STUDIO: Warner Brothers
MSRP: $19.98
RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes
Three episodes of the Beetlejuice cartoon

Music-Only track


The Pitch

A young New England couple hires a bio-exorcist.

The Humans

Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton, Catherine O’ Hara, Robert Goulet, Dick Cavett, Glenn Shadix and Jeffrey Jones

The Nutshell

Adam and Barbara Maitland are taking a working vacation. They’re going to spend time renovating their house and getting cozy in their rural New England dream setting. The problem is that a wrong turn on a covered bridge has lead them into the icy embrace of death. Bound to their home for all eternity, the Maitlands have deal with their home’s new tenants. This leads the young couple to call on some otherworldly help. They need the assistance of bio-exorcist Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton).

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The Lowdown

Being dead is such a bore. After the Maitlands passed onto the next world, they’ve had a hard time figuring out how to spend their eternity. Things aren’t made much better by the arrival of the Dietzs into their home. Country Kitchen goes out the window and in arrives Art Deco Nightmares. Only the Dietz’ daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) can see the Maitlands and she wants to connect with them. Too bad, the Maitlands are fed up and are turning to Beetlejuice.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present character actors. It’s ok if you can’t name them. Most of America can’t.

Michael Keaton’s performance as Beetlejuice is a study of manic energy in a deviant mainstream package. Forget all the shit that arrived after this film entered into pop culture. Take a look at the ghost with the most in this film. He’s a foulmouth ghoul that is dedicated to having fun at murdering and maiming the living. There’s very little controls on him in the Underworld and nothing to hold him back among the living. Yet, Burton somehow managed to spin a family-friendly dark comedy out of a tale about a demon feasting upon the fear of the living.

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Tim Burton made his bones by discovering his inner fire on this film. He found a happy mix of stop-motion animation throwbacks and tied them to his unusual film structures. Everyone getting equal time thus creating the lack of a centralized character. Who is the lead and who is the villain? Everybody plays off each other into a fine mess. But, it’s a workable mess that shows the frantic stylings that Burton used to ace without even lifting the floppy hairs on his little head.

If you don’t know the gist of Beetlejuice by now, you’re never going to get it. For those that want to experience dark fun through a sentimental filter, then this film will work for you. Tim Burton works best in these honest pictures that show his quirks while delivering a simple story. When the director started pushing into heady adaptations of material bigger than himself, he started to slip into a Gothy mess. Pick this up and remember the man that was.

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The Package

Beetlejuice comes
DVD with a bizarre offering. The A/V Quality is a lot better than I expected. There’s quite a bit of clean-up between the original 1997 DVD release and this edition. I just wish that Warner Brothers would’ve day and date released the Blu-Ray version alongside this edition. The sole special features are three cartoons from the late 80s animated spin-off. There’s also the ported over music track featuring Danny Elfman’s original score.

You mean to tell me that they couldn’t find any supplements for this film over the past eleven years? It’s not like Warner Brothers doesn’t have one of the largest entertainment archives on the fucking planet. The shocking dismay that the studio shows to their catalogue titles is putting me at a loss. First, they futz around with the audio on the Speed Racer Blu-Ray and now this. Well, it only helped to lower my final score.

You can put it anywhere. ANYWHERE!

7.1 out of 10