
the various credits on their uncarved backsides.
When the last jack o'lantern zooms toward us, it doesn't veer
off. It keeps coming and fast. Rather than collide with it
though -- we fall straight into one of the PUMPKINHEAD'S CARVED-
OUT, TRIANGULAR EYES into the further black there and out...
A CRYPT DOOR
which opens onto the
EXT. HALLOWEENLAND CEMETERY. NIGHT.
The bloated orange disk of the MOON illuminates Halloweenland's
delicately decrepit graveyard.
REVERSE ON PUMPKINHEAD,
giant jack o'lantern head now set on the squat vines of his many
leafy legs. He looks more like a spider than like anything else
as he scuttles across the cemetery toward the big pumpkin patch.
>>>>> THIS IS HALLOWEEN
Boys and Girls of every age
Wouldn't you like to see something strange?
Come with us and you will see...
This our town of Halloween!
Pumpkinhead has reached the
where he drops down among his fellow pumpkins -- who all wake up
at once -- sudden jack o'lantern mouths and eyes glowing wide for
PUMPKIN PATCH CHORUS
This is Halloween, this is Halloween!
Pumpkins scream in the dead of night --
This is Halloween, everybody make a scene
Trick or treat 'til the neighbors gonna die of fright!
EXT. HALLOWEEN TOWN. NIGHT/CONTINUOUS TIME.
Beyond the graveyard lies the little city of odd expressionist
angles and the morbid extravaganza of Gothic manses.
PUMPKIN PATCH CHORUS (V.O.) (CONT'D)
It's our town. Everybody scream.
In this town of Halloween...
We swoop down the street, through the creaky iron gate of a...
EXT. DESERTED GOTHIC MANSE. NIGHT/CONTINUOUS TIME.
We enter THROUGH A BROKEN, COBWEB-CLOGGED WINDOW into...
INT. DESERTED GOTHIC MANSE. NIGHT/CONTINUOUS TIME.
Many CREATURES hide in the shadows of this creepy house. The
camera finds them...
I am the one hiding under your bed,
Teeth ground sharp and eyes glowing red.
I am the one hiding under your stairs
Fingers like snakes and spiders in my hair.
IN THE MANSE'S DECAYED PARLOR,
every item of furniture that could conceivably serve as a coffin
springs open -- the grandfather clock, the window seat, the sofa,
the chaise longe, the hearth rug (covering a trap door), the
drawers of a sideboard and out pop
The Corpses sit bolt upright and heartily sing:
CHORUS OF CORPSES
This is Halloween, this is Halloween,
THE MANSE'S FALLING DOWN FRONT HALL
is tenuously illuminated by a tarantula chandelier which clings
to the ceiling overhead and lowers and rises according to the
whims of its web.
FOUR BIG VAMPIRES
lumber in from the dark, slanty hallways that fan off the
entrance hall. They march in and, in formation, march OUT THE
FRONT DOOR onto the ruins of--
EXT. WORM-ROTTED FRONT PORCH. NIGHT/CONTINUOUS TIME
The Vampires' bodies are huge, but their heads are small like
insect heads and the voices that come out of heads are little,
squeaky and high.
In this town, we call home,
Everyone hail to the pumpkin song!
As they sing they march down the rickety steps. Out on the--
EXT. STREET. NIGHT/CONTINUOUS TIME.
A HEARSE passes the Manse. Riding on top is the corpulent MAYOR
of Halloweenland. Not surprisingly, he's a TWO-FACED SORT OF
GUY, revealed as each of his faces sings a line:
In this town, don't we love it now
Everybody's waiting for the next surprise.
While the hearse turns a
and glides past an ALLEY we hear a GRAVELLY VOICE:
'Round that corner, man,
Hiding in a trashcan
Something's waiting now to pounce and how you'll--
The lid flies off of a trashcan and out pops the GRAVELLY-VOICED
TRASHCAN-DWELLING MONSTER. He's fat and slimy and grotesque.
-- Scream! This is Halloween,
Red 'n black, slimy green...
Aren't you scared? Well, that's just fine!
WITCHES speed toward us on their brooms -- zipping out of the alley.
Say it once, say it twice,
Take the chance and roll the dice
Ride with the moon in the dead of night (oh)
At the street, the witches fan out and swoop past the
a gigantic oak with SEVERAL HANGED MEN dangling from its broad,
The hanging tree itself sings:
Everybody scream, everybody scream
In our town of Halloween.
