Tim Burton, working as a producer at Disney, employed stop-motion animation to flesh out a story he’d first dreamed up while working at the same studio a dozen years before—a tale about the havoc that ensues when Jack Skellington, the pipe-cleaner hero of Halloween Town, decides to take over the duties of Santa Claus at Christmastime. As adapted by Michael McDowell and scripted by Caroline Thompson, this 1993 release is at worst a macabre Muppet movie, at best an inspired jaunt. The set designs are ingenious and the songs (music and lyrics by Danny Elfman) are fairly good. Directed by Henry Selick, with the voices of Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, Elfman, and Paul Reubens. PG, 75 min.