Beetlejuice (1988) – Tim Burton


The next family recommendation from the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film book for my viewing of The Wizard of Oz is this classic Tim Burton film starring Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones and Winona Ryder.

Baldwin and Davis are a loving married couple, Adam and Barbara. They love in a nice sprawling home, childless but happy, enjoying their stay-cation. Unfortunately, an accident leaves them dead, and confined to their house as ghosts, with only the Handbook for the Recently Deceased, and an undead civil service as help.

Things get worse as, while they try to deal with their afterlife, a New York family, the Deetz family, move in. There’s art-obsessed, Delia (O’Hara), Charles (Jones), who just wants to relax, and morbid, weird, daughter, Lydia (Ryder).

Delia wants to gut the house, and make it her own, hopefully turning it into a destination for some fellow New Yorkers, and neither Adam nor Barbara want that. So they decide to haunt the family, with hilarious results, as only Lydia is able to see them.

Against advice they turn to bio-exorcist Betelgeuse (Keaton) to help get the Deetzs out of their house…

What follows is a lot of comedy, physical effects, and even some scares in what has become a perennial favorite and even inspired a Saturday morning cartoon!!

And while his score for Batman will always be my favorite of his works, this was the film that introduced me to the orchestral music of Danny Elfman, and some wonderful songs by Harry Belafonte!


I hadn’t seen this one in years, and was absolutely delighted to sit down and take it in again. It has not lost any of its charm, in fact it has stood the test of time incredibly well, it’s over 20 years old!!

But every time I do watch it, it puts me in mind of the first time I did see it…

I was living in Bermuda, and it was screening at the Little Theatre in Hamilton, just a block or two away from my school. There was a screening I could make that would be fairly early in the afternoon, and would allow me to still get home at a reasonable hour in time for dinner so that none would be the wiser that I skipped out of school to see it… until now!

I used babysitting money to buy my ticket, and sat in my favorite seat, about a quarter way up from the screen (it’s a very tiny theatre, but I think this seat was just about perfect), and enjoyed my first exposure to the tilted and just off-kilter world of Tim Burton.

Damn this movie was fun! So say his name three times if you need his help, but be warned, it may be even tougher to get rid of him…








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