HomeMovies31 Days of Horror: Nightmare Before Christmas/Otis

31 Days of Horror: Nightmare Before Christmas/Otis


Jack the Pumpkin King (Chris Sarandon), and king of Halloweentown, is tired of scaring everyone on Halloween every year. Bored and feeling alone, he takes a walk deep into the woods where he comes upon a clearing of trees with doors on them. When he opens the door shaped like a Christmas tree, he finds himself transported into a world of nothing but Christmas, a holiday brand new and exciting to him.

Renewed and full of brilliant ideas, Jack returns to Halloweentown to share his new findings and inspire his town to take over Christmas this year. Being that all they know is scares, the residents spend the next year preparing the scariest Christmas they could conjure under the assumption that the world will enjoy it.


The only person who seems to know any better is Sally the Ragdoll (Catherine O’Hara), who secretly pines for Jack, and she comes up with a plan to save Jack from his horrible mistake and to rescue Santa (Ed Ivory) from Oogie Boogie (Ken Page), the town villain, who is supposed to watch him but has other plans.

The Nightmare Before Christmas, a story created by Tim Burton and brought to life by Henry Selick, is a love story hidden behind a message to appreciate what you have when you have it. Jack never noticed Sally’s willingness to always help him or the extra effort she put into things just for him. He didn’t appreciate that his talents lay in Halloween and scares so he sought out something else. When he fails at his new venture, he recognizes what he has had in front of him all along and can finally appreciate how great his life really is.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is my all-time favorite film. My mother took me to the theater to see it back in 1993 when it was released. She didn’t like it very much but I was hooked. In fact, I still own my copy of Disney Adventures magazine that includes a poem and 3D pictures from the movie.

When the film was released on VHS, my parents bought it for me and they did the same for DVD and Blu-ray. Thanks to them, I watch it every Halloween and Christmas, every time it is rereleased into theaters and every time I am sick because it always makes me feel a little better. If you calculate just the holidays alone, I have seen the movie 42 times. Now, consider that I have the world’s crappiest immune system and am sick quite often, we can easily double that number.

On your Sunday off, take the time to appreciate who you have in your life and watch with your kids or your loved ones. You might find that your life is richer than you once thought.

Serial killer and pedophile Otis Broth (Bostin Christopher) kidnaps teenager Riley Lawson (Ashley Johnson) to keep her locked in the basement to be his date to a fake prom he has put together. In this fake prom situation, he is the quarterback and she is Kim, the blonde cheerleader. In reality, Otis is a fat, middle aged pizza delivery boy who is physically and mentally abused by his short older brother.


Riley is physically abused, tortured, and forced to do humiliating sexual things with Otis in exchange for her life. Only her quick thinking and ability to play along keep her alive.

An idiot cop is put on the case, much to her family’s dismay. Riley manages to escape the house of horrors on her own and give an address to her parents and brother who take matters into their own hands.

They kidnap the owner of the house and hilariously torture him with various household objects and tools from the garage. But, the owner turns out to not be Otis. Once they have realized their mistake, they still have to take revenge on the real killer.

Otis is a hilarious revenge film that is also incredibly disturbing on many levels. The film does a complete 180, starting with the uncomfortable sexual and mental torture of Riley who you are positive is going to die in some horrible manner. Once she escapes, the revenge by the family is absolutely hysterical and the tone of the film completely changes.

Illeana Douglas and Daniel Stern play Riley’s parents who are cookie cutter to start with but turn out to be exactly the kind of parents you would want if you were in Riley’s situation. They do not hesitate in any way to grab the most brutal and painful looking weapons and to put who they thought was Otis through the worst forms of torture they could conjure.

Riley’s brother, Reed (Jared Kusnitz) is the typical little brother until his sister was put into danger. At the first hint of the ability to hurt the man who hurt her, Reed jumps on board with severe levels of enthusiasm and ingenuity.

Bostin Christopher and Ashley Johnson are perfection as the leads. Bostin is so absolutely disgusting and convincing as a mentally disturbed child molester and murderer and Ashley is the perfect seemingly dumb blonde who turns out to be the intelligent victim.

Otis is a fantastically disturbing horror comedy with the right amount of blood mixed with the right amount of laughs that is reminiscent of The Last House on the Left with a far happier ending.
Order yourself a pizza and prepare for a hilarious Monday with this underrated gem of a film.

Ann Hale is the horror editor for Pop-Break.com and a senior contributing writer, reviewing horror movies and television shows. She is also the American Correspondent for Lovehorror.co.uk. Ann attended East Carolina University, majoring in English Literature. She is a collector of Halloween (the film) memorabilia and is a self-admitted opinionated horror nerd. You can follow her, her collection and her cat, Edward Kittyhands on Twitter and Instagram @Scarletjupiter

Ann Hale
Ann Hale
Just a giant nerd in love with horror, 80's action flicks, Star Wars and Harry Potter. Hit me up on Twitter or Instagram @scarletjupiter to talk horror or just to browse the horror collection.

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