The hanged men suddenly revive:
This is Halloween, This is Halloween...
EXT. ANOTHER STREET. NIGHT.
A LUMPEN-LOOKING LONG-HAIRED WOMAN IN HEELS hurries away down a
tortuously windy street. This is SALLY. For now, we see only
her backside, her waist-length hair.
Behind her, and closer to us, a GHOUL tips into view to
demonstrate his particular talent:
I am the guy with the tearaway face...
Sally hesitates, listening.
Here in a flash and gone without a trace.
Sally is about to turn around, but as the ghoul vanishes, she
continues on her way. We follow her.
In a moment, a SECOND GHOUL sets upon her -- this one more
gruesome than the last.
I am the who when you call --
This ghoul is closer, louder and Sally does turn around now --
revealing that she's a crudely stitched together Bride Of
Frankenstein Rag Doll. Her balance is precarious. Her arms
flop. Her mouth is a tragic slash. She has a quavering, little
-- Who's there?
But the second ghoul has disappeared before she sees him. Only
his voice remains...
SECOND GHOUL'S VOICE
I am the wind blowing through your hair.
Invisible fingers lift Sally's long hair. It is with pathetic
eagerness that she looks around for whomever is responsible for
A THIRD GHOUL
springs into view, then bounces skyward. With a very
disappointed Sally (she's sorry he's leaving), we watch him go up
EXT. SKY. NIGHT/CONTINUOUS TIME.
The Third Ghoul seems to reach the moon.
I am the shadow on the moon at night,
filling your dreams to the brim with fright.
As the Third Ghoul passes the orange disk of the moon,
flap out from behind it. They sing with the Third Ghoul...
THIRD GHOUL AND BATS
This is Halloween, This Is Halloween HALLOWEEN! HALLOWEEN!
The bats flutter off and the Third Ghoul falls back toward the
ground. He lands...
EXT. HALLOWEEN TOWN SQUARE. NIGHT/CONTINUOUS TIME.
As he hits the ground, the Third Ghoul shatters, breaking apart
into several pieces -- globular and doughy GELATINOUS LUMPS, each
a separate little creature. When they sing, they have very high
Tender Lumplings everywhere
Life's no fun without a good scare.
Over the crest of the hill, behind the town square,
march into view, flanking the MAYOR'S HEARSE.
That's our job, but we're not mean
In our town of Halloween.
Behind the corpses come the VAMPIRES.
CORPSES AND VAMPIRES
In this town --
blares out his message through a P.A. SYSTEM on the hearse.
-- don't we love it now?
Everyone's waiting for the next surprise.
The WITCHES come next...
MAYOR, CORPSES, VAMPIRES, WITCHES
Skeleton Jack might catch you in the back and
The Gelatinous Lumps instantly reasemble to form the Third
-- like a banshee make you jump --
The Third Ghoul immediately bounces out of sight again...
stumbles into view, still hurrying. She sings with everyone
MAYOR, CORPSES, VAMPIRES,
-- out of your SKIN!
This is Halloween, --
excitedly spots someone coming -- though he's still out of view
-- Everyone scream, won't ya
Please make way for a special guy...
turn to look.
MAYOR, CORPSES, VAMPIRES,
Our man Jack is --
-- King of the Pumpkin Patch.
MAYOR, CORPSES, VAMPIRES,
Everyone hail to the Pumpkin King now.
They part to make way for
JACK SKELLINGTON, THE PUMPKIN KING,
astride his SKELTON HORSE, boots set backwards in the stirrups as
is done for the honored dead. Jack is tall, long-limbed and
bone-thin. He is formally attired, and wears an elegant bat bow-
Sally gapes tragically at Jack. But he rides right past without
Accompanying Jack are most of the CREATURES AND MONSTERS we've
met, the various inhabitants of Halloweenland. Everyone else
falls in behind Jack -- including a stumbling, almost-left-
This is Halloween, THIS IS HALLOWEEN (etc.)
THE HANGING TREE
hurries to join the parade. He brings up the rear. The HANGED
MEN bobble on their ever-tightening nooses, their tongues and
eyes popping out.
The tighter nooses make the Hanged Men's voices reed-thin and
high -- contrasting to the enormous Hanging Tree's lone basso
HANGING TREE AND HANGED MEN
In this place we call home
Everyone hail to the Pumpkin Song
Jack Skellington is demonstrative and very excitable with highs
that are extraordinarily high and lows that are unusually low.
