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“... Mr. Oogie Boogie is the meanest guy around If I were on his Boogie list, I'd get out of town”
Oogie is the embodiment of a child's worst nightmare. His burlap sack of a body is animated by a hive mind of insects and other creatures. The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King reveals that Oogie and Jack Skellington's rivalry traces back to one year before the events of the film. After hearing stories about the supposed "Pumpkin King" of Halloween Town, an envious Oogie Boogie became obsessed with outclassing Jack as the scariest ghoul there is. His manner of doing so developed into a coup to take over Halloween and rebranding it as "Crawloween"—a holiday dedicated to bugs. Oogie's scheme was foiled by Jack, who punished Oogie by confining him to his lair beneath Lock, Shock, and Barrel's treehouse.
As a consequence of his vile and treacherous nature, Oogie does not participate in the annual holiday festivities, unlike the other ghouls of Halloween Town. Instead, he remains in his lair and is disallowed from interacting with the outside world by order of Jack. Despite his confinement, Oogie has amassed numerous victims thanks to his lackeys, Lock, Shock, and Barrel, who covertly provide Oogie with food and sacrifices as a means of appeasing him. He is very good at making a concoction known as Snake and Spider Stew and tends to use people as ingredients.
Oogie Boogie is boisterous and vile, with flamboyance to his mien. His mannerisms resemble that of a snazzy showman, as he typically enjoys dancing about his lair and singing jazzy show tunes. He is rather jovial, despite his heinousness, but is also quick-tempered, making him somewhat unpredictable. According to "Kidnap the Sandy Claws", Oogie is regarded as the "meanest guy around", to the point that even his loyal henchmen fear him. He even has a personal hit list known as the "Boogie List", which helps Oogie keep track of his victims. Oogie's sadism is prominently displayed in the film, as he refuses to simply kill and eat his prisoners immediately; instead, he enjoys taunting and mocking their helplessness—in addition to subjecting them to one of his many instruments of torture—before finally adding them to his Snake and Spider Stew and feasting on their remains.
Oogie's life revolves around gambling, and he loves gambling with others' lives. His lair was modeled after casinos, with its architecture taking inspiration from poker tables, slot machines, and the like. Oogie often carries dice on his person, which he uses to decide the fate of his prisoners—though he will always skew the odds in his favor, regardless. Ironically, Oogie has no skills for gambling; on three occasions he rolls snake eyes and admits he has to resort to cheating, usually by slamming his fist on the table to change the dice, resulting in a more desirable number.
Oogie has a rather creative mind, which enables him to innovate the contraptions he has installed in his lair to act as both a mechanism for his gambling and defense in case of emergencies (i.e. unwanted visitors).
Oogie's outside appearance is very simple. He is covered from head to toe in a brown-grey or neon green burlap sack (depending on the lighting), and obvious seams are visible along the sides. Oogie is quite rotund, with stumpy legs and fingerless arms, a stark contrast to Jack Skellington's gaunt, tall physique (though Oogie completely towers over Jack in height). The "eyes" on Oogie's face are featureless black holes, as is the inside of his mouth. The tip of his head extends outward and flops down, vaguely resembling Jack's Santa hat. On the inside of the sack, Oogie is a huge mass of a variety of different colored bugs. In the movie, Oogie also produces a snake from his mouth as a "tongue" to intimidate Santa Claus by hissing at him.
Although he is the main villain, his role in the film is small. After discovering Christmas Town, Jack decides to put a spin on the holiday season by bringing the joyous holiday of Christmas to Halloween Town. As part of the plan, Jack orders Lock, Shock, and Barrel to kidnap Santa Claus, whilst he takes the jolly ruler's place in delivering gifts to the children of the world for the night. Though the trio of trick-or-treaters was specifically ordered to leave Oogie Boogie out of the festivities, the trio takes a successfully kidnapped Santa to Oogie's funhouse, where the sadistic gambler teasingly tortures the confused victim, wanting to have a little fun before devouring him. Meanwhile, Jack's close friend, Sally, realizes the trouble that's been caused and rushes to Oogie's lair to rescue Santa. As Oogie begins the process of turning Santa into his latest meal, Sally arrives and uses her detached leg to distract a lustful Oogie. While the boogeyman is distracted, Sally and Santa try to make their escape, only to be caught before they can do so. Furious by being made a fool of, Oogie captures the two and sentences them both to painful deaths.
Back in the human world, Jack's present deliveries were a failure, and the former Pumpkin King was shot down by human military forces after being conceived as a threat. As Halloween Town mourns the apparent loss of their king, the Mayor announces the tragedy throughout the town on his megaphone, which catches the attention of Oogie, Sally, and Santa. Believing there's now no one capable of rescuing his victims, Oogie continues onward with his scheme, while Jack (who survived the attack) awakens in the human world and quickly rushes back to Halloween Town after coming to a realization that Halloween is his rightful holiday. Without wasting any time, Jack arrives at Oogie's funhouse and successfully rescues Sally and Santa just in time before they fall in a magma pit.
