Beetle Juice


The recently deceased Maitlands (Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis) find it difficult to scare off an unpleasant family that’s moved into their house; maybe a ghost that exorcises people is the answer? Director Tim Burton’s second film became his breakthrough and his knack for mixing up comedy with darker stuff is evident. This is a fun tale that turns the traditional ghost story upside down; if you can’t call the “Ghostbusters” your option is an uncompromising demon. Imaginative visual effects is a plus (although they do go overboard at times) and so is the cast, especially Michael Keaton as the rude ghost. Creative use of Harry Belafonte songs.

1988-U.S. 92 min. Color. Produced by Michael Bender, Richard Hashimoto, Larry Wilson. Directed by Tim Burton. Screenplay: Michael McDowell, Warren Skaaren. Music: Danny Elfman. Cast: Michael Keaton (Betelgeuse), Alec Baldwin (Adam Maitland), Geena Davis (Barbara Maitland), Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder… Robert Goulet, Dick Cavett.

Trivia: Sammy Davis, Jr. was allegedly considered for the part of Betelgeuse. Later a stage musical. Followed by an animated TV series (1989-1991).

Oscar: Best Makeup.

Quote: “I’m a ghost with the most, babe.” (Keaton)

Last word: “I wanted him to be pure electricity, that’s why the hair just sticks out. At my house I started creating a walk and a voice. I got some teeth. I wanted to be scary in the look and then use the voice to add a dash of goofiness that, in a way, would make it even scarier. I wanted something kind of moldy to it, too. Tim had the striped-suit idea and we added the big eyes. I think that movie will go forever because it’s 100% original.” (Keaton, LA Times)


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