In the dining room, Otho sits at the head of the table and conducts a kind of seance. Adam and Barbara’s wedding clothes are laid out on the table as Otho instructs everyone to hold hands. He says an incantation and Lydia rolls her eyes. As he finishes the incantation, the lights go out. Back in the attic, Barbara and Adam sit with one another, and Barbara’s skin suddenly begins to fade away and she disappears. Down on the dining room table, the wedding dress rises on its own and Barbara appears in it. Standing on the table, Barbara’s skin ages rapidly, and she becomes a kind of corpse bride, reaching down her hand to Lydia. Otho speaks more incantations, and this time Adam disappears from the attic, materializing on the table in his wedding tuxedo and reaching his hand out to Barbara. When Delia asks Otho what’s happening to them, he says he doesn’t know. “They’re dying!” Lydia yells, but Maxie Deen insists that they are already dead and cannot die. Suddenly Adam begins to age rapidly as well. Charles asks Otho to stop the aging of the ghosts, but he does not know what to do.
Anxiously, Lydia goes into the other room where the model is set up, and asks Beetlejuice for his help. He tells her that he can help her, but only if she agrees to help him in return. He needs to get married, and Lydia looks horrified at the thought. As she looks over at the endangered Barbara and Adam, Beetlejuice tells her that they have to get married if she wants his help, and she eventually agrees to do it as long as he’ll help the couple. We see Barbara and Adam aging more and more on the dining room table, as Lydia says Beetlejuice’s name three times. “It’s showtime!” he says, as he is released from the model and comes into the room. Maxie Deen and the others go into the living room, where they find Beetlejuice with a kind of carousel on his head. He makes an announcement for the amusement park and museum for the supernatural that Maxie is hoping to establish in the town, which seems to delight Maxie. Beetlejuice then unravels long arms, which turn into giant mallets for an amusement park game. Maxie and his companion are delighted by Beetlejuice’s display, but suddenly the mallets come pummeling down onto the floor, which sends Maxie and his companion shooting up through the ceiling.
Beetlejuice looks over at Barbara and Adam and magically makes their bodies—which are pretty much just disintegrating bones—crumple and fall back onto the dining room table. He then jumps on Otho’s back. When Otho runs away, Beetlejuice puts him in a spotlight and points at him. Otho’s suit falls away to reveal a pale blue suit. Otho becomes disturbed and begins screaming, running out of the room. Beetlejuice tells Delia and Charles they are welcome at his house anytime, and puts a handful of snakes in Charles’ hand, saying, “The dowry’s on me, dad.” Beetlejuice is suddenly wearing a purple tuxedo, and Lydia is wearing a red wedding dress. He holds out his arm to her and she walks towards him. Barbara and Adam begin to sit up on the dining room table, even though they are still skeletal corpses. Beetlejuice insists that they will need witnesses for his marriage to Lydia, and he magically animates Delia’s awful sculptures, which begin walking and moving, wrapping themselves around Charles and Delia.
A strange monstrous priest emerges from the fireplace and begins to perform the marriage of Beetlejuice and Lydia. When Lydia tries to get out of the marriage by saying “Beetlejuice” three times, Beetlejuice covers her mouth and begins speaking on her behalf, in her voice no less. Having been restored to their youthful appearances, Adam and Barbara reenter the room. Adam attempts to say Beetlejuice’s name three times, but Beetlejuice magically removes his teeth from his mouth, rendering him speechless. Beetlejuice urges the priest to marry them hastily, as Adam’s disembodied mouth attempts to say Beetlejuice’s name again. Beetlejuice stomps at Adam’s disembodied mouth, which scurries around the room and nips at Beetlejuice’s ankles like a pair of runaway dentures.
Adam runs towards the couple, but Beetlejuice puts his hands out, casting a spell on Adam and sending him into the miniature model world, unable to interfere in the wedding. Barbara approaches the couple and begins to say Beetlejuice’s name, but Beetlejuice immediately turns her mouth into a zipper. She says his name again, however, proving that the zipper trick didn’t work. Beetlejuice casts another spell, covering Barbara’s mouth up with a metal strip and rendering her speechless. The priest asks Beetlejuice for the ring, which Beetlejuice cannot find. Meanwhile, in the model, Adam gets into a red truck and drives down the street. When Barbara struggles to get the metal strip off her mouth, Beetlejuice transports her into the harrowing outside world, with the giant monsters. Finally, Beetlejuice finds the ring on a disembodied finger in his pocket, and begins to put it on Lydia’s finger.
