Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!
We kick off the NerdiPop Tim Burton Dedication Blog with one of Tim Burton’s Classics – Beetlejuice!
Beetlejuice is a 1988 American horror comedy fantasy film directed by Tim Burton, produced by The Geffen Film Company and distributed by Warner Bros.
Barbara and Adam Maitland decide to spend their vacation decorating their idyllic New England country home. While the young couple are driving back from town, Barbara swerves to avoid a dog wandering the roadway and crashes through a covered bridge, plunging into the river below. After realising that they died in the car accident, they find themselves stuck haunting their country residence, unable to leave the house. A new family moves in – The Deetzes – who consists of Charles, a former real estate developer; his second wife Delia, an aspiring sculptor; and his goth daughter Lydia from his first marriage. Under the guidance of interior designer Otho, the Deetzes transform the house into a gaudy piece of pastel-toned modern art. The Maitlands seek help from their afterlife caseworker, Juno, who informs them that they must remain in the house for 125 years. If they want the Deetzes out of the house, it is up to them to scare them away. The Maitlands’ attempts at scaring the family away prove utterly ineffective. Their efforts attract Beetlejuice (Betelgeuse), a rambunctious spirit whose “help” quickly becomes dangerous for the Maitlands and innocent Lydia.
|Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice|
|Alec Baldwin as Adam Maitland|
|Geena Davis as Barbara Maitland|
|Winona Ryder as Lydia Deetz|
|Catherine O’Hara as Delia Deetz|
|Jeffrey Jones as Charles Deetz|
|Glenn Shadix as Otho|
|Sylvia Sidney as Juno|
Spinoffs / Sequel
In 1989 Beetlejuice, an animated television series was aired, It ran from 9 September 1989 to 26 October 1991 on ABC and on Fox from 9 September to 6 December 1991. The TV series was loosely based on the 1988 film of the same name and was developed and executive-produced by the film’s director, Tim Burton. The series focus on the life of Goth girl Lydia Deetz and her un-dead friend Beetlejuice as they explore The Neitherworld, a wacky afterlife realm inhabited by monsters, ghosts, ghouls and zombies. Danny Elfman’s theme for the film was arranged for the cartoon by Elfman himself (source: wikipedia).
In 1990, Burton hired Jonathan Gems to write a sequel titled Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian. “Tim thought it would be funny to match the surfing backdrop of a beach movie with some sort of German Expressionism, because they’re totally wrong together,” Gems reflected. The story followed the Deetz family moving to Hawaii, where Charles is developing a resort. They soon discover that his company is building on the burial ground of an ancient Hawaiian Kahuna. The spirit comes back from the afterlife to cause trouble, and Betelgeuse becomes a hero by winning a surf contest with magic. Keaton and Ryder agreed to do the film, on the condition that Burton directed, but both he and Keaton became distracted with Batman Returns.
Burton was still interested in Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian in early 1991. Impressed with Daniel Waters’ work on Heathers, Burton approached him for a rewrite. However, he eventually signed Waters to write the script for Batman Returns.
In September 2011, Warner Bros. hired Seth Grahame-Smith, who collaborated with Burton on Dark Shadows and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, to write and produce a sequel to Beetlejuice. Grahame-Smith signed on with the intention of doing “a story that is worthy of us actually doing this for real, something that is not just about cashing in, is not just about forcing a remake or a reboot down someone’s throat.” He was also adamant that Keaton would return and that Warner Bros. would not recast the role.
Burton and Keaton have not officially signed on but will return if the script is good enough.
In December 2014, Burton commented that “It’s a character that I love and I miss and I miss actually working with Michael. There’s only one Betelgeuse. We’re working on a script and I think it’s probably closer than ever and I’d love to work with him again.” (source: wikipedia)
Betelgeuse has had several theme park shows at Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Japan. At the Florida park, he is not only currently the star of Beetlejuice’s Rock and Roll Graveyard Revue but also the now defunct “Extreme Ghostbusters: The Great Fright Way!”. He was also a featured part of Halloween Horror Nights in the early days of the Orlando park.
