The Maitlands are taking a well deserved vacation at home in Winter River, Connecticut but their real estate relative wants them to sell and is giving them nothing but grief because they don’t have a family yet. That is where we start the film and with a big fat creepy spider crawling on top of the model of their house that is in the attic. This is one of those films that people are either going to love or they are going to hate just because it is a Tim Burton film. Like all of his films it is filled with strangeness and creepy sounds and visuals that are intended to actually draw you more into the film in a way that you would not think possible. Once you see this film it is going to stick in your head forever and ever and ever and if your not careful it just might stick in your head forever more after that.
Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis) live in a big 2 story house with a full basement and attic that Jane Butterfield (Annie McEnroe) wants to sell. They are trying to take some time off from running their hardware store in town and maybe be able to work on making a little Maitland of their own as well as wallpaper the house and work on Adam’s model of the town that he keeps in the Attic. The 2 are quite happy together and seem almost like they are just married even though you know they are not. They just love to flirt with each other and it keeps them together that way. So when Adam needs a new brush he and her go together to the store to get one. It is on the way back that everything goes wrong as Barbara tries to miss hitting a dog and instead runs through the side of a covered bridge and into the chilly waters below, killing them both.
Charles Deetz (Jeffrey Jones) is a stressed out business man from New York and needs to get away from it all and the house the Maitland’s owned is just perfect. It is in a quiet town in a quiet part of the state where he can relax and recover from his recent meltdown. He is looking forward to this but his neurotic and self absorbed art hack of a wife Delia Deetz (Catherine O’Hara) feels that this is going to stifle her creative growth. The fact that Delia hates the house makes Lydia Deetz (Winona Ryder) like the house even more. She is one of the first to be able to actually see the Maitland’s as ghosts while everyone else can’t see them at all. The only other person that actually gets a glimpse of them before they are able to fully show themselves is that of Otho (Glenn Shadix), a rather strange man that is as self absorbed as Delia and has a gift of making people pay him to turn their homes into really odd places.
Adam and Barb are beside themselves, they can’t leave the house, they can’t clean the house properly and Adam is obsessing that they can’t see the cemetery to see where their graves are. The book that they found waiting for them after the car crash is no help at all to them and it seems like their world is just going to be a series of not being able to do anything. It is their darkest hour and even Juno (Sylvia Sidney) their afterlife caseworker is unable to help them. Seeing an opportunity Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) tricks them into calling him forth to deal with the Deetz family but the Maitlands quickly send him back for fear of what he might actually do. That is when Lydia finally meets up with Adam and Barb and a friendship starts to form.
Lydia Deetz feels alone, she can’t talk to her father due to his stress, though he does try and her step mother and her insane art and decorating habits have left a young goth wanting to end it all. While the Maitlands are away with their case worker she meets Beetlejuice and calls him forth to try and get him out and her in. She wants to spend eternity with the only people that she knows likes her and wants to be with her. Beetlejuice agrees to help her but she will have to help him. She agrees and starts to summon him but is stopped by Barb and Adam. They decide to try things differently but wind up having to deal with the horny and naughty ghost again instead.
This is a perfect film for Halloween and really any time of the year if you want to have a great laugh and see some of the wild effects that Tim Burton is able to do without the use of a computer to make all of the effects for him. All the effects were either done life or with stop motion animation especially with the Sandworms of Saturn that seems to be outside each ghost’s haunting realm. You will go through the whole range of emotions with this film and will get to see just how spectacular films could be and how they were done back in the day.
I give this film a Musing review of