When Tim Burton’s kinda-spooky, kinda-silly “The Nightmare Before Christmas” first lurked into theaters in October 1993, it was greeted with lavish critical praise and … well, that’s about it.
Though it would eventually go on to gross a respectable $50 million at the box office, the film struggled to connect with mainstream audiences and was regarded by execs at Disney as a bit of a flop — a grand, goth-lite experiment in stop-motion animation that failed to live up to commercial expectations.
But when the film was released the following year on VHS, something amazing happened: “Nightmare” became massive, spawning merchandise and a devoted cult following that included tons of goth kids, their younger siblings, basically every emo-punk band on the planet and a whole lot of decidedly un-emo acts too.
So when Disney announced earlier this year that it planned to bring “Nightmare” back to the big screen — it arrives in select theaters October 20 in a fancy, digital 3-D format — the logical decision was to reach out to some of those bands to supply music for the film.
As it turns out, a whole lot of them were more than happy to comply. Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, Marilyn Manson, Fiona Apple and She Wants Revenge will all appear on a special two-disc edition of the “Nightmare” soundtrack, contributing cover versions of songs featured in the film. The double-disc set will hit stores October 24.
“Disney approached our management about us doing a song,” Fall Out bassist Pete Wentz told MTV News. “And we’re obsessed with that film and Danny Elfman [who wrote the score]. And of course I’ve got my ‘Nightmare’ tattoos, so we were like, ‘Yes!’
“The songs in the film are pretty much the best things ever,” he continued. “They’re Elfman at his prime. And our song ‘Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner’ [from 2005's From Under the Cork Tree] blatantly rips off a crescendo from one of them. They’re absolutely amazing.”
Fall Out Boy contribute a raucous version of “What’s This?” (a song belted out in the film by protagonist Jack Skellington). Fellow Decaydancers Panic! at the Disco offer up an orchestrated version of “This Is Halloween” (sung by the citizens of Halloweentown in the film), as does Marilyn Manson. Fiona Apple covers the somber “Sally’s Song,” while She Wants Revenge do “Kidnap the Sandy Claws.”
Also included on the second disc of the set are two demo versions of songs Elfman originally wrote for the film, “Making Christmas” and “Oogie Boogie’s Song.” Disc one presents Elfman’s score — including 10 original songs — in its entirety.
For Panic frontman Brendon Urie, just the chance to be included alongside Elfman was reason enough to get on board. Well that and a little good-natured band rivalry of course.
“Everyone in Panic loves Danny Elfman, so it’s a bonus to be included alongside him,” Urie said. “And I spoke to [drummer Andy Hurley] from Fall Out Boy about it, and he said they were on it, so we wanted to get on there too. So many bands that we’re friends with and bands we tour with are a part of it and such huge fans of the movie. We all watched it as kids and we all watch it now, so it’s really cool to be a part of it.”