top of page
  • Writer's pictureCeris

Ceris' 31 Days of Horror Challenge: Day 2 - Beetlejuice



Beetle....... Don't worry I'm not that stupid!

Day 2's horror film is one of my favourite's even if it is starting to look a bit dated now. Michael Keaton's characterisation of Beetlejuice isn't your typical horror movie bad guy, but more of a nightmare haunting boogey man, and the mouldy look he chose to go for with his make-up make's me feel somewhat queasy whenever he is on screen.

Art by Mark Levy

Starting the film, we meet Barbara and Adam Maitland who are a young couple in love living in a lovely big house and who spend the first 5 minutes of the film trying to scare off a crazy realtor named Jane. Their idyllic life is destroyed when a rogue dog crosses their path and causes them to crash into a river and die. At first glance I thought the dog was cute but after a mere 30 seconds on screen I hope that I never come across him in person.

Our two lovebirds return home - although they can't remember how - and discover they are dead, something I thought would be somewhat obvious to them as they crashed into a river in an upside down car! Jane conveniently jumps on this and sells the house to a new owner, and so enters the somewhat dysfunctional Deetz family. I loved the relationship between Delia Deetz played by Catherine O'Hara and Otho played by Glenn Shadix and in particular during the scene when they first enter the house and cringe at the current decor, whilst dreaming up some eccentric interior design ideas.

It's safe to say Barbara and Adam are not fans of their new lodgers and so try to scare them away, however this fails as they can't been seen although based on their attempts at scaring the Deetz I don't think it would bother me either! This failed attempt leads to us meeting our star Beetlejuice who describes himself as a 'bio-exorcist' and tries to convince the Maitlands to take him up on his service to help rid the house of the unwanted guests. I learnt today that Michael Keaton ad-lib 90% of his lines for the film which as a theatre actress makes me nervous but also highlight's Keaton's impressive skills as an actor.

A trip to the Netherworld and we meet the joyful Juno who expressly tells the Maitlands not to work with Beetlejuice and they need need to scare the Deetz away themselves, but it's pretty clear that that's not going to happen. Back in their house Lydia has read the Handbook for the Recently Deceased, and is able to see the recently departed Barbara and Adam, it obvious from their first encounter that Lydia is a little odd and prefers to spend time with them that her uninterested father and crazy step-mother.

And so we arrive and my favourite part of the film and the infamous dinner scene that is accompanied by the classic song Day-O while doing some interesting choreography which a few of the characters seem to enjoy doing too much. From this point on in the film it really starts to show its age, with the large snake with Beetlejuice's head looking a bit tired. The final part of the film includes Lydia sacrificing herself to be Beetlejuice's bride, while Barbara and Adam age is record time, before making a miraculous recovery to stop a weird looking priest marrying Mr and Mrs Beetlejuice to be by riding in on a Sandworm which proceeds to eat the striped baddy. I find the final part of the film a bit chaotic, however Beetlejucie gets his comeuppance in the waiting room at the end of the film by getting his head shrunk by some weird looking voodoo man, and the Maitlands and Deetz live together in the house in harmony ..... I think!

We watched Beetlejuice on DVD, but it is also available to watch on Netflix.


bottom of page