Hot on the heels of yesterday’s board game bonanza comes my belated discovery of what may be the most blasphemous musical project ever conceived: “Nightmare Revisited,” featuring covers of songs from Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas. Somewhere, Danny Elfman is crying.
For those of you unfamiliar with the film, Nightmare tells the story of Jack Skellington, a denizen of Halloween Town tired of celebrating the same holiday (guess which one) again and again. Stumbling through a portal into Christmas Town, he finds his skeleton mojo rejuvenated and sets out to introduce a new holiday (…) to his friends and neighbors. Problems arise. Dramatic complications ensue. Needless to say things all work out in the end.
Nightmare is a great movie and fondly remembered touchstone of my childhood. And we Fogs were on board from day one, immediately buying the soundtrack and seeing it twice more (disturbingly on Thanksgiving, for some reason) in the fall of 1993. I can say with confidence that at the time, most people found the movie off-putting or avoided it entirely. Fifteen years later? It’s considered a “cult classic,” serves as the bedrock of Hot Topic’s business, and has become the seasonal focus of a re-tooled Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. Those I can tolerate, begrudgingly. But this “Revisited” business makes me teary-eyed. It makes me sick.
The album features unique, ALL NEW RECORDINGS on the eccentric cult classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, covered by a diverse group of artists across different music genres. Take a spin with these great songs and show us there is still plenty of nightmare to revisit! – Amazon.com product description
All American Rejects? Really? The fact that any sort of “tribute” to Nightmare exists at all is painful enough, but to fill the thing with mediocre talent is just a slap in the face to the inspired fun of Danny Elfman’s original composition. Korn was last relevant ten years ago. To hear Marilyn Manson cat-strangle his way through “This Is Halloween”… is to mourn the death of goodness. And who the f*ck is Sparklehorse?
Before this morphs into a “screw you, I liked this waaaayy before anybody else” post, I’ll say that I’d never begrudge anyone the right to like or dislike a movie. Our tastes are our tastes; whether influenced or not by critical claim, marketing, and other factors, we can’t control those things we’re drawn to. Judd Apatow? I hate that I like your movies, but I do – I really do. The artists featured on “Revisited” are entitled to their identification with movies of their choice, as well. That is, if it’s sincere.
Here’s the problem: Nightmare is wrapped in more revisionist history than The War for Southern Independence. Muscles McGee up there might remember it differently, but the movie was hardly popular upon its release in 1993. Or in 1994, when it hit VHS. Only when Hot Topic struck a nerve with disaffected upper middle class kids in the late 90’s did Nightmare begin to discover any sort of audience, and that was based largely on the skull motif. Goths eat that shit up.
What I’m saying is that any reference to Tim Burton’s film (to be fair, it was actually directed by stop-motion guru Henry Selick) as a “classic” is total bullshit. People love it, and for good reason, but to wax nostalgic over a movie you only discovered in the Bush era is just sad. And false. I can’t imagine anyone reading this post would ever consider buying “Nightmare Revisited” (or any tribute album, really), but the truth must be spoken. Wounds must be healed. And we must all pray, vigorously, that they never release a sequel. Amen.