Right now he is surrounded by his ADMIRERS -- the witches in
particular fawn over him. Jack seems eager to please everyone,
but, at the same time, a bit anxious to get on with it.
Sally watches htm longingly from the edge of the circle.
Oh, Jack, you are such a
(turns to the assembly)
The assembly agrees.
Yes, he is!
You make sparks fly, Jack.
You make oil boil.
You make rats shriek.
I love that.
You make flesh crawl...
The three witches try to outdo one another.
...And wounds suppurate.
Thank you, thank you, thank you
The last witch glares triumphantly at her cronies.
What an inspiration to
It was our most horrific
Sally sighs and starts to drift irresistibly toward Jack.
Throughout, rag doll Sally gains substance as she gains
conviction -- this is her first baby step toward that, not even
perceptible, but in any case RUDELY INTERRUPTED BY --
THE EVIL SCIENTIST
who created her. He takes ahold of her by one of her stitched-
The deadly nightshade you
slipped me wore off, Sally...
I thought I'd find you here....
Sally pulls back, trying to wriggle free of the scientist's
But he doesn't.
Have it then if you must!
With her other hand, she quickly and deftly rips out the stitches
that attach her arm to the rest of her ... THEN RIPS THE ARM
CLEAR OUT OF ITS SOCKET.
SHE LEAVES THE DOCTOR HOLDING IT WHILE SHE RUNS OFF into the the
crowd, determined to elude the Evil Scientist. She disappears
into the gloom in the direction of the cemetery.
Shaking her torn-off arm, the Evil Scientist calls after her:
You'll be back. Sooner or
later you'll need this.
continues to congratulate and be congratulated by the various
citizens of Halloweenland. The Mayor interjects, looking for
Next year'll even be better,
Do you really think so, Jack?
Of course I do. It always is,
We'll have to get on it
immediately. No time for
sitting around smugly.
That's so true... We've got a
lot of work ahead of us.
The assembly breaks up. Jack turns to leave but his path is
blocked by A COUPLE OF ADORABLY HIDEOUS KID MONSTERS.
COUPLE OF KID MONSTERS
Just one more time, Jack!
Jack rattles his bones once more for the kids. They shriek a
gleeful shriek and scamper off.
AT THE CORNER OF THE TOWN SQUARE,
Jack passes a STREET BAND -- fellow skeletons down on their luck:
an ACCORDION PLAYER, A SAX PLAYER, AND A VIOLINIST. He tosses a
coin into their hat. Playing, they nod their thanks.
EXT. CEMETERY. NIGHT/LATER.
Utterly dejected, Sally crouches behind a tombstone. She hugs
herself with her remaining arm.
THE SUDDEN SOUND OF SOMEONE APPROACHING (O.S.)
makes her freeze. She dares to peek over the top of the
tombstone to see who it is --
The sight of him immediately comforts her.
Oh... it's Jack... Look at him
-- he's so alive... So happy...
He's so filled with confidence
he could teach the wolves to
Sally lets out a little whimper of self-pity and collapses out of
sight behind the tombstone to feel sorry for herself...
He'll never notice me. Why
would he? Why should he?
Sally hugs herself again -- as best she can with her one arm.
makes his way past the markers and mausoleums. He looks around
and, since Sally is hidden behind the tombstone, he doesn't see
anyone. He starts the long climb up Cemetery Ridge as he sings:
>>>>> JACK'S LAMENT
There are few who'd deny, at what I do I am the best
For my talents are renowned far and wide
When it comes to surprises in the moon-lit night,
I excel without ever even trying.
With the slightest little effort of my ghost-like charms
I have seen grown men give out a shriek
With the wave of my hand, and a well-placed moan,
I have swept the very bravest off their feet.
Jack pauses a moment, as if letting these facts settle in, then
heaves a huge sigh and sags miserably.
Jack's ghost dog, ZERO, rises out of his grave, floats over to
Jack and circles around him. Trying to comfort his beloved
master, he drapes himself over Jack's shoulder and lays a
sympathetic head on him.
Hunched over with sorrow, Jack drags his bones on up the desolate
Yet year after year, it's the same routine
And I grow so weary of the sound of screams
And I, Jack, the PUMPKIN KING!
Have grown so tired of the same old thing....
