Beetlejuice


1h 32m 1988

Brief Synopsis

The ghosts of a happy couple enlist a "bio-exorcist" to evict the new owners of their former home.

Film Details

Also Known As
Beetle Juice
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Horror
Release Date
1988
Production Company
Tom Durell
Distribution Company
WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WBPD)
Location
Vermont, USA; Culver Studios, Culver City, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 32m

Synopsis

The ghosts of a happy couple enlist a "bio-exorcist" to evict the new owners of their former home.

Crew

Thomas Ackerman

Director Of Photography

Fitzroy Alexander

Song

Richard L Anderson

Sound Editor

Mary Andrews

Adr Editor

William Attaway

Song

Bob Badami

Music Editor

Steve Bartek

Original Music

Harry Belafonte

Song Performer

Raymond Bell

Song

James Belohovek

Matte Painter

Michael Bender

Producer

Louis Benioff

Assistant Editor

Beverly Bernacki

Other

Doug Beswick

Other

Chrissy Bocchino

Choreographer

Lord Burgess

Song

Paul Campanella

Other

Kevin Carlson

Puppeteer

Mike Cassidy

Stunts

Carl Ciarfalio

Stunts

K.c. Colwell

Assistant Director

William Conner

Other

Thomas Conti

Matte Painter

Joe Day

Special Effects

Luba Dmytryk

Production Coordinator

Tom Duffield

Art Director

Tom Durell

Cable Operator

Danny Elfman

Music

Robert Fernandez

Music

Pablo Ferro

Titles

Jerry Fleck

Assistant Director

Nancy Fogarty

Music Editor

Jammie Friday

Animator

Linda Frobos

Puppets Construction

Mary F. Galloway

Location Manager

Chuck Gaspar

Special Effects Supervisor

Pete Gerard

Digital Effects Supervisor

Spencer Gill

Other

Bob Gordon

Song

Sandey Grinn

Puppeteer

Gil Haimsohn

Sound Editor

Warren Hamilton

Sound Editor

Patricia Harrison

Assistant Camera Operator

Richard Hashimoto

Producer

Rick Heinrichs

Consultant

Don Heitzer

Unit Production Manager

Linda Henrikson

Costume Supervisor

Janet Hirshenson

Casting

Elmer Hui

Special Effects

Dream Quest Images

Visual Effects

Shinko Isobe

Stunts

Jane Jenkins

Casting

Maria Kelly

Stunts

Rick Kess

Matte Painter

Gary Kieldrup

Props

Doug Knapp

Camera Operator

Peter Kuran

Visual Effects

Jane Kurson

Editor

Gregg Landaker

Sound

Steve Laporte

Makeup

Tim Lawrence

Other

Michael Laws

Lighting Technician

William D Lee

Special Effects

Rafael Leon

Song

Di Ann Lerner

Stunts

Fred M. Lerner

Stunt Coordinator

Fred M. Lerner

Stunts

James Lerner

Stunts

Catherine Mann

Set Decorator

Jo Martin

Other

Steve Maslow

Sound

Michael Mcdowell

Screenplay

Michael Mcdowell

From Story

James Mcgeachy

Puppeteer

James Mcgeachy

Construction

Dick Mckenzie

Set Designer

Tom Mertz

Special Effects

Ralph B. Meyer

Production Associate

Alan Munro

Visual Effects Supervisor

Mark Myer

Animator

Ve Neill

Makeup

Don Newton

Transportation Coordinator

Beth Nufer

Stunts

Ed Nunnery

Art Department

Kevin O'connell

Sound

Jane O'neal

Photography

Daniel L Ondrejko

Other

Noon Orsatti

Stunts

Chris Thomas Palomino

Stunts

Mark Pappas

Sound Editor

David Parrish

Assistant Camera Operator

Sarah Pasanen

Other

Mark Pearson

Dolly Grip

Mary Peters

Stunts

June Petersen

Assistant Producer

Bill Petrotta

Property Master

Patrick Puccinelli

Stunts

Ted Rae

Other

Ted Rhodes

Key Grip

Aggie Guerard Rodgers

Costume Designer

David Ronne

Sound

Bob Scaife

Construction Coordinator

Anthony Schmidt

Stunts

John B Schuyler

Boom Operator

William P Scott

Assistant Director

Carol Sevilla

Script Supervisor

Robert Short

Visual Effects

Robert Short

Makeup

Bill Silic

Lighting Technician

Warren Skaaren

Screenplay

Betty Jean Slater

Wardrobe

Van Snowden

Puppeteer

Norman Span

Song

Frederick A. Spencer

Puppeteer

Susan Spencer-robbins

Assistant

Jane Ann Stewart

Researcher

David Stone

Sound Editor

Yolanda Toussieng

Hair

Douglas Turner

Special Effects

Chuck Velasco

