All Movies Directed By Henry Selick, Ranked

After more than a decade of silence in the industry, the director and animator Henry Selick makes waves again with his new movie Wendell and savage, which reached Netflix’s “most-watched” charts around the world. An animated stop-motion horror comedy in collaboration with Jordan Peele, Wendell and savage effectively marks Slick’s sixth film as a director.

Specialized in stop-motion animation, having fallen in love with the art after seeing The Adventures of Prince Ahmed and Sinbad’s 7th Voyage As a young boy, Selick was responsible for some of the world’s most beloved and critically acclaimed animated classics, including James and the giant peach, The Nightmare Before Christmasand Coraline.

It could be argued that Selick doesn’t always get the attention he deserves, which could be because his name is somewhat overshadowed by his more established frequent collaborator Tim Burton (a point Selick himself said is unfair). Nevertheless, we have decided to come back to his impressive repertoire and to classify all the films he has made, from The Nightmare Before Christmas by Wendell & Wild.


5/5 monkey-bone

monkey bone
20th century workshops

At the time of its release, monkey-bone was considered a huge disappointment for Selick and the film’s star Brendan Fraser. It bombed at the box office and was panned by critics. monkey-bone sees a carefree cartoonist, played by Fraser, get sucked into his own comic strip, resulting in a bizarre mish-mash of live action and stop-motion animation shenanigans. The animation was impressive and captivating, and the live action and voice acting were solid, featuring the talents of Whoopi Goldberg, Rose McGowan, Bridget Fonda, Bob Odenkirk, and John Turturro. Unfortunately, the script lacked focus and relied more on crude one-off gags than any solid form of storytelling or character development. Additionally, the tone was uneven, making it difficult to establish a target audience. monkey-bonealthough not terrible, is certainly a rare misfire for the usual Selick fantastic.

Related: The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline Director Comment on Potential Sequels

4/5 James and the giant peach

James and the giant peach
Buena Vista Pictures

For millions of children around the world, James and the giant peach will hold a special place in their hearts. For many, it will be because of Roald Dahl’s beloved novel which came out in 1961 and is still loved by children to this day. But for others, it’ll be because of Selick’s 1996 stop-motion/live-action musical adaptation. Co-produced by Burton, their animation style and macabre wit are all over the place. While arguably slightly brighter than much of their other work, it certainly doesn’t shy away from the darker elements so common in their and Dahl’s best projects, and is a joy to watch for adults and children alike. That said, the animated segments are by far the film’s strong points, with the opening live-action segment coming across as mostly forgettable and pointless. James and the giant peach features a strong lead voice performance from Paul Terry as James, along with outstanding supporting performances from Richard Dreyfuss and Susan Sarandon. The film is now finding new life on Disney+.

3/5 Wendell and savage

Wendell and savage

By far the newest entry on the list, having only been released just in time for Halloween 2022, this Netflix collab sees Selick directing a script he co-wrote with Jordan Peele. Wendell and savage is a gruesome tale of two evil demon brothers, who enlist an angsty teenage girl struggling with her own demons to summon them to the land of the living. Without giving too much away on the plot, we can expect a lot of love, loss, and betrayal in this laugh-out-loud yet poignant film. After 10 years of industry silence, by The Hollywood Reporterit was a fantastic return to form for Selick, and critics raved about the beautiful stop-motion animation and array of multi-dimensional characters we meet along the way.

Related: Best Stop-Motion Animated Movies, Ranked

2/5 Coraline

stop motion horror movie Coraline
Focus characteristics

Selick’s darkest film, Coraline was a 2009 stop-motion animated horror film. For all intents and purposes, Coraline was marketed as a children’s film. While the promotional artwork was a little darker than, sayFrozenit doesn’t even begin to suggest the terrors that await any young viewer about to watch Coraline. Whether The Lion King taught children to fear their uncles or even their siblings, Coraline taught children to fear their own parents. Beautifully but chillingly animated in stop-motion, Coraline encounters another version of her parents in another realm. Unhappy with her former parents, these new ones seem to treat her well, that is, until she refuses to be mutilated by them. After that, all bets are off as they spy on her, threaten her, and attempt to kill her, all while looking like the parents she should be able to trust as a child. The film was a huge hit with critics and won Annie Awards for Best Music in an Animated Feature Production, Best Character Design in an Animated Feature Production, and Best Production Design in an Animated Feature Production, and received nominations for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. and a Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature.

1/5 The Nightmare Before Christmas

Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas
Pictures of Walt Disney

It had to be, didn’t it? Selick’s feature debut as a director remains his most beloved to date. This collaboration with Burton, who wrote the story, while Selick directed, has garnered a huge cult following since its initial release in 1993. Fantastic stop-motion animation combined with a dark but catchy soundtrack by Danny Elman gives life to this Jack Skellington story. (the King of Halloween) and his new obsession with Christmas and his plot to kidnap Santa Claus, in a way that may have brought the biggest smiles to viewers of all ages. With an impressive score of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, The Nightmare Before Christmas is often considered one of the greatest animated films of all time, with famed film critic Roger Ebert calling the visual effects “groundbreaking as star wars” and Rolling Stone magazine describing it as “74 minutes of timeless cinematic magic”.

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