Zero drifts sadly to the ground, and flattens faithfully beside
his master -- only his shiny little jack o'lantern nose on the
end of his pointy snout sticks up.
Jack tragically reaches the crest of the long hill. Zero
follows, dragging along the ground after him.
Oh somewhere deep inside of these bones
An emptiness began to grow
There's something out there far from my home
A longing that I've never known
... I've never known.
Jack gazes hopelessly out over Halloweenland.
BEHIND HER TOMBSTONE,
Sally can't believe what she's hearing. She peeks, but hides
again. She listens breathlessly as
Jack continues his soul-searching.
I'm a master of fright, and a demon of light
And I'll scare you right out of your pants, boy
To a guy in Kentucky, I'm Mister Unlucky
And I'm known throughout England and France, boy
And since I am dead, I can take off my head
To recite Shakespearian quotations
No animal or man can scream like I can
With the fury of my recitations.
But who here would ever understand
That the Pumpkin King with the skeleton grin
Would tire of his crown -- if they only understood
He would give it all up if he only could
... if he only could
heart goes out to Jack. She had no idea he felt this way, no
idea of his tragic side. She wants to show him that he's not as
alone as he thinks, that she understands him. But she's timid --
should she come out from behind the tombstone? Dare she dare?
Should she? Shouldn't she?
Oh, there's an empty place in my bones
That calls out for something unknown
The fame and praise, come year after year,
Does nothing for these empty tears
... these empty tears....
heads off with Zero, staggering away blind in his misery,
still crouched behind the tombstone, continues to debate with
Jack has left the cemetery and disappeared from sight when she
finally screws up her courage and pops up full of determination
JACK! I KNOW YOU HARDLY KNOW
ME, BUT --
He isn't there to hear her... Shocked and disappointed, Sally's
rag doll body goes floppy again.
Her voice gets high and tiny... then trails off, almost
-- I feel the same way you
Sally stares sadly into the empty spot Jack so recently occupied,
then turns and hobbles limply away. She stops at a
WEED-CHOKED AND DESICCATED LITTLE HERB GARDEN
set beside a cluster of tombstones at the edge of the graveyard.
The herbs growing there are labelled: "Henbane," "Witch Hazel,"
"Deadly Night Shade."
As best she can with her single arm, Sally gathers fresh sprigs
of Deadly Night Shade.
EXT. WILDERNESS. NIGHT/LATER.
Lost in his private tragedy, Jack lurches heedlessly forward.
Looking around confused -- they've never been here before -- Zero
floats quickly after, hurrying to catch up. Whimpering, he bites
Jack's coattails and pulls -- trying his best to get Jack to
stop, to turn around...
Jack pulls free.
Trying again, Zero grabs Jack by the leg, wrapping his mouth
around Jack's skinny shin bone.
No. No playing today, Zero...
I'm just not in the mood.
Zero lets go and Jack marches wretchedly forward.
INT. EVIL SCIENTIST'S HOUSE. KITCHEN. NIGHT/LATER.
AN EMPTY JAR MARKED "DEADLY NIGHT SHADE."
drops in the fresh sprigs of the herb.
EVIL SCIENTIST (O.S.)
Alarmed, Sally screws the lid back on -- as quickly as she can
with only one arm -- and hides the jar at the back of a cabinet.
THE EVIL SCIENTIST
is a twisted silhouette in the doorway behind Sally.
You came back.
Gasping guiltily, Sally spins around.
He holds up Sally's torn-off arm -- as well as a large shiny
needle threaded with a long strand of thread.
Didn't I tell you? I'm always
right, you know, my dear...
Smiling his mad grin, the scientist gestures into the room behind
He makes way for Sally.
After a beat, Sally nods. Resigned, she trudges past him.
He jauntily follows her.
INT. EVIL SCIENTIST'S LABORATORY. NIGHT/LATER.
The Evil Scientist carefully sews Sally's arm back on -- evenso
the stitches are crude and the fit awkward. The expression on
her face is more tragic than ever.
You're mine, you know. I made
If you went away, what would
become of me?
I'm grown up now. I have to
leave some time.
Of course you do, and I want
you to... but there's no need
to hurry it along, is there?
I can't help it.
That's twice this month you've
slipped Deadly Night Shade into
my tea and run off. People
might get the wrong idea and
think you're unhappy at home.
Sally whimpers sadly.
I do the best I can to make it
comfortable for us here.