Costume Supervisor

Ramona Dorene Villarrial

Production Accountant

John Warnke

Set Designer

Fred Waugh

Stunts

Bo Welch

Production Designer

Larry Wilson

Producer

Larry Wilson

From Story

Larry Wilson

Screenplay

Mark Bryan Wilson

Puppeteer

Jeff Wischnak

Special Effects

Jacqueline Zietlow

Other

Film Details

Also Known As
Beetle Juice
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Horror
Release Date
1988
Production Company
Tom Durell
Distribution Company
WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WBPD)
Location
Vermont, USA; Culver Studios, Culver City, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 32m

Award Wins

Best Makeup

1988

Articles

Beetlejuice (1988) - Beetlejuice


In the mid-'80s, Tim Burton became the most sought-after director in Hollywood due to the wholly unanticipated financial returns of Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985). While Burton found himself deluged with offers of studio comedy projects, none of them appealed to the renegade Disney animator's bent for the bizarre. That changed when he was presented the initial screenplay for Beetlejuice (1988), an engagingly demented fantasy-comedy that became one of the biggest successes of its year.

Scenarist Michael McDowell's fanciful story, which owed an obvious debt to Topper (1937), caught Burton's immediate attention. As the director reminisced in his 1994 memoir Burton On Burton, "after Hollywood hammering me with the concept of story structure, where the third act doesn't work, and it's got to end with a little comedy, or a little romance, the script for Beetlejuice was completely anti all that; it had no real story, it didn't make any sense, it was more like stream of consciousness. That script was probably the most amorphous ever."

The film opens on Barbara and Adam Maitland (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin), an unprepossessing young couple content to cocoon in their imposing Connecticut farmhouse. The Maitlands' idyll does not take up a great deal of screen time, however, as a freak traffic mishap flips their pickup truck into a creek. As they return to their homestead, it slowly dawns on Adam and Barbara that they did not survive the accident, and that they're now condemned to haunt their dwelling.

You wouldn't think matters could get worse, but they do. Their desirable property is bought by a stress-addled developer, Charles Deetz (Jeffrey Jones), whose shrewish artiste-wannabe wife, Delia (Catherine O'Hara), loathes it on sight. With her unctuous interior designer (Glenn Shadix) in tow, she proceeds to trash the Maitlands' decor. The newlydeads' gut response is to try and scare these repulsive encroachers away, but their rather uninspired rookie haunting efforts only draw the blasΘ attentions of Jones' withdrawn Goth-girl daughter (Winona Ryder), who is somehow able to see and hear the spectral couple.

Turning to a conveniently-placed "Handbook For The Recently Deceased" for aid, the Maitlands are whisked to the afterlife equivalent of a dreary government assistance agency office, where they receive little more than brusque treatment from their crabby caseworker (Sylvia Sidney). (This setting offers some of the film's funniest conceits, as both the clerks and the claimants bear mutilations that reflect their demises - a bisected magician's assistant, a shrunken-headed big game hunter, and so forth.)

After going through the proper channels proves fruitless, the Maitlands respond to the ubiquitous advertisements posted by a reprobate ghost answering to Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton), a self-proclaimed "bio-exorcist" who guarantees the expulsion of the dreaded Deetzes. Baldwin and Davis are reluctant to loose this appalling apparition on the household, but circumstances change once Jones starts to believe in their presence, and schemes to turn the entire property into a theme park.

