With the passing of the holidays, the laborious chore of taking down decorations comes into play. As you box up your glass bobbles and ornaments, it can really get old when year in and year out, trees get put up and have the same ol’ shiny knickknack strung across their branches. Big deal, right? Well, Greg Horn (famed cover artist for Marvel, DC, etc.) recently crafted a Christmas tree, the likes of which only exist in the eggnog-fueled fever dreams of geeks and Nightmare Before Christmas fans. After seeing this, you’re gonna want to just throw all your old holiday décor into the trash!... or not; but, you have to admit that it’s pretty f’n cool! Today we’re talking to Greg about his foray into custom tree trimming, and his love for all things NBX.
MTV Geek: How did the idea for the Nightmare Before Christmas Tree come about?
Greg Horn: I got the idea while at a comic book convention. Somebody was selling the NECA action figures there, and seeing them for the first time I just couldn't believe the detail! They looked as if they were props from the actual movie. I couldn't help but think these would make great tree ornaments.
Geek: Did you act alone, or were family and friends invited along to help make this fantastic tree possible?
G.H.: My kids, who are four years old, were recruited first. Of course I had already introduced them to the wonder that is Nightmare before Christmas, so they were really interested in helping me. but, they are four... not a great age for attention span... after about five minutes they got bored and walked off to play with something else! Luckily, my wife stepped in to pick up the slack. Grandma was there too-- she thinks we are insane.
Geek: Approximately how long did this project take from conception to plugging in the lights?
G.H.: From the point of opening all the toy packages to the point of hanging the final ornament on the tree was about six hours. Turning the action figures into ornaments was relatively simple (we did this by drilling then and screwing in a small eyelet), but hanging all of the accessories was though real time-consuming part. Things like the deadly nightshade bottle, little pieces of sheet music, Igor's bone, etc... these all had to be drilled and wired for hanging. In all, there was about 155 pieces used to make the tree.
Geek: What have people’s reactions been after laying eyes on the tree? We imagine wonderment and jealousy…lots of jealousy.
G.H.: Yes, a little bit of both! I posted the tree on Facebook and everybody loved it, but a few people told me they were going to steal the idea for next year- bastards! I managed to get really good photographs of all the characters, but one in particular seems to be the favorite: it's a shot of the entire tree with the lights turned out, and only the actual lights of the tree being on. This creates a really cool silhouette of all of the Nightmare before Christmas characters.
Geek: The ornaments are obviously the most eye-catching part, but where did you come up with all of them? Back-alley deals? A NECA warehouse heist?
G.H.: Well, let's just say I have connections. I was able to get the majority of these characters for free from my supplier. I don't even want to think what this tree would've cost if I actually had to pay for everything! I wasn't able to get the last series of characters, but eventually found them on eBay and Amazon.com. To finish the tree, my wife went on the hunt for black snowflakes and ball ornaments.
Geek: What’s your personal favorite piece on the tree?
G.H.: This is going to sound weird, but my favorite part of the tree is the little funky rat that is looking gleefully at his cheese gift. I just love NECA's attention to detail on the accessories, and this is a perfect funny example of that. The top of the tree is really cool too-with the Pumpkin King and all the pumpkins hanging around him.
Geek: Any part of the process that proved more frustrating than you would have thought?
G.H.: The final touch with some simple silver garland. That was the toughest part to put on the tree, because all the ornaments were already hung and I had to push the garland in behind the figures without disturbing them.
Geek: Besides Jack and Sally, who is your favorite NBX character?
G.H.: I like Mr. Hyde, because when he lifts up his hat there is another smaller Mr. Hyde... and then THAT Mr. Hyde lifts up his hat and there is one more shriveled up little Mr. Hyde! Also, he created the best gift of Halloween town- a Russian matruska doll with a scorpion inside!
Geek: Assuming you ever decide to actually take this spectacular tree down, are there any other ideas you’d like to try a hand at?
G.H.: Well, I'm certainly not going to give you my ideas for my 2011 tree. Somebody would just steal it, and take credit!
Geek: Touché sir, we’ll just have to wait it out. Seeing as how you’re not just a tree-trimming genius, but also a great artist; what can our readers look forward to seeing from you in the coming months?
G.H.: Right now I am working on the Broadway production of Spiderman: Turn off the Dark as well as a few movie related jobs which are hush-hush. I always post new stuff at my website www.greghornart.com or my Facebook.