Why? ’cause he’s “the ghost with the most,” babes, the afterlife’s leading bio-exorcist, and the star of the movie i consume at this time of year with all the unfettered glee of a 6-year old with a plastic pumpkin full of candy. So, let’s cue up some Harry Belafonte and dig right in to all the reasons why I love Beetlejuice .. Beetlejuice …BEETLEJUICE …
** Michael Keaton. End of story. Up until “Beetlejuice” was released, my sole experiences with Michael Keaton on film were “Mr. Mom” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085970/), the early Ron Howard offering of “Gung Ho” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091159/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_53), and a lesser known romantic comedy in which Keaton starred as a professional hockey player falling in-love with the single mother of a delinquent son who tried to rob him (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092104/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_52). “Beetlejuice” was Michael Keaton as I’d never seen him before – manic, insane, spastic, creepy, crazy, and even a little scary – and I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT. In fact, he may hate this, but when i look at him now, all i can think is “Beetlejuice” (sorry, Batfans…and Mr. Keaton).
** Alec Baldwin’s nerdalicious vibe as Adam Maitland, hardware store owner and lover of plaid shirts, calypso music, and model-building. It wasn’t difficult to understand just why his wife, the wryly sweet, Jessica McClintock-clad Barbara Maitland, patiently tolerated his somewhat boring hobbies and occasional mispronunciations (“The Handbook for the Recently Diseased”… cracks me up EVERY TIME). Of course, that and the fact that beneath those glasses and all that flannel lurked a pretty sexy bastard, because 1988 Alec Baldwin was just …plain…HOT.
** Lydia. Winona Ryder KILLED IT as the “strange and unusual” dark-eyed, deadpan teenager with a penchant for black clothes, photography, sullen angst and communicating with the dead. From the moment she arrived onscreen, she spoke to my inner goth girl on a level i understood but couldn’t express in a parochial school environment during the ’80’s (other kids were obsessing over “Footloose” and “Top Gun”. I had “Beetlejuice” and “The Lost Boys”. I make no apologies).
** Catherine O’Hara as Delia Deetz, stepmother of Lydia and all-around bain of her existence. And let me tell you – no one does comically selfish, loud, and overbearing like Catherine O’Hara. Her Delia was as insecure as a wife/stepmother as she was wildly untalented as an artist. And if no one else understood (or appreciated or liked) her art, damn it, at least SHE did, as evidenced by her screams of terror when a moving mishap results in her being pinned against the wall by one of her own terrifying creations: “This is my art, and it is DANGEROUS! DO YOU THINK I WANT TO DIE LIKE THIS?!?” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK-lANrY7P8)
** THE MUSIC. Danny Elfman’s infectious score is a symphony of psychotic, demented glee (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GorM-UQ68Q8), the kind you’d expect to find in a deranged funhouse … or a Tim Burton movie…which is pretty much the same thing now that i think about it. Add a sprinkle of calypso music courtesy of Harry Belafonte and you’ve got yourself a healthy dose of quirky, charming brilliance that also made for one hell of a memorable possession scene (no offense, Linda Blair). Take a look…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQXVHITd1N4.
** Tim Burton. In 1988, “Beetlejuice” was my gateway drug into the world of TIm Burton, and i haven’t stopped using. Even when the offerings are not all that great (*ahem* “Sweeney Todd”), I am never NOT entertained by SOMETHING in this man’s films.
In all honesty, i could take up several afterlives talking about why i love “Beetlejuice”. It’s a movie I never intend to outgrow. So, just do yourself a favor and check it out for yourself this Halloween…for the first time … or again…whatever the case may be. Remember, if you act now, you’ll get a free demon possession with every exorcism (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJz7126qizE).
So, say it once, say it twice, third time’s a charm…..