Three ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ Characters Were Inspired by ‘The Twilight Zone’

Everett Collection

The Nightmare Before Christmas is the brainchild of Tim Burton, who created the film based on a poem that he wrote. Originally, the poem only featured Jack Skellington and his dog Zero, along with Santa Claus. When the story became a movie in 1993, of course, many characters were added to give it enough storyline for a feature film.

Burton once confirmed that three of the characters in The Nightmare Before Christmas were inspired by an episode of The Twilight Zone. If you’ve ever seen the film, you likely remember the troublesome trio of Lock, Shock, and Barrel, voiced by Catherine O’Hara, Danny Elfman, and the late Paul Reubens. At first, they are all wearing masks, with one being a devil, one being a witch, and one being a skeleton.


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When they take off their masks to reveal what is underneath, their faces are basically the same. This phenomenon was inspired by the season five episode of The Twilight Zone called “The Masks.” Burton said that he had seen the episode as a child and he wanted to re-create it in a way for the film.

TWILIGHT ZONE, 1959-64, 'The Masks', Season 5

Everett Collection

In “The Masks,” which first premiered in 1964, a wealthy man is on his deathbed. He invites his family over for a Mardi Gras party but insists that they must wear grotesque masks until midnight or they will not receive any of his fortune when he passes away. When the clock strikes midnight, he dies, and when the family takes off their masks, they discover that their faces have been changed into what the masks looked like as a sign of their greed. Sounds like Lock, Shock, and Barrel right? Only creepier, that’s for sure.

If you’re in the spooky season mood, you can watch The Nightmare Before Christmas on Disney+.

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