Tim Burton, working as a producer at Disney, employs stop-motion animation to flesh out a story he first dreamed up while working at the same studio a dozen years ago--a tale about the havoc that ensues when Jack Skellington, the pipe-cleaner hero of Halloweentown, decides to take over the duties of Santa Claus at Christmastime. As adapted by Michael McDowell and scripted by Caroline Thompson, this 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. Bricktown Square, Burnham Plaza, Lincoln Village, North Riverside, Water Tower, Ford City, Hyde Park, Old Orchard, Webster Place.