The Nightmare Before Christmas script
Synopsis: The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown's beloved pumpkin king, who has become bored with the same annual routine of frightening people in the "real world." When Jack accidentally stumbles on Christmastown, all bright colors and warm spirits, he gets a new lease on life -- he plots to bring Christmas under his control by kidnapping Santa Claus and taking over the role. But Jack soon discovers even the best-laid plans of mice and skeleton men can go seriously awry.

FADE IN:

PROLOGUE:

CLOSE ON:

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

lettering.

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

whizzing by...

Over this, SANTA CLAUS narrates....

SANTA (V.O.)

'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

CHRISTMAS.

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

VALENTINE'S DAY.

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

EASTER:

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.

FIREWORKS.

-- 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

panicks.

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.

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Caroline Thompson

Caroline Thompson (born April 23, 1956) is an American novelist, screenwriter, film director, and producer. She wrote the screenplays for Tim Burton's films Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Corpse Bride. She co-wrote the story for Edward Scissorhands and recently co-adapted a new stage version of the film with director and choreographer Matthew Bourne. Thompson also adapted the screenplay for the film version of Wicked Lovely, a bestselling fantasy series, in 2011, but the production was put into turnaround. more…

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"The Nightmare Before Christmas" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 12 Dec. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/the_nightmare_before_christmas_532>.

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