But I guess my best just isn't
As anxious as she is to be away from here, Sally can't bear the
thought of hurting anybody and instinctively tries to make him
That's not true. It's a
beautiful home, wonderfully
comfortable... I'm indebted to
you for everything... It's
Just me, I suppose... I'm
restless. I can't help it.
The scientist smiles, feeling Sally under his sway again. He
pats her consolingly, then finishes sewing on her arm and makes
an elaborate knot at the end of his stitches. He snips the
thread and puts away his sewing kit.
It's a phase, my dear. It'll
pass. We need to be patient,
Sally heaves a big sigh.
She looks off tragically. Outside, it's sunrise.
EXT. FOREST. DAWN.
Still bowed by the depth of his despair, unaware of time, or
distance, or anything, Jack wanders through the gloom of the
forest. Zero floats protectively at his side.
Suddenly, Jack is stabbed by a ray of light from the rising sun.
Cringing, he stops in his tracks. When he dares to look around
him, it is as though he has just been woken up from a dream.
Where am I?
Zero barks his haunted ghost bark. Jack seems to notice the dog.
Zero! Where are we? We've
never been here, have we, boy?
Jack takes a few steps one direction and looks curiously, then a
few steps in another direction and looks -- and looks.
It's some place new.
Zero circles Jack, whirling him around, trying to aim him back
toward home. But Jack resists. He wants to see whatever there
is to see.
He proceeds deeper into the woods.
EXT. JACK'S TOWER. DAY.
The Mayor's hearse pulls up in front of Jack's tower. The Mayor
climbs out, arms brimming with blueprints and plans. He struts
to Jack's door -- his self-confident face on -- and bangs the
He waits for an answer. There isn't any. Even this little bit
of suspense brings out the Mayor's other face -- this one is
Jack?! You home?!
There's still no answer.
The mayor squints out into the street. Clearing his throat, he
barks confidently at PASSERS-BY:
(to various passers-
Have you seen Jack?... Have
you seen Jack?...
But nobody has. He doesn't bother to ask the Street Band set up
across the street.
The mayor's bravado face evaporates and the whiny one takes over.
Where is he? We had an
His blustery face back on, the Mayor shouts up to Jack's room at
the top of the tower.
Jack?! I've got the plans for
next year! See?!
He holds up the blueprints and plans he carries.
I need to go over them with you
so we can get started!
Halloween'll be here again in
no time! Three hundred and
sixty odd days fly by too fast!
The Mayor's faces alternate in progressively rapid succession as
panic sets in.
Jack! Please! I'm only an
elected official here! I can't
make decisions! Jack! Answer
Ruined, the Mayor crumples.
The ACCORDION PLAYER of the Street Band says quietly from across
The Mayor looks up.
He's not home.
Where is he?
He hasn't been home all night.
The Mayor tries to rouse himself, but he's shorted out,
He drops again to the sidewalk.
EXT. EVIL SCIENTIST'S HOUSE. DAY/LATER.
Sally peers out of an upper-storey window -- expression eager and
despairing at once.
INT. FOREST. DUSK.
It is just before night. Jack strides forward toward a
DISTANT PUMPKIN SHAPE
that seems to be carved out of the dark and outlined by glowing
Jack can't wait to find out what it means, but Zero, warier than
his master and far less enthusiastic about this adventure, lags
Arriving at the Pumpkin shape, Jack eagerly reaches out to it.
When he touches it, it gives -- CREAKING OPEN to more woods
beyond. It's a DOOR.
Zero hurries to catch up as Jack steps through the Pumpkin-shaped
Door and out into a
in this next forest. Awed, Jack stops dead in the middle of the
clearing and gapes at what he sees -- there are
etched into the trunks of the trees that ring the clearing. To
us, these doorways make sense -- one is shaped like an EASTER
EGG, another like a FIRECRACKER, another like a VALENTINE,
another like a SHAMROCK, and another like a CHRISTMAS TREE. To
Jack, who's never heard of the other holidays, these doorways are
a total mystery.
He is especially TRANSFIXED by the
CHRISTMAS TREE-SHAPED DOOR.
It rattles invitingly on its hinges. Gusts of cold air blow out
from behind it. Snow oozes out beneath. The drama of it draws
Zero hesitates in the Pumpkin-shaped doorway, uneasy about
crossing through it to the other side -- but the sight of Jack,
striding resolutely toward the Christmas Tree-shaped door, makes
him swoop quickly after.
