a couple of recently deceased ghosts contract the services of a “bio-exorcist” in order to remove the obnoxious new owners of their house.
dir.: tim burton
comedy / fantasy
michael keaton as beetlejuice
alec baldwin as adam maitland
geena davis as barbara maitland
winona ryder as lydia deetz
jeffrey jones as charles deetz
catherine o’hara as delia deetz
- in the wedding scene, lydia’s dress is a bright red. according to the old rhyme about wedding dress colors, it’s “married in red, better off dead.”
- tim burton originally wanted sammy davis jr., a favorite star of his since childhood, to play the role of betelgeuse but studio executives didn’t like that idea at all
- the receptionist in the waiting room is miss argentina.
- director trademark: [tim burton] [music] music by danny elfman
- director trademark: [tim burton] [dogs] the maitland’s deaths are caused by a stray dog wandering around the bridge their car topples over.
- director trademark: [tim burton] [stop-motion animation] the sculptures, sandworms, and various effects.
- director trademark: [tim burton] [claymation] the priest, fireplace and decomposing versions of adam and barbra are all claymation.
- director trademark: [tim burton] [tv commercials] betelgeuse’s tv commercial.
- michael keaton spent only 2 weeks filming his part in the film, which lasts 17.5 minutes out of the 92-minute running time. it is keaton’s favorite film of his own.
- 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 6 year old sister cathy being the deetz child able to see the maitlands. beetlejuice’s goal was to kill the maitlands, 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 rewrites turned the film into a comedy and toned down beetlejuice’s character into the ghost of an ebonics-speaking con-artist rather than a demon.
- the only cast member who would initially commit to the project was geena davis. michael keaton, winona ryder, catherine o’hara, and sylvia sidney all said no at least once. producer david geffen convinced michael keaton’s manager to convince michael to meet with director tim burton. once michael said yes, tim burton personally called sylvia sidney and begged her to do the movie, and he flew out to meet with catherine o’Hhra to convince her as well.
- the original plan for the dinner party was to have the guests dance to “a song by the ink spots,” but jeffrey jones and catherine o’hara suggested the music be calypso.
- adam and barbara are the only spirits that look “normal”, compared to the other deceased in the netherworld.
- juliette lewis auditioned for the role of lydia. lori loughlin, diana lane, sarah jessica parker, brooke shields, justine bateman, molly ringwald and jennifer connelly all turned down the same role.
- the number 3 is used ‘3’ times: the number of times to say commands (“betelgeuse”, “home”), the number of times to knock on the door to get to the other side, and the number of 1st class intersessions allotted.
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