Welcome to the Witching Hour. This is the time when shadows gather to hide the monsters watching as you pass. The breeze carries whispers from souls long dead and humans must share the Earth with creatures from other realms. Join The Inner Circle every midnight in October as we bring you a list of thirty-one monstrous experiences that just might leave you wondering if you are truly alone in the dark.
Imagine that after years of hard work, you and your spouse finally have your dream home. You spend even more time making the house just the way you like it. It has truly become your sanctuary. However, an unfortunate accident means that your time with this life has passed. Your spirit becomes aware of another family that has purchased your home and these people have completely undone all of the hard work you put into the house. What can you do? Why, you summon a demon to slaughter the family!
Okay, Beetlejuice has strayed quite a bit from its original vision. Early drafts of the script were much darker and featured a winged demon who would maul one of the new homeowners and attempt to rape the teenage daughter. The script would go through several rewrites and the tone was considerably lightened by the time Michael Keaton signed on.
Beetlejuice is not the first movie to show off Tim Burton’s warped vision of the undead but I think it is a fairly interesting precursor to later works such as Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
As indicated above, Beetlejuice is the story of Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Geena Davis) who return to their home as ghosts after a fatal accident. When they realize that another family has moved into the house, they attempt to frighten the newcomers into leaving. Unfortunately, Adam and Barbara are not particularly frightening. Be sure to check out an amazing scene where the couple visits an office that is sort of like a Social Security branch for the undead. It’s hilarious!
Adam and Barbara then resort to utilizing the services of Betelguese (Michael Keaton), a particularly unpredictable ghost. He sets to work terrifying the new family but Adam and Barbara begin to question their desires after forming a connection with Lydia, the teenage daughter of the house (played by a 17 year old Winona Ryder).
To say that Michael Keaton steals the show as Beetlejuice would be an understatement. He actually only has less than twenty minutes of screen time but his portrayal of the hedonistic ghost was so powerful that it seems he is around much more than he actually is. The limited screen time probably helps the character from becoming too obnoxious. Beetlejuice is like the disgusting and perverted uncle who secretly makes you laugh because he is so damned hilarious.
One particularly interesting visual comes when Beetlejuice has bat-like ears.
Whether intentional or not, the batwings foreshadow Michael Keaton’s role in Batman the following year – also directed by Tim Burton.
If you haven’t seen this movie yet then I encourage you to fix that during this Halloween season. The afterlife is rarely so hilarious as it is in