Adam drives the miniature truck out of the model and onto the floor of the room towards the priest, who is finishing up the wedding ceremony. He drives the truck directly into Beetlejuice’s shoe, causing an explosion. Suddenly, the evil monster from the outside world bursts through the ceiling, with Barbara on its back. It eats Beetlejuice in one bite as Delia and Charles are released from the clutches of the sculpture. Adam and Barbara are reunited and embrace. Delia and Charles smile at Lydia. They are finally safe from Beetlejuice.
The scene shifts and we see a building in town, “Miss Shannon’s School for Girls.” Girls file out of the school, Lydia included. Lydia gets on her bike and rides away. We see Adam and Barbara in the house preparing something. As Lydia arrives home, she hands Adam paints that she picked up and tells the couple that she took pictures of the new town hall for them. Adam and Barbara ask Lydia about her grades, and are delighted when she tells them she got an A on her math test. “So can I?” Lydia asks, and Adam finally agrees to let Lydia do something. The house is suddenly filled with Harry Belafonte music and we see Charles reading a magazine entitled The Living and the Dead in the study. Delia scares him as the music gets louder downstairs. Lydia, Adam, and Barbara dance to the music. Lydia levitates and dances while flying up in the air next to the staircase. The scene shifts and we see Beetlejuice in the waiting room at the office for the deceased. He tries to make conversation with the other dead people there, but no one talks to him. When he looks at his number, he notices that he has an incredibly high number for getting seen at the front desk. Noticing that the man sitting next to him has #4, Beetlejuice switches the numbers, but the man notices and sprinkles magic dust on him, causing Beetlejuice’s head to shrink. We see Lydia flying and dancing to Harry Belafonte as the film ends.
With The Handbook for the Recently Deceased now in the wrong hands, Adam and Barbara’s (and everyone’s) fate hangs in the balance. With no one else to turn to, Lydia must seek the help of the menacing Beetlejuice. The intervention of the naive living people, the Deetzes, has only complicated matters and made Barbara and Adam’s afterlife experience that much worse. Driven by human greed and desire for profit, the Deetzes try to control Adam and Barbara, rather than peacefully co-habitate with them. Lydia is the only living person who seems to have any kind of empathy for the ghosts, and with no one else to turn to, she must entreat Beetlejuice for his help.
The problem is, Beetlejuice is no help at all. He never helps anyone without something in it for himself. Rather, he drives Otho, Maxie, and Maxie’s companion from the room and forces Lydia into a marriage against her will. Beetlejuice may be a jokester, which makes him seem like a less threatening presence, but his jokes mask a perverse evil, a violent streak and a destructive impulse. In his world, one can ask for help and he will agree, but the price will always exceed the worth of his services. Yes, he disbands the meeting that threatens to “kill” Adam and Barbara once and for all, but in exchange he wants to pull Lydia into his chaotic and horrifying world. He is the god of the underworld, and Lydia is his unwilling captive.
This section of the film contains some increasingly outlandish imagery, at once horrifying and comical. When he first arrives, Beetlejuice plays the role of a jolly carnival barker, a carousel rotating around his head, and his arms turning into giant funhouse mallets. Then for the wedding, Beetlejuice’s wedding tux is a deep velvet purple, and Lydia wears a blood red wedding gown as they take their place at the fireplace to be married by an unidentifiable ghoul. Then, when Adam turns back into his young self and attempts to transform Beetlejuice back into miniature, his whole mouth falls out of his face and begins to scurry around the floor, a pair of rogue dentures. The pace is frenetic, and the imagery is simultaneously disgusting and exhilarating. Part of Burton’s magic is his ability to fuse these qualities into a truly unique fantastical world. The viewer hardly has time to keep up with the nonstop shocks.
In the climactic moment of the film, the various supernatural elements of the world of the dead converge, helping Adam and Barbara to get rid of Beetlejuice. Adam, in miniature, breaks free from the world of the model and drives the miniature car into Beetlejuice’s foot. Barbara wrangles the power of the monster from the outside world and sets it against Beetlejuice, and the menacing spell that Beetlejuice has cast on the house is released. In an unlikely convergence of events, just in the nick of time, when it seems as though Lydia might have to marry the horrifying ghoul after all, Adam and Barbara save the day. Not only do they save Lydia from Beetlejuice’s clutches, but they save themselves and improve Lydia’s relationship with her parents, who now smile at her approvingly.
By the end of the film, Lydia is happy in her new town, well-adjusted and with two sets of parents. Thus, while the film is a supernatural comedy thriller about a pair of ghosts and their ghoulish companion, it is also a film about teenage depression and suicide. When she reconciles her relationship between life and death, Lydia is able to feel better and live a happier life. She does well in school, trades in her mourning clothes for school clothes, and enjoys life with the help of both her dead and living parents.