Beetlejuice: Wikis


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Theatrical theatrical poster
Directed by Tim Burton
Produced by David Geffen
Larry Wilson
Michael Bender
Richard Hashimoto
Written by Story:
Michael McDowell
Larry Wilson
Michael McDowell
Warren Skaaren
Starring Michael Keaton
Alec Baldwin
Geena Davis
Winona Ryder
Catherine O'Hara
Jeffrey Jones
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Thomas E. Ackerman
Editing by Jane Kurson
Studio The Geffen Company
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) March 30, 1988
Running time 92 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget US$13 million
Gross revenue $73,707,461

Beetlejuice is a 1988 American comedy horror fantasy film directed by Tim Burton, produced by The Geffen Film Company and distributed by Warner Bros. The plot revolves around a recently dead young couple who become ghosts haunting their former home, a quaint and quiet house on a hill overlooking the fictional town of Winter Rivers located in Connecticut. When a family of metropolitan yuppies from New York City move into the house, the ghosts seek the help of an obnoxious, devious and mischievous "bio-exorcist" named Betelgeuse from the underworld in order to scare the new living inhabitants away permanently. Beetlejuice stars Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Jeffrey Jones, Sylvia Sidney and Michael Keaton as the titular Betelgeuse (the film's title being a phonetic spelling of the character's name).

After the success of Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Burton was sent several scripts and became disheartened by their lack of imagination and originality. When he was sent Michael McDowell's original script for Beetlejuice, Burton agreed to direct, although Larry Wilson and Warren Skaaren were hired to rewrite it. Beetlejuice was both a financial and critical success, grossing $73.33 million from a budget of $13 million. The film spawned an animated television series that Burton produced, and the unproduced Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian sequel.



Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam (Alec Baldwin) Maitland decide to spend their vacation decorating their idyllic New England country home. While driving back from town, Barbara swerves to avoid a dog wandering the roadway, and crashes through a covered bridge, plunging into the river below. They return home but realize they cannot exactly recall how they got there. When Adam attempts to leave the house to retrace his steps, he finds himself in a strange otherworldly dimension covered in sand (later referred to as Saturn) and populated by enormous sand worms. Realizing that they have no reflection in a mirror and are unable to leave their house, the Maitlands suspect they might not have survived the crash. A book entitled Handbook for the Recently Deceased confirms the couple's suspicion that they are, in fact, dead.

Compounding their distress, the Maitlands' house is sold and the obnoxious new owners, the Deetzes, arrive from New York City. The Deetzes consists of Charles (Jeffrey Jones), aspiring sculptor and Charles' second wife Delia (Catherine O'Hara), and Charles's goth daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder). Under the guidance of interior designer Otho (Glenn Shadix), the Deetzes transform the house into a gaudy piece of modern art. Although the Maitlands remain invisible to Charles and Delia, Lydia can plainly see Barbara and Adam, and she befriends them.

Desperate to rid their house of the Deetzes, the Maitlands seek help from their afterlife case worker, Juno (Sylvia Sidney), who informs them that they must remain in the house for 125 years, and that if they want the Deetzes out of the house in the meantime, it is up to them to scare them away. The Maitlands' attempts at scaring the Deetzes away, however, prove ineffective. Against Juno's advice, they contact the miscreant Betelgeuse (pronounced "Beetlejuice") (Michael Keaton), a freelance "bio-exorcist" ghost who prides himself on his ability to exorcise the living. They chant his name three times and teleport to his grave, but upon meeting him they realize they've made a mistake and leave, forgetting to un-summon him and allowing him to run amok. When another attempt by the Maitlands to scare the Deetzes away (by making them dance and sing The Banana Boat Song by Harry Belafonte) fails, Betelgeuse turns into a huge snake to scare them himself, nearly killing Charles and Delia in the process. Barbara returns in time to save Lydia, who flees in tears. Otho, meanwhile, steals the Handbook for the Recently Deceased while snooping in the attic.

Juno summons the Maitlands back to her office; angry with their negligent behavior, she demands they get rid of the Deetzes and re-secure the Handbook immediately. Meanwhile, Lydia meets Betelgeuse, who has told her how to summon him and promises to take her to the Maitlands on the "other side." The Maitlands return in time to stop Lydia from summoning Betelgeuse, and they reaffirm their friendship with one another.

