Beetlejuice Background

Beetlejuice Background

The premise of this 1988 movie that spawned one of the most popular Halloween costumes of all time is very simple; Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis) and her husband Adam (Alec Baldwin) are killed in a car accident. They find that rather than passing quietly on to the next world, they are stuck haunting their old country residence and are unable to leave the house. Their home is purchased by the exceptionally obnoxious Deetz family (Catherine O'Hara, Jeffrey Jones) who move in, along with their daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder). Despite their best efforts to scare them away, Barbara and Alec have no success; however, the extent of their efforts attracts a free-wheeling ghost by the name of Beetlejuice, who specializes in getting rid of obnoxious humans. His help becomes dangerous for the Maitlands and especially for Lydia; Beetlejuice is not quite the good guy he presents himself to be and eventually the deceased Maitlands and the living Deetzes work together to rid themselves of the manipulative spirit and decide to live in the house together .

Tim Burton directs this movie which at first seems to be a vaguely humorous adventure with two deceased characters as the heroes and where ghosts are pitted in a non threatening way against living human beings; however, as it progresses, it becomes far more representative of a Tim Burron movie and is actually dark and threatening, a feeling that is further amplified by Michael Keaton's portrayal of Beetlejuice as a spirit conman and force of evil. Not surprisingly the film won an Academy Award for Mest Make Up, and also won several Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Awards including Best Horror Film, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director and Best Actor. The movie has achieved cult status and marked the first blockbuster collaboration between Michael Keaton and Tim Burton, paving the way for their reunion when Burton directed Keaton as the eponymous comic book hero in his version of Batman.

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