Beetlejuice springs to life when the raucous and repulsive Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton) rises from his moribund state to wreak havoc on fellow spooks and mortal enemies.

Beetlejuice springs to life when the raucous and repulsive Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton) rises from his moribund state to wreak havoc on fellow spooks and mortal enemies.

Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin are a couple of affectionate New Englanders who live in a big barn of a house that they lovingly are restoring. But they crash over a covered bridge and drown – consigned to an afterlife that keeps them stuck at home forever invisible to anyone not similarly situated.

No sooner is their funeral over when their beloved house is sold to a rich New York financier (Jeffrey Jones) and his wife, the affected artiste (Catherine O’Hara).

Help comes via a cryptically written book for the newly deceased that takes Davis and Baldwin into the afterlife – kind of a comical holding cell for people who died of unnatural causes like themselves – but better yet, from this freak of a character named Betelgeuse that lives in the graveyard that’s part of the miniature table-top town that Baldwin built.

In the script [from a story by Michael McDowell and Larry Wilson], things above ground aren’t nearly as inventive as they are below. Luckily, Keaton pops up from his grave to liven things up when the antics pitting the good ghosts against the intruders become a trite cat & mouse game.

1988: Best Make-Up

Beetlejuice

Production

Geffen. Director Tim Burton; Producer Michael Bender, Larry Wilson, Richard Hashimoto; Screenplay Michael McDowell, Warren Skaaren; Camera Thomas Ackerman; Editor Jane Kurson; Music Danny Elfman; Art Director Bo Welch

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1988. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Alec Baldwin Geena Davis Michael Keaton Jeffrey Jones Winona Ryder Sylvia Sidney
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