In one of those instances where a movie performer is acknowledged for an entire body of work within that year, the New York Film Critics handed their award to Keaton on the strength of his yuppie-in-denial addict in Clean and Sober (1988) as well as his efforts in Beetlejuice. It was an honor well deserved; while onscreen for less than 20 minutes of Beetlejuice's running time, Keaton's grungy, overbearing, crass, lecherous, huckstering demon remains one of the most ferociously original comic characterizations ever committed to celluloid.

Burton, whose initial preference for the role was Sammy Davis, Jr. (!), had no prior familiarity with Keaton's work, but the two enjoyed an immediate rapport that allowed the character to truly take shape. In Burton On Burton, the director declared that "when you put make-up on people it actually frees them... What it did for Michael was it allowed him to play somebody who wasn't a human being, and the idea of playing someone who isn't human, behind some cheesy make-up, is very liberating. You don't have to worry about being Michael Keaton, you can be this thing. That was very magical to me."

The supporting performances are uniformly fine as well. Ryder delivered a breakout performance, O'Hara is hilariously shrill, and Burton got to satisfy his penchant for oddball casting with small roles for Dick Cavett and Robert Goulet. Danny Elfman delivered one of his best scores with his merrily macabre work here, which was interspersed with a few Harry Belafonte standards at key moments like "Day-O" and "Man Smart, Woman Smarter."

Only $1 million of Beetlejuice's $13 million budget was earmarked for special effects, and Burton targeted the expenditures to the sort of stop-motion animation and stage illusions that fueled the film fantasies of his boyhood. The results, along with Bo Welch's imaginative production design, and the Oscar-winning makeup work of Ve Neill, Steve LaPorte and Robert Short, left Beetlejuice with its distinctive visual stamp. The film ultimately scared up some $73 million in returns over the spring of 1988, solidifying Burton's bankability and setting up his subsequent collaborations with Keaton in Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992).

Producer: Richard Hashimoto
Director: Tim Burton
Screenplay: Richard Hashimoto, Michael McDowell, Warren Skaaren
Art Direction: Thomas A. Duffield
Cinematography: Thomas E. Ackerman
Editing: Jane Kurson
Music: Danny Elfman, Fitzroy Alexander, William Attaway, Raymond Bell, Lord Burgess, Bob Gordon, Rafaeal Leon, Norman Span
Cast: Alec Baldwin (Adam Maitland), Geena Davis (Barbara Maitland), Michael Keaton (Betelgeuse), Jeffrey Jones (Charles Deetz), Catherine O'Hara (Delia Deetz).
C-92m. Letterboxed.