Otho, meanwhile, convinces Charles and Delia to hold a seance and summon the Maitlands' spirits, in order to persuade business tycoon Maxie Dean and his wife to invest money in a "museum of the paranormal" in Winter River. Using the Handbook, Otho successfully summons Barbara and Adam, but botches the process and causes the Maitlands to begin to decompose into nothingness. Desperate, Lydia summons Betelgeuse to help the Maitlands, agreeing to marry him if he does. Once released, Betelgeuse quickly disposes of the Deans, scares Otho away, and releases the Maitlands from the botched spell. He then conjures up a ghostly priest to wed him and Lydia; Delia's sculptures come to life and hold Delia and Charles hostage as witnesses. The Maitlands try stop the ceremony before it can be completed, but Betelgeuse sends Adam to the miniature model and Barbara to Saturn. When the priest is about to make the marriage pronouncement, Adam runs into Betelgeuse's foot with a miniature car and Barbara appears riding one of the Saturn sandworms, which swallows Betelgeuse whole. After Betelgeuse has been defeated, the Maitlands appear to Lydia's parents, who now can see them.

Some time later it is revealed that the Deetzes and the Maitlands decided to live together in harmony and share the home; Lydia, now a well-adjusted teenager, is treated like a daughter by the Maitlands. At the film's conclusion, Betelgeuse is seen waiting in the afterlife reception waiting room, where he unwittingly angers a witch doctor, who shrinks his head.


  • Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis as Adam and Barbara Maitland: A young, married couple who are killed in a car accident and become ghosts. Adam is a Hardware Store proprietor and highly-skilled miniature model maker, while Barbara enjoys fixing items around their home.
  • Winona Ryder as Lydia Deetz: Daughter of Charles Deetz (Delia is actually her stepmother), a goth adolescent. She is the only one of the family who can see the Maitlands and quickly befriends them — notably, she wishes she were a ghost like them.
  • Catherine O'Hara as Delia Deetz: Wife of Charles and stepmother to Lydia, as well as an aspiring (but pretentious) sculptor.
  • Jeffrey Jones as Charles Deetz: A previously cutthroat and successful contractor whose nerves went and now "only wants to relax and cut out coupons." Charles moves his family to the countryside to recover.
  • Michael Keaton as Betelgeuse: The title character and an obnoxious, perverted and chaotic "bio-exorcist" who carries a grotesque physical appearance. He is also Juno's former assistant. The character is a mystery; his age and even how he came to die remain unknown, but he refers to having lived through the Black Death.
  • Glenn Shadix as Otho: A friend of Delia. Otho is an interior designer and former paranormal expert.
  • Sylvia Sidney as Juno: The Maitlands' social worker in the afterlife. She recommends that the Maitlands do not accept the help of Betelgeuse.


The financial success of Pee-wee's Big Adventure meant that Tim Burton was now considered a "bankable" director, and Burton began working on a script for Batman with Sam Hamm. While Warner Bros. was willing to pay for the script's development, they were less willing to greenlight Batman.[1] Meanwhile, Burton had begun reading the offered scripts that had been sent his way, and was becoming disheartened by their lack of imagination and originality, one of them being Hot to Trot. David Geffen handed Burton the script for Beetlejuice, written by Michael McDowell (who wrote the script of The Jar, an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents directed by Burton).[1]

Larry Wilson was brought on board to continue rewrite work with McDowell, though Burton replaced McDowell and Wilson with Warren Skaaren due to creative differences. Burton's original choice for Betelgeuse was Sammy Davis, Jr., but Geffen suggested Michael Keaton. Burton was unfamiliar with Keaton's work but was quickly convinced.[2] Burton cast Winona Ryder upon seeing her in Lucas. Catherine O'Hara quickly signed on while Burton claimed it took a lot of time to convince other cast members to sign as "they didn't know what to think of the weird script."[3]