Using all his strength, Jack wrenches open the Christmas Tree-
shaped door. There is a moment's delay -- darkness, stillness,
silence -- then the instantaneous fury of a
A quick blast of snow knocks Zero clear back through the Pumpkin-
The whipping winter wind curls around Jack's frail bones and
SUCKS HIM IN THROUGH THE OPEN DOOR. Jack disappears. The
Christmas Tree-shaped door SLAMS SHUT.
After a beat:
Zero pokes his head up over the lintel of the Pumpkin-shaped
doorway and sees that Jack has vanished. Panic-stricken, he
streaks across the clearing to the closed Christmas Tree door.
Crying, he scratches on the door, tries to squeeze under it (his
vaporous body is easy, but his head and jack o'lantern nose are
another matter), circles the tree, investigates for another
entrance (above, below, every which way). He tries everything in
his ghost-dog powers to get in -- but all in vain. He has no
choice but to wait. Ears cocked, he settles down to stare and
stare at the strange door that swallowed his master....
THE WHIRLING, SNOW-SWIRLING TUNNEL OF BLACKNESS
through which Jack FALLS. The fall abruptly ends. BLACK.
EXT. CHRISTMASTOWN. NIGHT.
Jack sits up in the snow bank where he has landed. He looks
excitedly around. He marvels first at the miracle of snow.
>>>>> WHAT'S THIS?
What's this? What's this?
There's color everywhere... What's this?
There's white things in the air... What's this?
I can't believe my eyes I must be dreaming,
Wake up, Jack, this isn't fair... What's this?
He cavorts excitedly in the snow, slipping and sliding and
finally tumbling down a hill into the center of Christmastown.
He springs up, shakes himself off, and enthusiastically explores
the snow-blanketed village.
What's this? What's this?
There's something very wrong... What's this?
There're people singing songs... What's this?
The streets are lined with
Little creatures laughing,
Everybody seems so happy,
Have I possibly gone daffy...?
What is this...? What's this?
There're children throwing snowballs
Here instead of throwing heads.
They're busy building toys
And absolutely no one's dead.
Here in Christmastown, every tree is a Christmas tree and each
house is shinier and more beautifully decorated than the next.
There's frost on every window,
Oh, I can't believe my eyes,
And in my bones I feel a warmth
That's coming from inside...
Jack peeks into warmly-lighted homes... Jack uses his consummate
Halloween trickster skills to see without being seen...
Oh, look, what's this?
They're hanging mistletoe... They kiss --
Why that looks so unique... Inspired!
They're gathering around to hear a story,
Roasting chestnuts on a fire... What's this?
What's this? In here
They've got a little tree... how queer!
And who would ever think... and why?
They're covering it with
Tiny little things, they've got
Electric lights on strings, and there's a
Smile on everyone, so now
Correct me if I'm wrong...
This looks like fun,
This looks like fun,
Oh, could it be I got my wish...? What's this?
Jack enters the CHILDRENS' cozy BEDROOM in one house...
Oh my, what now?
The children are asleep... But look --
There's nothing underneath... No ghouls
No witches here to scream and scare them
... or ensnare them...
Only cozy little things
Secure inside their dreamland... What's this?
Distracted, Jack goes off to leave the child at whom he has been
peering suddenly wide awake and terrified...
Jack is back outside...
The monsters are all missing
And the nightmares can't be found
And in their place there seems to be
Good feeling all around...
Instead of screams I swear I can hear
Music in the air.
The smell of cakes and pies
Is absolutely everywhere...
The sights, the sounds,
They're everywhere and all around...
I've never felt so good before...
The empty place inside of me is filling up
I simply cannot get enough.
I want it, oh, I want it...
Oh, I want it for my own.
I've got to know
I've got to know
What is this place that I have found?
WHAT IS THIS???
Jack darts this way and that and runs and runs, trying to get his
fill of this strange new wonderful place.
He trips and falls and starts to roll and as he rolls he gathers
snow -- he becomes a gigantic snowball barrelling through
Christmas town, stopping only when he SLAMS INTO
ONE OF TWO GIGANTIC CANDY CANES...
between which spans a sign. Jack bursts out of his snow ball
only to have fresh snow dumped on him which falls from the sign
between the two tall candy canes.
Jack shakes himself free of this fresh heap of snow, looks up at
the wide welcoming sign:
And thoughtfully reads...
.... Christmastown? Hmmmmmmmm.
