Jack Skellington, the ‘Pumpkin King’, is the toast of Halloweentown after masterminding another successfully ghoulish 24 hours. But Jack’s secretly bored with the same old annual routine of frights and surprises. So when he stumbles across the secret doorway into Christmastown, he foolishly concludes that anyone could do the Christmas racket and sets about kidnapping ‘Sandy Claws’, wrapping the old buffer’s coat around his spindly frame before setting off on the present distribution run with a sackful of gruesome goodies.
Visually stunning, stylistically innovative and so inventive you have to watch it several times to catch all the funny bits of business going on in the margins, this Tim Burton-produced animation also places firmly in the foreground that sense of the macabre which informs all the best children’s stories, from Grimm’s fairytales to Roald Dahl. While very young children might be disturbed by the likes of Jack’s coffin-shaped sleigh and skeletal reindeer, those of junior school age and their long-suffering adult companions will adore every moment.