Beetlejuice's budget was $13 million, with just one million given over to visual effects work. Considering the scale and scope of the effects, which included stop-motion, replacement animation, prosthetic makeup, puppetry and blue screen, it was always Burton's intentions to make the style similar to the B-movies Burton grew up with as a child. "I wanted to make them look cheap and purposely fake-looking," Burton remarked.[4] Burton had wanted to hire Anton Furst as production designer after being impressed with his work on The Company of Wolves and Full Metal Jacket, though Furst was committed on High Spirits (a choice he later regretted).[5] He hired Bo Welch, his future collaborator on Edward Scissorhands and Batman Returns. The test screenings were met with positive feedback and prompted Burton to film an epilogue featuring Betelgeuse foolishly angering a witch doctor.[6] Warner Bros. disliked the title Beetlejuice and wanted to call the film House Ghosts. As a joke, Burton suggested the name Scared Sheetless and was horrified when the studio actually considered using it.[7]

Story development

Michael McDowell's original script is far less comedic and much more violent; the Maitlands' car crash is depicted graphically, with Barbara's arm being crushed and the audience hearing their screams for help as they slowly drown in the river. A reference to this remained in all versions of the script, as Barbara remarks that her arm feels cold upon returning home as a ghost. Instead of possessing the Deetzes and forcing them to dance during dinner, the Maitlands cause a vine-patterned carpet to come to life and attack the Deetzes by tangling them to their chairs. The character of Betelgeuse — envisioned by McDowell as a winged demon who takes on the form of a short Middle Eastern man—is also intent on killing the Deetzes rather than scaring them, and wants to rape Lydia instead of marry her. This version of Betelgeuse only needs to be exhumed from his grave to be summoned, after which he is free to wreak havoc; he cannot be summoned or controlled by saying his name three times, and wanders the world freely, appearing to torment different characters in different manifestations, such as a punk rocker (to try and seduce Lydia) and an IRS Agent (to subject Charles to a fake audit). McDowell's script also featured a second Deetz child, nine-year-old Cathy, the only person to see the Maitlands and the subject of Betelgeuse's homicidal wrath in the film's climax, during which he mutilates her while in the form of a rabid squirrel before revealing his true form. The film was to have concluded with the Maitlands, Deetzes, and Otho conducting an exorcism ritual that destroys Betelgeuse, and the Maitlands transforming into miniature versions of themselves and moving into Adam's model of their home, which they refurbish to look like their house before the Deetzes moved in.[8]

Warren Skaaren's rewrite drastically shifted the film's tone, indicating the graphic nature of the Maitlands' deaths while depicting the afterlife as a complex bureaucracy. Skaaren's rewrite also altered McDowell's depiction of the limbo that keeps Barbara and Adam trapped inside of their home; in McDowell's script, it takes the form of a massive, empty void filled with giant clock gears that shred the fabric of time and space as they move. Skaaren had Barbara and Adam encounter different limbos every time they leave their home, including the "clock world", and the Sandworm's world, identified as Saturn's moon Titan. Skaaren also introduced the leitmotif of music accompanying Barbara and Adam's ghostly hijinks, although his script specified Motown tunes instead of Harry Belafonte, and was to have concluded with Lydia dancing to "When a Man Loves a Woman". Skaaren's first draft retained some of the more sinister characteristics of McDowell's Betelgeuse, but toned down the character to make him a troublesome pervert rather than blatantly murderous. Betelgeuse's true form was that of the Middle Eastern man, and much of his dialogue was written in AAVE. This version concluded with the Deetzes returning to New York and leaving Lydia in the care of the Maitlands, who with Lydia's help transform the exterior of their home into a stereotypical haunted house while returning the interior to its previous state.[9]


Beetlejuice opened theatrically in the United States on April 1, 1988, earning $8,030,897 in its opening weekend. The film eventually grossed $73,707,461 in North America. Beetlejuice was a financial success recouping its $13 million budget five times,[10] and was the tenth-highest grossing film of 1988.[11] Based on 42 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, Beetlejuice received an average 81% overall approval rating.[12] By comparison, Metacritic received an average score of 67 from the 13 reviews collected.[13]

Pauline Kael referred to the film as a "comedy classic",[7] while Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader gave a highly positive review. Rosenbaum felt Beetlejuice carried originality and creativity that did not exist in other films.[14] Roger Ebert called it anti-climactic, explaining "the story, which seemed so original, turns into a sitcom fueled by lots of special effects and weird sets and props, and the inspiration is gone."[15] Vincent Canby of The New York Times called it "a farce for our time" and wished Keaton could have received more screen time.[16] MaryAnn Johanson was impressed with the casting, production design and jokes.[17] Desson Howe of the Washington Post felt Beetlejuice had "the perfect balance of bizarreness, comedy and horror".[18]

