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Oogie Boogie

The Bogeyman
Premiered in: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Voiced By: Ken Page

Though I can’t say that Disney wasn’t right to release the film, The Nightmare Before Christmas under their “mature” film studio Touchstone Pictures I can admit to my surprise with how much they’ve openly embraced it since then. Admittedly, this embrace seems solely to shine upon a few key characters in the film rather than the entire cast but the point remains that Oogie Boogie is by far the most cooperative of Villains and has been seen working with them time and time again, particularly when it comes to poking the metaphorical stick at Jack Skellington.

What’s rather odd about Oogie Boogie is that while his character is hardly explored in the film such is not the case for the video game prequel and sequel to the film. In point of fact, in the Gameboy Advance prequel, The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpking King, it is revealed that Oogie Boogie is not actually a true resident of Halloween Town but is in fact the last of a very obscure holiday whose emphasis was based entirely around bugs. Seeing a chance at renewing his holiday through Halloween Town, Oogie Boogie tried to take it over only to be firmly, and rather frighteningly, rebuked by Jack Skellington who was promptly declared as Pumpkin King shortly thereafter.

In the film proper, Oogie Boogie doesn’t have much of a goal compared to other villains. In point of fact, he seems almost content to live out his days beneath the clubhouse of his minions, devouring any bugs they send down to him whilst playing deadly games of chance with any hapless victim sent down to him by the trio of Lock, Shock, and Barrel. In point of fact, games of chance are Oogie Boogie’s one and only vice, particularly when there are lives on the line. Not his of course but that goes without saying.

The three trick-or-treaters are exceptionally odd, even by Halloween Town standards. For one thing, it is explicitly stated by Jack that they are just that, the finest examples of the art of trick-or-treating Halloween Town has ever seen. Though they appear otherwise, both in costume and in make-up, they are human pure and simple though exceptionally devious and vicious. Arguably there are residents who are humanlike but the trio of Lock, Shock, and Barrel are the only pureblooded ones in the entirety of Halloween Town and are, quite likely, the victims of choice for Oogie Boogie in his role as bogeyman. Though it sounds dark of me to say, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the trio don’t suffer from a form of Stockholm syndrome given their strange attachment and fear of Oogie Boogie, particularly when they admit that he does reward them at times.

Oogie Boogie is also unique amongst villains, both Disney and Pixar, insomuch that he has been revived so many times that he could questionably be as immortal as Hades. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Oogie Boogie was in fact some form of forgotten insect deity. It would certainly explain his true form of being a literal mass of insects, plus a pair of spiders and a snake, and how he literally falls to pieces should his sack covering ever be destroyed. That and his association of being “the shadow of the moon at night, filling your dreams to the brim with fright.” If one includes the game series of Kingdom Hearts then Oogie Boogie has been “killed” no less than four separate occasions, something that no other villain can boast.