Jack studies the town from this distance -- the lights glow
Incredible. I'll need proof...
On his feet again, he slinks quietly back toward Christmastown.
EXT. HALLOWEEN TOWN SQUARE. DAY.
A number of the worried citizens of Halloweenland have gathered.
They chatter among themselves. The MAYOR addresses them from the
top of his hearse.
Quiet. Quiet now. We all
agree that two days is far too
long for Jack to have been gone
without warning... Is there
anywhere we've forgotten to
MONSTER WITH THE TEAR-AWAY FACE
I looked in every mausoleum.
We opened the sarcophagi.
BLIND-FOLDED, EXECUTED MAN
I tromped through the Pumpkin
I peeked behind the Cyclops'
The other citizens wheel around to look at him disbelievingly.
(then adds sadly)
But he wasn't there...
It's time to sound the
INT. EVIL SCIENTIST'S KITCHEN. DAY/LATER
Outside, the alarms wail in the distance while, inside, Sally
speedily whips up a pot of sleeping-potion soup.
She keeps looking out the window, hoping for a hint of what's
going on, but nothing -- not a clue. Eager to find out, she
hurries the soup along...
Various spice jars are out on the counter -- among them, the one
labelled "Deadly Night Shade," the entire contents of which she
dumps into the pot.
Regular dose... Double dose...
Double, double dose. He'll be
able to smell a double, double
dose of Deadly Night Shade...
She studies the other jars and picks the one labelled "Frog's
Frog's Breath will overpower
She opens the jar. Recoiling from the odor, she turns aside,
trying to escape the fumes as she pours some of the Frog's Breath
into the soup -- but it starts to overwhelm her anyway. She
swoons. Her knees buckle.
In her swoon, she fumbles blindly among the other jars.
Sweet Pea... Where's that
Sweet Pea... Too bitter...
Her hand finally locates the jar labelled, "Sweet Pea."
The Evil Scientist calls from another room:
EVIL SCIENTIST (O.S.)
Still choking, hardly able even to squeak out an answer, Sally
struggles to open the Sweet Pea jar.
EVIL SCIENTIST (O.S.)
Where's my soup?
Sally finally gets the jar open. As fast as she can, she empties
it into the soup and hovers above the pot. In a moment, the
Sweet Pea takes effect and Sally's strength begins to return.
EVIL SCIENTIST (O.S.)
Good. I'm hungry.
Still a bit shaky, Sally reaches for one more jar. The label on
this one reads, "Worm's Wart."
A handful of Worm's Wart just
for distraction. It'll throw
him off the trail for sure...
She drops in some Worm's Wart, stirs the soup, then ladles out a
INT. EVIL SCIENTIST'S LABORATORY. DAY.
The Evil Scientist is at his lab table, peering into a microscope
and thinking -- which, for him, involves lifting off the top of
his skull and tickling and scrambling the brains inside.
Sally carries in a tray holding his bowl of soup.
The scientist impatiently gestures her over. He replaces the top
of his skull...
Excellent. Over here. Over
here. Set it down.
She gingerly sets the tray in front of him.
The scientist inhales a deep sniff of the steam curling off the
Ah... What's that?... Worm's
He glances suspiciously at Sally.
What trail are you trying to
throw me off now?
Nothing. W-w-what are you
The scientist pushes the bowl of soup toward Sally.
But why? It's your lunch.
There isn't much there in the
I'm not hungry.
(acts all hurt)
What's wrong? I spent all
morning on that soup. I
thought you liked Worm's Wart.
There's nothing more suspicious
than Worm's Wart -- it
distracts one from every other
taste and smell.
He dips a spoon into the soup then holds it up to Sally.
Until you taste it, I won't eat
But I have to go out.
Something's happening out
Whatever it is, it's none of
He waves the spoon at her.
She keeps her lips closed tight.
(lapses into self-pity
Then we'll both starve... An
old man like me, who hardly has
strength as it is -- me,
without whom... me, your own
Can't you make other creations?
I could. Of course I could.
But no one would be like you...
(pours it on again)
I'll never understand how you
can be so cold-hearted, how you
can treat me this way,
discarding me like--
It works. He wears Sally down:
All right... All right...
I'll eat it.
She closes her eyes and sips the soup off the spoon.
EXT. TOWN SQUARE. DUSK.