A shocked Oogie cowers at the sight of a survived Jack, but instead of surrendering, he triggers his various torture mechanisms to battle the Pumpkin King. As Jack avoids one by one of Oogie's attacks, the latter attempts to make an escape, just as one of his threads loosens. Noticing this, a furious Jack grabs the thin thread and unravels Oogie's sack, causing a majority of his bugs to fall into the fiery, molten pit, while one, seemingly his brain, is crushed by Santa stomping on it ending his threat.
An emoticon version of Oogie appeared in the As Told by Emoji episode based on The Nightmare Before Christmas. His lair was hidden at the bottom of the Halloween phone screen.
In The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King, Oogie's origins and the birth of his rivalry with Jack were revealed. As it turns out, he once had his own holiday, Bug Day, or "Crawloween." That was (most likely) forgotten by the people of the real world and he became the "recluse" of the Tree House outside Halloween Town. Unfortunately, Oogie caught wind of Jack being named the "Pumpkin King" and decided that Halloween Town would be the new "Bug Town." He and his army of insects invaded the municipality and nearly took it over. Jack found out and he defeated the bugs and Oogie. Oogie survived the battle, learned to fear the Pumpkin King, and was confined to his underground lair.
In the 2005 video game The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge, Lock, Shock, and Barrel sewed Oogie back together after Jack left town searching for new ideas for Halloween. Oogie immediately began planning to seize power and vengeance, beginning with Dr. Finkelstein, who Jack left in charge in his absence. Oogie replaced Finkelstein's brain with one of his own creation that bent the Doctor to his will, and through him tricked the townspeople into making traps for Jack, stating that Jack wouldn't return if they couldn't make an even scarier Halloween for next year. Oogie's plan was to become the Seven Holidays King, by usurping Jack's position as the leader of Halloween Town and kidnapping the Holiday Leaders for the other holidays: Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, and Easter. The remaining holiday was Christmas, which he planned to secure himself due to a personal vendetta against Santa. With help from Lock, Shock, Barrel, and his new army of monsters, Oogie successfully kidnapped the real leaders and imprisoned them in the Oogie Corridor, an underground labyrinth teeming with lava and booby traps. He then had the trio hide each Holiday Door in a different area of the town so that they wouldn't be discovered, and the leaders could not return home. By December 23, his plan was nearing fruition, the entire town had been booby-trapped and the citizens were afraid to set foot in the streets.
Jack returns to town in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, shortly before Oogie broadcasts a message saying that he is now the ruler of Halloween Town, which he renames Oogie Town. Jack battles a few skeletons, and after learning the situation from the Three Mr. Hydes, confronts Oogie's shadow in Town Hall. Oogie loses, but puts it down to beginner's luck, and retreats while promising that they'll meet again, with Jack collecting the Halloween Holiday Door as a result. Oogie occasionally comes on the loudspeaker and broadcasts messages while Jack goes to work undoing the damage he caused, defeating the monsters and claiming the Holiday Doors in each area: Valentine's Day Door from the Graveyard, the St. Patrick's Day Door from the Doctor's Lab, the Thanksgiving Door from the Pumpkin Patch, and the Independence Day Door from the Residential Area, despite Lock, Shock, and Barrel's best efforts to deter his progress.
After Jack defeats the trio on the Mayor's roof, they open a void that sends him to the Oogie Corridor. While navigating the maze of caverns, Jack finds the imprisoned Holiday Leaders and an elevator that leads to the Town Square. He finds Oogie at the end of the Corridor and battles him on a giant booby-trapped roulette wheel. Upon his defeat, Oogie reveals that Jack had only defeated his shadow and that the real him was already in Christmas Town. Jack collects the Easter Holiday Door after defeating him, leaving the Christmas door as the only one out of his possession, and returns to the plaza via a sewage line beneath the casino. After instructing the Mayor to free the other Holiday Leaders, Jack heads to the Hinterlands to restore the Holiday Doors and follow Oogie. Partway through this process, he confronts Oogie's two strongest monsters, the Fire King and the Ice King, and claims the Christmas Door from them. After restoring the seven trees, he heads to Christmas Town and fixes the damage Oogie had wrought. Afterward in another part of the town, he finds the real Oogie standing in Santa's sleigh and watching a rig that he has created to murder Santa Claus.
Once again, Jack foils his plans, and Sally brings the coffin sleigh and skeleton reindeer so that Santa can still deliver the presents on time. Oogie flies away on the sleigh but falls out of it thanks to a Halloween present that Jack had an elf slip into the bag, landing in the seven holidays' junkyard. Infuriated, he calls all of the nearby bugs to him, and with the materials in the junkyard, he becomes Mega Oogie, a ten-story version of himself. Jack confronts him in the junkyard, and with an effort, defeats him at last. Oogie is forced to watch as his bugs spill out of his body, leaving nothing more than a giant, empty patchwork sack as he once again meets his end at the hands of the Pumpkin King.
