The Nightmare Before Christmas Is Influencing A Major Crime Series

By Robert Scucci | Published

nightmare before christmas 2

The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of those movies that has staying power because you can watch it twice a year. But if twice isn’t enough for you, TV Insider reports that there are a number of obvious references to the iconic holiday movie in season 5 of Fargo, meaning there’s plenty more Nightmare Before Christmas to go around this coming November and December.

Not only do the first three episodes of the current season feature masked assailants dressed like characters from the film, but “This Is Halloween” is also featured during a critical scene to perfectly set the mood.

Fargo Pays Tribute To The Film

Fargo creator has stated in the past that season 5 would have more comedic elements. Given the kidnapping context of the narrative, it’s safe to say that the comedy will continue to be tinged with quite a bit of dark humor. Citing The Nightmare Before Christmas as one of his family’s favorite movies, Hawley wanted to pay homage to the film with a Halloween plot set in Minnesota and North Dakota in Fall 2019.

Fargo Season 5

Season 5 of Fargo centers on Juno Temple’s Dorothy “Dot” Lyon, and involves an elaborate kidnapping plot that takes place on Halloween. Noah Hawley stated that the kidnappers could have worn any kind of masks, but he decided to borrow from Nightmare Before Christmas because it’s a film that he loves. He also wanted to pay homage to the Tim Burton movie that boasts a similar level of duplicity to the story that he wants to tell in season 5. It’s also worth mentioning that Jack Skellington kidnaps Santa Clause in The Nightmare Before Christmas. So it’s only fitting that Fargo used a Jack Skellington mask rather than a Michael Myers or Jason Vorhees mask.

Joe Keery As Gator Tillman

The Fargo character wearing the Jack Skellington mask from Nightmare Before Christmas is Gator Tillman, Sheriff Roy Tillman’s son. Hawley mentioned that just like Skellington, Tillman is trying to be somebody he’s not as he terrorizes Dot, just like Skellington, who has his own kind of identity crisis in the 1993 Tim Burton film. In Nightmare Before Christmas, Skellington is the king of Halloween, and he tries to go against the grain and become the next Santa Clause.

Gator Is Fargo’s Jack Skellington?

Even though Tillman may have a good heart despite his obvious criminal intent, his efforts to be menacing in Fargo mirror Skellington’s desire to be good in the sense that he’s heading down a path that conflicts his characterization. But we have to give credit where it’s due because there is nothing more menacing than seeing a full-grown adult wearing a mask from Nightmare Before Christmas before orchestrating a home invasion. In order for Fargo to use imagery and music from Nightmare Before Christmas, Hawley had to get permission from Tim Burton himself. It’s clear that Burton was into it, otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to make the references.

New Episodes Of Fargo Premiere On FX

Fargo kicked off its fifth season on November 21 2023. Though we’ve seen Nightmare Before Christmas references throughout the first three episodes, we’re not sure how much more of Jack Skellington and co. we’ll see in the coming weeks. The fourth installment, entitled “Insolubilia,” will premiere on FX on December 5.