Beetlejuice (1988)

Beetlejuice (1988)

Beetlejuice 1988Starring: Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O’Hara

Directed by: Tim Burton

Written By: Michael McDowell, Warren Skaaren

Rating: PG (US) Running Time: 1 hr 32 min

Two pence:

This film is an oddity; it’s crazy bizarre. It’s non-stop fun and incredibly re-watchable. The idea of ghosts needing an exorcist to rid themselves of the obnoxious living is delicious, and Tim Burton goes nuts with it. Not only designing the conservative house of the childless couple (who unwittingly die avoiding a dog with their car) but he gets to have a pretentious art obsessed family move in and renovate the seemingly vacant old house. We also get a miniaturized version of the town and a view of the afterlife – well, the offices of anyway! Did I mention Saturn’s moon Titan too? Yeah, it’s that wacky!

All these worlds collide in Burtons’ superb imagination and his bright and garish colours. (The stop animated sand worm monster that has a zipper outer skin is a good example.) The acting, costumes and make-up all get to be dialed up to be delightful, grisly and fun. If all the screw ball acting and sight gag shenanigans weren’t enough then Michael Keaton’s oft mentioned but rarely seen titular character is as madcap as a bag of cats and box of frogs – combined. Was there ever a more over wound, energetic, anarchic, perverted, ego maniacal, and gross a character as his prankster loon? He’s not in it much at all but makes a huge impression.

All the cast are on great form here , as is Danny Elfman’s fantastical score which matches all the visual firecrackers on offer here. This film was a favourite of mine when in my late teens (especially as it gave me the wonderful introduction of Winona Ryder being plonked down, dressed all in black, in an arm chair of the hall of her new house by the removal van men), but it still delights now – my son loved it.

Movie Prep:

Zany fun with a sugar coated Halloween styling (minus the fear). This is fiendishly imaginative and a constantly amusing twisted film. Watch and re-watch! If you’ve enjoyed other Tim Burton movies and somehow missed this – watch immediately! It’s one of his best.

Best Format:

Well, after years of sucky VHS, it’s nice to see the vivid colours in DVD or HD.

Best Moment:

So many! Whenever Beetlejuice is on the screen! An example of a great moment is when he’s talking to the main couple and stops mid-sentence to have his head spin round and round whilst screaming. He then grabs hold of it to stop it and mutters casually “Don’t you hate it when that happens?”. Marvelous and ghastly.

References: IMDB


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