For those who enjoy cult classics, holiday movies or even just the creative brilliance and excessive weirdness of Tim Burton, giving your dog a name straight from this neo-classic will surely help to cement your love for your pet and the film simultaneously. Of course, many names and characters from Nightmare are often considered dark and off-beat, but in turn will also tell those around you that you and your pet are likely anything but “normal.” Whether the name is blatantly obvious or a subtle tribute, bestowing it upon your furry friend for all time will undoubtedly be a reminder that your love for the movie and pet go far deeper than the name at the surface.
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The Nightmare Before Christmas Dog Names
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There seems to be little doubt that Tim Burton has an affinity for dogs. They are, in fact, featured in numerous films, either as helpful sidekicks or humorous characters that add emotional depth, dynamic, and entertainment value wherever and whenever he decides to employ them. In interviews, he’s made several notable comments on these lovable characters, many of which were inspired by dogs he owned or knew himself, and a few of whom"s storylines reflected their actual historical character or even represented his relationship with them in his own life.
The first was featured in a short animated film Burton produced in 1982 titled Vincent, a story of a young boy who longs to be like his dark and brooding idol, Vincent Price. Abercrombie, the dog who is the subject of his experiments, does not play a large role in the short film or the poem it was based on, but did stand as the first evidence of Burton’s love and respect for faithful companions (especially in reference to his desire for their immortality, a frequent theme in his use of them), as evidenced by the following lines: “He likes to experiment on his dog Abercrombie in the hopes of creating a horrible zombie, so he and his horrible zombie dog could go searching for victims in the London fog.”
While not the first, Sparky, the star of Burton’s infamous Frankenweenie, might easily be the most controversial, as the film’s completion ended with Disney firing Burton, claiming he had wasted company resources on a film that was too dark for children — Sparky was run over by a car and returned to life ala a storyline/experiment highly-reminiscent of the original 1930s Frankenstein. The original Sparky was played by a Bull Terrier in 1984 but was animated in the 2012 remake and retained much of his original look.
Of course, Burton didn’t end there either, featuring both Poppy, a feisty chihuahua whose head eventually replaces their owner’s in 1996’s Mars Attacks! and Scraps, a skeleton dog, in 2005’s The Corpse Bride.
But likely the most universally recognizable dogs of Burton’s creations is Zero, Jack Skellington’s sidekick in The Nightmare Before Christmas. While Zero is not attributed any specific breed in form, his simple design caused him to be as identifiable as Skellington himself. In the film, he is inseparable from Jack, staying by his side while he laments, influencing his decisions, and leading him through the fog of Christmas Eve with a glowing pumpkin nose, a not-so-subtle play on Rudolph.
Zero’s character became so popular over the last couple decades, he’s sold much of his own merchandise and even been featured as the subject of numerous DIY Halloween costumes (for dogs and people alike) and decorations that further cement his widespread adoration.
You may consider giving your dog a The Nightmare Before Christmas name for a variety of reasons. At the surface, you may just love the movie so much you’d like to carry on your love for it by giving your pet a name based on a favorite character. Or maybe every time you think of your little Jack Russell Terrier, you instantly think of Jack Skellington because of their matched names.
But on a deeper level, there may be other factors that trigger your decision. Maybe your pet moves with the strange fluidity of full-speed stop motion or often awkwardly stops mid-movement and pauses to look around. Maybe they have a interesting mark on their face, a wide smile like Mr. Skellington himself, or turn from gleeful to worrisome in a heartbeat like the Mayor. They may even have a patch of fur that looks like Jack’s head and eyes or have several that seem out of place, reminiscent of the patchwork of Sally’s dress.
Whatever you choose, there is little doubt that you will take great joy in calling them as such, as the movie will forevermore be a reminder of your faithful sidekick, and your sidekick a reminder of one of your favorite movies.