The Mayor lies sprawled on top of his hearse, staring up at the
sky for ideas. He's exhausted, as are the assembled citizens of
Halloweenland, exhausted from exhausting their alternatives when
it comes to seeking Jack.
The Mayor lifts his heavy head and feebly asks:
Did anybody think to dredge the
A recumbent corpse sits up and nods:
The corpse flops down again.
The mayor lets his head fall back.
IN THE DISTANCE,
there's a BARK (O.S.)
Now a DEEP RUMBLING (O.S.) can just be heard -- punctuated by
another sharp BARK (O.S.)
They listen. More RUMBLING. DEFINITE BARKS NOW.
The sounds get louder, closer...
The group revives. The mayor sits up. Before long...
AROUND THE CORNER
comes an ecstatic Jack driving a jaunty, Christmasland SNOW
MOBILE, heavily laden with Christmasland memorabilia. A joyous
Zero loops-the-loop around his master.
MAYOR AND VARIOUS CITIZENS
Look! It's Jack!
The Halloweenland citizens gape.
Where've you been?
I can't wait to tell all of you
all about it!
(to the Mayor)
Mayor! Call us a town meeting!
EXT. HALLOWEEN STREETS. EVENING.
The Mayor's hearse glides through town, p.a. system blaring:
MAYOR'S AMPLIFIED VOICE
Town meeting! Town meeting
The hearse passes the
DESERTED GOTHIC MANSE.
Out stream the Creatures, Corpses, and other Vampires.
EXT. CEMETERY. EVENING.
As the hearse passes and the announcement is heard, the
EXT. MORE HALLOWEEN STREETS. EVENING.
The hearse threads through town past the EVIL SCIENTIST'S HOUSE.
INT. EVIL SCIENTIST'S LABORATORY. EVENING/SAME TIME.
Sally and the Evil Scientist are both asleep -- the Evil
scientist snores, his head on the lab table beside the now empty
bowl; Sally has fallen asleep on her way through the doorway --
hat on, arm half-way into the sleeve of her coat.
MAYOR'S AMPLIFIED VOICE (O.S.)
Town meeting! Town meeting
Neither of them hears the announcement. Neither of them stirs.
Their deep sleep goes on undisturbed.
EXT. TOWN HALL. NIGHT.
The town hall is a tilted Chautauqua meetinghouse. We HEAR the
noise of the crowd inside and see a few Halloweenland latecomers
INT. TOWN HALL. NIGHT.
Jack stands at a podium on a stage at the end of the big meeting
hall. Set up beside him is a table piled high with (at this
point) non-descripit objects.
The murmuring crowd presses close to the stage. Of course, Sally
and the Evil Scientist are absent.
Jack holds up his hands for attention.
Listen everyone. I want to
tell you about where I've been!
>>>>> THE TOWN MEETING SONG
There were objects so peculiar
They were not to be believed
All around things to tantalize my brain.
It's a world unlike anything I've ever seen
And as hard as I try...
I can't seem to describe
Like a most improbable dream...
But you must believe when I tell you this
It's as real as my skull, and it does exist.
Turning to sort through the objects on the table, Jack speaks:
Here... Let me show you.
The people press even closer.
Jack holds up a wrapped gift:
This is a thing called a present.
The whole thing starts with a box...
-- A box?
-- Is it steel?
-- Are there locks?
-- Is it filled with a pox?
-- A pox!
-- How delightful, a pox!
Jack interrupts their excited babbling:
If you please!!!
He sings on:
Just a box with bright colored paper
And the whole thing topped with a bow.
-- A bow?
-- But why?
-- How ugly!
-- What's in it?
-- What's in it?
That's the point of the thing, not to know!
-- It's a bat.
-- Will it bend?
-- It's a rat.
-- Will it break?
-- Perhaps it's the head that I found in the lake.
Listen now, you don't understand.
That's not the point of Christmasland.
Jack shakes his finger at them:
Now, pay attention.
He takes a Christmas stocking off his display table and sings
Now we pick up an oversized sock...
And bang it like this on the wall.
The irrepressible crowd bubbles over again:
-- Oh yes, does it still have a foot?
-- Let me see...
-- Let me look...
-- Is it rotted and covered with gook?
Jack is getting very frustrated:
Let me explain.
But to no avail...
-- Small toys?
-- Do they bite?
-- Do they snap?
-- Or perhaps they just spring out and
Scare girls and boys.
The Mayor struts to the front of the audience.
What a splendid idea --