Warner Bros./Geffen (Richard Hashimoto, Larry Wilson &
USA 🇺🇸 1988
W: Michael McDowell & Warren Skaaren
DP: Thomas Ackerman
Ed: Jane Kurson
Mus: Danny Elfman
PD: Bo Welch
Cos: Aggie Guerard-Rodgers
Geena Davis (Barbara Maitland), Alec Baldwin (Adam
Maitland), Michael Keaton (Beetlejuice), Catherine O'Hara (Delia Deetz), Glen Shadix (Otho), Winona Ryder (Lydia Deetz), Jeffrey Jones (Charles Deetz), Sylvia Sidney
delightful and surreal treat which made Tim Burton a household name purely for his occult, off-the-wall visual style. Geena Davis & Alec Baldwin play a middle-aged couple who have an
automobile accident in their small New England town and spend the afterlife in their home trying to scare off a family of yuppies who have just moved in. They summon the help of
'Betelguese', a mischievious demon who claims to be an expert at scaring people off, but he does more harm than good.
The movie amassed a huge cult following since it's 1988
release and is often considered one of the best comedy-horrors of all time.
Michael Keaton steals all the laughs at the demonic ghost and
the special makeup effects are absolutely brilliant, even by modern day standards. Unfortunately, the other special effects don't look as good by comparison.
The original script was a horror film, and featured
Beetlejuice as a winged, reptilian demon who transformed into a small Middle Eastern man to interact with the Maitlands and the Deetzes. Lydia was a minor character, with her six-year-old
sister Cathy being the Deetz child able to see the Maitlands. Beetlejuice's goal was to kill the Deetzs, rather than frighten them away, and included sequences where he mauled Cathy in the
form of a rabid squirrel and tried to rape Lydia. Subsequent script re-writes turned the film into a comedy, and toned down Beetlejuice into the ghost of a wise cracking con-artist, rather
than a demon.
The studio wanted to change the title to "House Ghosts",
and even "Scared Sheetless" when Tim Burton mentioned it as a joke.