Barrel is one of the three secondary antagonists. He is part of the trick-or-treating trio with Lock and Shock, who all work for Oogie Boogie. In the original movie, he is played by Danny Elfman, but played by Jeff Bennett in Kingdom Hearts and Dee Bradley Baker in The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge.
Barrel is the shortest of the trio, and is more bulky than his cohorts, being nearly twice as wide as Lock. His skin is alabaster white, his body adorned with a skeleton costume. He also wears a pale white mask with two rows of pearly white teeth to accompany the costume. In other words, he is small and round.
He is presumed to be the least brainy of the group, but that's not saying much, since there is only three kids. though still quite ill-mannered, but is more easily influenced to do whatever he is told. He always carries candy with him, having a real sweet tooth, and is often seen with a swirly lollipop.
He is, alongside Shock and Lock, Oogie Boogie's henchman, but does not seem to be faithful to him, since he's often found doing odd jobs for Jack, too. He is also the one to accidentally reveal Oogie's plans in Oogie's Revenge, who is always curtly shushed before he can say any more. Alternatively, all of these examples are only seen in further game adaptations, to which are considered tertiary canon and do not modify or contradict source material of The Nightmare Before Christmas.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Barrel is introduced with Lock and Shock when they are called by Jack Skellington for their tasks for Christmas. He and the others first antagonize the Mayor using slingshots and shoot rocks at him. When Jack gives them the responsibility of kidnapping "Sandy Claws", Barrel promises, along with the others, to not involve Oogie Boogie, but crosses his fingers behind his back and giggles.
He and the others leave for their treehouse, where Barrel suggests they draw straws to see who gets to kidnap "Sandy Claws". However, he agrees with Shock to work together, and they start their song, "Kidnap the Sandy Claws". Barrel licks his lollipop and leaves it as bait for a bug to sacrifice to Oogie Boogie. Lock drags him by the foot using a ball-and-chain, saying Shock is "no fun" after saying she wishes her cohorts "weren't so dumb". Later, he sits on top of the trio's cannon before Lock effectively launches him into another room, where he gets his head stuck in a cauldron. Then he's tossed in their bathtub, cleaning the residue off his face and joining the others to gather their weapons for the job.
When they first attempt to kidnap "Sandy Claws", they accidentally come back with the Easter Bunny instead. Barrel insists to Jack that they went through the door he instructed, until he shows them the proper one and Shock and Lock start to fight. He joins in with the quarrel and gets choked by Shock, but they are briefly broken up when Jack scares them. He then tells them to take the frightened Holiday Leader back to his world, which they promise to do and ensure they'll get it right next time.
On their second attempt, Barrel and the others are successful in getting the right Leader. Jack expresses his approval and tells them to make sure he's "comfortable", where Barrel rides on top of the bag out of town. After joining Shock's confusion on where to take him, they are convinced by Lock to bring him to Oogie Boogie, where he says he'll be the most "comfortable". Barrel laughs with the others as they bring "Sandy Claws" back to their treehouse, and stuff him down the pipe into Oogie's Lair. After listening to get him taunted, he and the others laugh profusely.
After he and the other two gather to watch Oogie kill Santa and Sally, they are interrupted by Jack, who scares them. They then rush to the Mayor to inform him that Jack is still alive, and are seen by his side when they offer a ladder down to help him back up. He and Shock and Lock ride on top of the Mayor's hearse back into Halloween Town, where they wave to the residents and join in on the snow play.
The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge
Barrel makes his first appearance with his cohorts in their bathtub in the sequel video game, Oogie's Revenge, when Jack is in the Cemetery. He asks him if he's having fun, but when Jack asks them if they have any involvement with Oogie's return, Barrel hesitates to respond. After being ordered to set the town back as it was, Barrel mentions their secret mission to stop him and tells him not to tell anyone, but is thwacked on the head by a plunger.
Barrel has a level named after him called "Barrel's Maze", where he sets up a maze and shows up with Shock and Lock in the Pumpkin Patch to offer Jack some candy. He tells Jack that he's going to get lost after what they did to the Mayor's House, but realizes he wasn't supposed to tell him that and runs off with his cohorts. In the level "Big Pumpkin Head", Jack finds Barrel munching on some pumpkins and asks him how he got through his maze. Then he attacks him, but loses. When Jack tells him to stop working for Oogie, he agrees, but crosses his fingers behind his back.
Later, in the level "Rooftop Rumble", Barrel and the others meet with Jack on top of the Mayor's roof. He asks Jack for another round, then he and the others fight him. However, the end up losing, and as they're sent to the ground, Jack says it's finally time he and the others learned their lesson. As he inches closer to them, they scoot back on the ground before pressing a button, thus sending Jack into a hole.
It is never revealed what Lock, Shock, and Barrel are up to during Jacks' battle with Oogie Boogie, nor where they are after the events of the game unfold.
Barrel also makes an appearance in the prequel video game, "The Pumpkin King". He, Shock, and Lock are first seen talking to Oogie Boogie about Jack Skellington, who explains that Jack runs the town and that he's the scariest. When Oogie asks them if he's scarier than him, they fail to respond and he tells them to be quiet. He then gives them the assignment to get Jack and bring him back to his Lair, saying it's about time that they met.
Barrel comes back with the others and say that they captured Jack, but when Sally comes out of the bag, Oogie is confused and tells them they were supposed to bag Jack Skellington. The three get into an argument about who she is and begin fighting each other, until they're broken up by Oogie, who says that he'll show him and his town what he is capable of.
As explained by the Mayor, Barrel and the others are racing around Halloween Town, up to no good. They later trap Jack in his house, and are ecstatic about getting "Newt Nugget" as a reward, then run off. Later in the game, Barrel is seen with the others breaking street lights in the Spiral Hill, then laugh and run off. This causes the town to go dark and no one can see anything. When they're later caught by Jack, one of them accidentally leaves word of their boss, though it isn't known for certain if Barrel let this information slip. They then flee, and later make a small appearance telling Oogie the elevator is fixed and then leave again.
They're found again in their treehouse, and after being questioned on where they took Sally, Barrel and the others tell Jack that they can't tell him otherwise their boss will whomp them. When they're told it's not their boss they should be worrying about, they run off and Jack chases after them. They then bump into Jack again, and argue whose idea it was to come that way. One of them assures the other that the room is equipped with all sorts of unpleasant surprises, to which Jack interrupts asks them about it. Barrel and his cohorts then attack him, but when they lose, they ask him not to hurt them and confesses Sally is with Oogie Boogie. They give him a "gift" that explodes in his face, and run off again.
In the final battle, Lock, Shock, and Barrel aid Oogie Boogie as part of his "bug" bike, and tells Jack then when Oogie rules the town, it'll be theirs to play with. In the fight, Barrel is able to launch three spike balls at Jack all at once. Eventually, when Jack wins and Oogie is defeated, Barrel, Lock, and Shock are seen sinking to the side while their boss is banished from town.
Much like Oogie's Revenge, it's unknown what Lock, Shock, and Barrel do after the final fight, but they are not shown in the crowd that leaves to celebrate Halloween afterwards, implying they stayed with Oogie in his Lair after his defeat.
Click here to view the gallery for Barrel.
- Barrel's mask makes an appearance in the game, Sally Face.