by Jay Steinberg
Beetlejuice (1988) - Beetlejuice

Beetlejuice (1988) - Beetlejuice

In the mid-'80s, Tim Burton became the most sought-after director in Hollywood due to the wholly unanticipated financial returns of Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985). While Burton found himself deluged with offers of studio comedy projects, none of them appealed to the renegade Disney animator's bent for the bizarre. That changed when he was presented the initial screenplay for Beetlejuice (1988), an engagingly demented fantasy-comedy that became one of the biggest successes of its year. Scenarist Michael McDowell's fanciful story, which owed an obvious debt to Topper (1937), caught Burton's immediate attention. As the director reminisced in his 1994 memoir Burton On Burton, "after Hollywood hammering me with the concept of story structure, where the third act doesn't work, and it's got to end with a little comedy, or a little romance, the script for Beetlejuice was completely anti all that; it had no real story, it didn't make any sense, it was more like stream of consciousness. That script was probably the most amorphous ever." The film opens on Barbara and Adam Maitland (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin), an unprepossessing young couple content to cocoon in their imposing Connecticut farmhouse. The Maitlands' idyll does not take up a great deal of screen time, however, as a freak traffic mishap flips their pickup truck into a creek. As they return to their homestead, it slowly dawns on Adam and Barbara that they did not survive the accident, and that they're now condemned to haunt their dwelling. You wouldn't think matters could get worse, but they do. Their desirable property is bought by a stress-addled developer, Charles Deetz (Jeffrey Jones), whose shrewish artiste-wannabe wife, Delia (Catherine O'Hara), loathes it on sight. With her unctuous interior designer (Glenn Shadix) in tow, she proceeds to trash the Maitlands' decor. The newlydeads' gut response is to try and scare these repulsive encroachers away, but their rather uninspired rookie haunting efforts only draw the blasΘ attentions of Jones' withdrawn Goth-girl daughter (Winona Ryder), who is somehow able to see and hear the spectral couple. Turning to a conveniently-placed "Handbook For The Recently Deceased" for aid, the Maitlands are whisked to the afterlife equivalent of a dreary government assistance agency office, where they receive little more than brusque treatment from their crabby caseworker (Sylvia Sidney). (This setting offers some of the film's funniest conceits, as both the clerks and the claimants bear mutilations that reflect their demises - a bisected magician's assistant, a shrunken-headed big game hunter, and so forth.) After going through the proper channels proves fruitless, the Maitlands respond to the ubiquitous advertisements posted by a reprobate ghost answering to Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton), a self-proclaimed "bio-exorcist" who guarantees the expulsion of the dreaded Deetzes. Baldwin and Davis are reluctant to loose this appalling apparition on the household, but circumstances change once Jones starts to believe in their presence, and schemes to turn the entire property into a theme park. In one of those instances where a movie performer is acknowledged for an entire body of work within that year, the New York Film Critics handed their award to Keaton on the strength of his yuppie-in-denial addict in Clean and Sober (1988) as well as his efforts in Beetlejuice. It was an honor well deserved; while onscreen for less than 20 minutes of Beetlejuice's running time, Keaton's grungy, overbearing, crass, lecherous, huckstering demon remains one of the most ferociously original comic characterizations ever committed to celluloid. Burton, whose initial preference for the role was Sammy Davis, Jr. (!), had no prior familiarity with Keaton's work, but the two enjoyed an immediate rapport that allowed the character to truly take shape. In Burton On Burton, the director declared that "when you put make-up on people it actually frees them... What it did for Michael was it allowed him to play somebody who wasn't a human being, and the idea of playing someone who isn't human, behind some cheesy make-up, is very liberating. You don't have to worry about being Michael Keaton, you can be this thing. That was very magical to me." The supporting performances are uniformly fine as well. Ryder delivered a breakout performance, O'Hara is hilariously shrill, and Burton got to satisfy his penchant for oddball casting with small roles for Dick Cavett and Robert Goulet. Danny Elfman delivered one of his best scores with his merrily macabre work here, which was interspersed with a few Harry Belafonte standards at key moments like "Day-O" and "Man Smart, Woman Smarter." Only $1 million of Beetlejuice's $13 million budget was earmarked for special effects, and Burton targeted the expenditures to the sort of stop-motion animation and stage illusions that fueled the film fantasies of his boyhood. The results, along with Bo Welch's imaginative production design, and the Oscar-winning makeup work of Ve Neill, Steve LaPorte and Robert Short, left Beetlejuice with its distinctive visual stamp. The film ultimately scared up some $73 million in returns over the spring of 1988, solidifying Burton's bankability and setting up his subsequent collaborations with Keaton in Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). Producer: Richard Hashimoto Director: Tim Burton Screenplay: Richard Hashimoto, Michael McDowell, Warren Skaaren Art Direction: Thomas A. Duffield Cinematography: Thomas E. Ackerman Editing: Jane Kurson Music: Danny Elfman, Fitzroy Alexander, William Attaway, Raymond Bell, Lord Burgess, Bob Gordon, Rafaeal Leon, Norman Span Cast: Alec Baldwin (Adam Maitland), Geena Davis (Barbara Maitland), Michael Keaton (Betelgeuse), Jeffrey Jones (Charles Deetz), Catherine O'Hara (Delia Deetz). C-92m. Letterboxed. by Jay Steinberg

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video October 19, 1988

Released in United States Spring March 30, 1988

Began shooting March 11, 1987.

Released in United States Spring March 30, 1988

Released in United States on Video October 19, 1988