Oogie Boogie is a recurring villain in three installments of the Kingdom Hearts video game series, residing in the world of Halloween Town. He is a member of Maleficent's group, annoying the rest of his allies in meetings, but cares about their common goal of total world domination.
In Kingdom Hearts, Oogie orders his minions' Lock, Shock, and Barrel to steal an artificial heart Jack was making to help guide the Heartless in the Halloween Festival. Oogie swallowed the heart upon receiving it as soon as his uninvited guests, Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Jack Skellington arrived. He tried to summon an army of Heartless to do them in, but as the heart was not genuine, not as many Heartless flocked around him. Out of anger at being disrespected by such lower life forms, Oogie activated his Torture Chamber weapons and battled the group with his few Heartless. After being defeated, Oogie succumbed to the powers of the darkness and takes control over his entire manor. Merging with it, he attacked Sora and his friends once more until he is ultimately destroyed.
In Chain of Memories, Oogie Boogie appears as a figment of Sora's memories in Castle Oblivion. He, like in the original game, attempts to steal Jack's research project, in this case, the Memory Potion. He succeeds in his plan, but when he drinks the potion, he becomes terrified of what he remembers. In Riku's story, he appeared as one of Riku's dark memories, only to be defeated there as well.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Maleficent revived Oogie Boogie with the help of Lock, Shock, and Barrel. Unfortunately, Oogie Boogie suffered from anterograde amnesia and has difficulty remembering things since his resurrection. While he is capable of remembering Jack from before his defeat, and Maleficent as well, he forgets Sandy Claws' identity quickly, due to having just met him. Under Maleficent's orders, Oogie Boogie captured Santa Claus in Christmas Town to turn him into a Heartless and convert the present making machine into a Heartless making machine. Just as Sora, Donald, and Goofy discovered Oogie's plans, Oogie abandoned Maleficent's plans, saying that she was just "cramping his style". Angered, Maleficent left, and Oogie once again battled against the heroes, failing once again, coming apart at the seams just like last time. This time, Donald stomped on Oogie's brain bug to ensure he would never come back again.
Oogie appears as a walkaround character in the Disney theme parks, taking the appearance of his neon form. He is incredibly popular amongst guests, and can most often be found for a meet-and-greet and in attractions during the Halloween season.
For years, Oogie took part in HalloWishes, joining other Disney Villains in hosting a Halloween-inspired castle fireworks show. He also appears in the park's Halloween parade, Frightfully Fun Parade, walking alongside other Disney villains as the villain-themed float tails them.
In 2017, Oogie Boogie took over the Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks as part of a special Halloween event, lasting from early September, through October. In 2019, Oogie Boogie once again served as the star of a seasonal overlay—Oogie Boogie Bash, in which Oogie takes over the resort and summons the Disney villains to join in the party. One of the attractions featured during the event is World of Color: Villainous, in which Oogie tells the story of a young girl named Shelly Marie, who idolizes Disney villains like Maleficent, Ursula, Jafar, and Dr. Facilier.
Oogie played a significant role in Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! at Disney's Hollywood Studios, where he is responsible for the disappearance of Santa Claus, though his plot to devour Santa is foiled by his elves, Lanny and Wayne.
Oogie Boogie appears in the Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland. In his debut year of the show, images of Oogie were spread throughout the Mansion, including appearing as the Gingerbread sculpture in the Ballroom and an Oogie cymbal monkey in the Attic to go along with the animatronic figure in the finale, who gives out Halloween Town Christmas toys through the mirrors which his henchmen pop up from.
In the Tokyo version, Oogie's dancing shadow appears in the darkened staircase/spider scene.
Oogie Boogie was not present in Tim Burton's original poem that inspired the movie.
According to Ken Page, Oogie's vocal performance was a mix between Bert Lahr's portrayal of the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 film adaptation The Wizard of Oz, and Mercedes McCambridge's performance as the demon, Pazuzu, in the 1973 film The Exorcist. He was also greatly inspired by Cab Calloway, as songwriter Danny Elfman was inspired by "St. James Infirmary Blues" when writing Oogie's song.
While in the actual film and in some video games (e.g. Kingdom Hearts series) his burlap sack's color is brown grey, in most promotional material, games, merchandising, and the Disney Parks his color is neon-green, which he only appears as when his casino lair is lit up in black light.
Oogie Boogie was originally going to reveal to be Dr. Finkelstein in a costume, who fabricated the Oogie Boogie persona to get back at Jack and Sally, but this ending was scrapped.
There has been debate over whether or not the "Shadow in the Moon" character seen during "This is Halloween" is the same character as Oogie Boogie, as they bear a striking resemblance to one another.
Despite being considered a villain by many, Tim Burton himself does not consider Oogie Boogie evil. Nevertheless, Oogie is still marketed as a villain and is considered one due to his heinous actions against Santa, Sally and Jack throughout the movie.