Awards and honors

At the 61st Academy Awards, Beetlejuice won the Academy Award for Makeup,[19] while The British Academy of Film and Television Arts nominated the film with Best Visual Effects and Makeup at the 43rd British Academy Film Awards.[20] Beetlejuice won Best Horror Film and Best Make-up at The Saturn Awards. The film received more nominations with Direction, Writing, Music and Special Effects.[21] Beetlejuice was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.[22] Beetlejuice was eighty-eight in the American Film Institute's list of Best Comedies.[23]

American Film Institute recognition


Film score by Danny Elfman and Harry Belafonte
Released 1988
Length 36:18
Label Geffen
Professional reviews
Danny Elfman chronology
Pee-wee's Big Adventure

The Beetlejuice soundtrack, first released in 1988 (LP, CD & cassette tape), features most of the score (written & arranged by Danny Elfman) from the 1988 film Beetlejuice. The soundtrack features two songs which appeared in the film, performed by Harry Belafonte; "Day-O" and "Jump In The Line (Shake, Shake Senora)". Two other Harry Belafonte songs that appeared in the film are absent from the soundtrack; "Man Smart, Woman Smarter" and "Sweetheart From Venezuela".

Track listing

All songs written and arranged by Danny Elfman, with the exception of tracks 12 & 20 - performed by Harry Belafonte

  1. "Main Titles"
  2. "Travel Music"
  3. "The Book / Obituaries"
  4. "Enter ... 'The Family' / Sand Worm Planet"
  5. "The Fly"
  6. "Lydia Discovers?"
  7. "In The Model"
  8. "Juno's Theme"
  9. "Beetle-Snake"
  10. "Sold"
  11. "The Flier / Lydia's Pep Talk"
  12. "Day-O" (performed by Harry Belafonte)
  13. "The Incantation"
  14. "Lydia Strikes A Bargain..."
  15. "Showtime!"
  16. "Laughs"
  17. "The Wedding"
  18. "The Aftermath"
  19. "End Credits"
  20. "Jump In The Line (Shake, Senora)" (performed by Harry Belafonte)


The success of the film brought an animated television series of the same name on ABC. The show lasted on from September 9, 1989 to December 6, 1991, and Tim Burton served as executive producer.[24]

Burton hired Jonathan Gems to write a sequel titled Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian in 1990.[25] "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.[26] 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. Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder agreed to do the film, on the condition that Burton directed, but he became distracted with Batman Returns.[26]

Burton was still interested with 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.[27] By August 1993, producer David Geffen had Pamella Norris (Troop Beverly Hills, Saturday Night Live) to rewrite.[28] Warner Bros. approached Kevin Smith in 1996 to rewrite the script, though Smith turned down the offer in favor of Superman Lives. Smith responded with, "Didn't we say all we needed to say in the first Beetlejuice? Must we go tropical?"[29] In March 1997, Gems stated that the "Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian script is still owned by The Geffen Film Company and it will never likely get made."[26]