10 Interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about Beetlejuice
#1. Early Drafts Of The Script Were Far Less Whimsical. While “Beetlejuice” deals with death and ghosts, is still often described as a comedy. That wouldn’t have been the case if producers had stuck to the original screenplay. As The Playlist noted earlier in 2013, the original script included more gruesome violence and presented Michael Keaton’s title character in this way: “He was envisioned as leather-winged demon whose humanoid form is that of a squat Middle Eastern man (subsequent drafts had him talking in a kind of African American pidgin dialect).” (www.huffingtonpost.com)
#2. Sammy Davis Jr. Was Burton’s First Choice For Beetlejuice. Director Tim Burton originally wanted Rat Pack-member Sammy Davis Jr.—who was 63-years-old at the time—to play Beetlejuice. Producer David Geffen suggested actor Michael Keaton, who was ultimately chosen and would go on to appear in two other Burton films—Batman and Batman Returns. (www.huffingtonpost.com)
#3. Beetlejuice Has Won An Oscar! Makeup artist Ve Neill and her team won the 1989 Best Makeup Academy Award. (http://mentalfloss.com/)
#4. Angelica Huston Was Very Nearly Delia Deetz. Angelica Huston was originally cast to play Delia Deetz, but she bowed out due to an illness. Actress Catherine O’Hara initially declined Burton’s offer for the part, but accepted after Burton flew out to meet with and personally to convince her to take it. O’Hara met and eventually married production designer Bo Welch while working on Beetlejuice. (http://mentalfloss.com/)
#5. Lydia Was A Role Lots Of Ingénues Rejected. Actresses Lori Loughlin, Diane Lane, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, Justine Bateman, Molly Ringwald, and Jennifer Connelly turned down the role of Lydia Deetz. Juliette Lewis auditioned, but Wynona Ryder won the part once Burton saw her performance in the teen drama Lucas. (http://mentalfloss.com/)
#6. Beetlejuice Was Nearly Called Scared Sheetless. Warner Bros. executives didn’t like the name Beetlejuice and pushed to have it changed to House Ghosts. Burton jokingly suggested Scared Sheetless as an alternate name, and was appalled when Warner Bros. actually considered it. (http://mentalfloss.com/)
#7. Beetlejuice Was Named After A Star. Beetlejuice was named for Betelgeuse, a star in the constellation Orion. (wikipedia)
#8. The Shrimp scene. Tim Burton originally planned to have crew members positioned underneath the dinner table to throw shrimp up at the guests’ faces. Dick Cavett, who plays one of the guests, suggested placing the shrimp on everyone’s faces, letting it fall off, and then running the film in reverse, which Burton ended up doing. (http://www.rantmovies.com)
#9. “Day-O” Played At Otho’s Real-Life Funeral. Harry Belafonte’s song “Day-O,” which is in the film’s memorable song and dance number, was the final song played at the memorial for actor Glenn Shadix (who played Otho in the film), who died in 2010. (http://mentalfloss.com/)
#10. Beetlejuice Is Barely In His Own Movie. Beetlejuice only appears in 17.5 minutes of the 92-minute film. (http://mentalfloss.com/)
There are loads of Beetlejuice merchandise out there – from figurines, bobble heads, special edition DVD’s, mugs – name it!
In this blog discussion we will be looking at 7 books based on the movie.
#1. Handbook for the recently deceased.
This is a blank paperback journal in the style of the Handbook for the Recently Deceased from Tim Burton’s “Beetle Juice” (1988). You can fill it with your absurd thoughts, but no matter what you write, it’ll probably read like stereo instructions.
According to the website – http://theneitherworld.com – there were six books published by Minstrel Books (a division of Pocket Books). The penname of the author was ‘B.J. Specter. Unfortunately all these books are out of print.
The ‘descriptions’ that accompany each picture are taken from the back covers.
#2. Beetlejuice For President
VOTE FOR BEETLEJUICE: THE GHOST WITH THE MOST!
Beetlejuice is tired of feeling like just another ghoul. He wants power, riches, and the freedom to make trouble whenever he likes. There’s only one solution: to run for president of the Neitherworld.
He would do anything to get elected. But when Beetlejuice says he’ll make Halloween a year-round holiday, his friend Lydia knows he’ll never be able to keep his promise.
Can Lydia make an honest ghoul out of Beetlejuice before the election blows up in his face?
#3. Lydia’s Scream Date
The biggest party of the year is coming up and Lydia doesn’t have a date. Then Beetlejuice has a great plan. He’ll haunt the captain of the football team and go as Lydia’s scream date!
At the party, Beetlejuice’s dancing really makes heads spin, especially his own. But Lydia realizes she’d better come to the rescue when his fancy footwork starts catching up to him – and Beetlejuice is scared by his own shadow!
#4. Rock N’ Roll Nightmare
When Beetlejuice and his heavy metal band, Blades ‘N’ Tulips, decide to produce their own music video show, rock music is soon blasting from every TV set in Peaceful Pines. Lydia loves Music Ghoul-A-Vision – until she notices that her friends and neighbors are acting even weirder than usual.
Can Lydia get to the MGV studio in the Neitherworld and stop the music before Peaceful Pines becomes a town full of rocked-out zombies?
#5. Twisted Tours
SEE THE SIGHTS, FRIGHTS!
Beetlejuice has a great get-rich-quick scheme. He charges hundreds of his fellow ghouls for a tour of Pleasant Pines, Lydia’s hometown. At first the tour is a huge success. Then the slimeball slips down the drain at the water company. A weight-lifting skeleton discovers the health spa. And a romantic vampire falls in love with screen vampires at a local movie theater.
Life in Pleasant Pines is so good that the frightseers refuse to go back to the Neitherworld. Can Lydia and Beetlejuice get them home before the town turns into a tourist nightmare?
#6. Camp Fright
Lydia dreads spending another boring summer in Peaceful Pines. But her scheming pal Beetlejuice has just the answer! He convinces all the parents in town to send their little darlings to Camp Wannapuka. The lucky campers are about to have the wildest summer of their lives!
First there’s Poison Ivy, the counselor made from shiny green leaves. Then there are the camp delicacies such as eyeball soup and hot sludge sundaes. Things go downhill fast when the campers from across the lake crawl in for a visit. Soon all the campers want to go home. What can Beetlejuice and Lydia do to save Camp Wannapuka?
#7. Trial By Ghost
WANTED: LYDIA DEETZ
When Lydia is kidnapped and forced to assist in a Neitherworld bank robbery, she is caught by the local ghost police. Beetlejuice tries every trick in the book to clear her name, but it’s no use. Lydia is sentenced to afterlife in the Neitherworld prison!
Lydia’s only hope is to find the real culprits. With the help of her cell mates, she and Beetlejuice stage a daring escape. Can they locate the real robbers before the Neitherworld cops spirit her back to the dungeons?
To end this blog, herewith the original movie scene – “Day-O” Happy watching!
Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!