See also


  1. ^ a b Mark Salisbury; Tim Burton (2006). Burton on Burton. Faber and Faber. p. 54. ISBN 0-571-22926-3. 
  2. ^ Salisbury, Burton, p. 55–7.
  3. ^ Salisbury, Burton, p. 58–60.
  4. ^ Salisbury, Burton, p. 61–5.
  5. ^ Hughes, David (2003). Comic Book Movies. Virgin Books. p. 38. ISBN 0753507676. 
  6. ^ Salisbury, Burton, p. 64–6.
  7. ^ a b Salisbury, Burton, p. 68–9.
  8. ^ McDowell, Michael. "Beetlejuice: Second Draft." Retrieved from Simply Scripts.
  9. ^ Skaaren, Warren. "Beetlejuice: Production Draft". Retrieved from Simply Scripts
  10. ^ "Beetlejuice". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  11. ^ "1988 Yearly Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  12. ^ "Beetlejuice". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-12-29. 
  13. ^ "Beetlejuice (1988): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  14. ^ Jonathan Rosenbaum (1988-04-01). "Beetlejuice". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  15. ^ "Beetle Juice". Roger Ebert. 1988-03-30. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  16. ^ Vincent Canby (1988-05-08). "Beetle Juice is Pap For The Eyes". The New York Times. 
  17. ^ MaryAnn Johanson (2003-10-31). "Evil Dead II, Army of Darkness, Young Frankenstein, Little Shop of Horrors, and Beetle Juice (review)". Flick Filosopher. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  18. ^ Desson Howe (1988-04-01). "Beetle Juice". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  19. ^ "Academy Awards: 1989". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  20. ^ "BAFTA Awards: 1989". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  21. ^ "Saturn Awards: 1989". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  22. ^ "Hugo Awards: 1989". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  23. ^ "AFI's 100 YEARS...100 LAUGHS". American Film Institute. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  24. ^ Salisbury, Burton, p. 100.
  25. ^ Salisbury, Burton, p. 145.
  26. ^ a b c Anthony Ferrante (March 1997). "Hidden Gems", Fangoria, pp. 53—56. Retrieved on 2008-09-22.
  27. ^ Judy Sloane (August 1995). "Daniel Waters on Writing", Film Review, pp. 67—69. Retrieved on 2008-08-14.
  28. ^ John Brodie (1993-08-26). "Twentieth, Norris-Clay ink pact". Variety. Retrieved 2008-05-26. 
  29. ^ (DVD) An Evening With Kevin Smith. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 2002. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Beetlejuice is a 1988 comedy film about two recently-deceased ghosts who enlist the help of a "bio-exorcist," Betelgeuse, to help remove a new family from their old house.

Directed by Tim Burton. Written by Michael McDowell, Warren Skaaren and Larry Wilson.
In This House... If You've Seen One Ghost... You Haven't Seen Them All. taglines



  • Let's turn on the juice and see what shakes loose.
  • Hey, these aren't my rules! Come to think of it, I don't have any rules!


  • [About her stepmother, Delia] She's sleeping with Prince Valium tonight.


  • I will live with you in this hellhole, but I must express myself. If you don't let me gut out this house and make it my own, I will go insane and I will take you with me!


  • Don't mind her. She's still upset that someone dropped a house on her sister.


Delia: I can't believe we're eating Cantonese. Is there no Szechuan up here?
Lydia: I plan to have a stroke from the amount of MSG that's in this food.
Delia: This is our first meal in this house, so why don't we all do our little private parts to make it a pleasant one.
Charles: Don't bait your mother, Pumpkin. As soon as we get settled, we'll build you a darkroom in the basement.
Lydia: My whole life is a darkroom. One... big... dark... room.
Delia: So you were miserable in the city, and now you're going to be miserable out here in the sticks. At least someone's life hasn't been upheaved.

Adam: What are your qualifications?
Betelgeuse: [refined voice] Ah, well... I attended Julliard... I'm a graduate of the Harvard Business School. I travel quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that. [getting progressively more demented] I've seen "The Exorcist" about 167 times, and it keeps getting funnier every single time I see it! Not to mention the fact that you're talking to a dead guy! Now what do you think?! You think I'm "qualified"?


  • In This House... If You've Seen One Ghost... You Haven't Seen Them All.


External Links

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:





  1. (informal) The star Betelgeuse


Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!


Developer(s) Rare
Publisher(s) LJN
Release date NES:
1991 (NA)
Genre 2D platformer
Mode(s) Single player
Age rating(s) N/A
Platform(s) Nintendo Entertainment System
Media Cartridge
Input NES Controller
Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough

Beetlejuice is a game released for the NES. It is based on the movie of the same name.


Meet Beetlejuice, the "ghost with the most", the bio-exorcist who is expert in getting rid of any unwanted living people in a house. The Maitlands have just joined the dearly departed, and their house has now become the home of the wildly eccentric Deetzes. It's up to you as Beetlejuice to scare the pants off the Deetzes and send them running out the door.

The game is a side scrolling action game where the lead character can run, jump, and stomp his way through the house while collecting "scare points" to help in his ultimate goal. The house is equipped with all manner of traps including incinerating lasers, and even the torches hurt.

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This article uses material from the "Beetlejuice" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

Beetlejuice can mean:

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