Beetlejuice (1988) Halloween Advent

Rating PG
Length 1h32
Release 19/08/1988
Director Tim Burton
About When the deceased couple Adam and Barbara are unsuccessful in scaring away a family that has moved into their old home, they seek the help of bio-exorcist Betelgeuse.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
Trailer:

Trick

  • While having a PG rating, there are some elements that might give little ones too much of a scare. Beetlejuice himself was frightening to me as a child, and I still feel a little off kilter when it comes to the snake scene.

Treat

  • This is Burton at his best. It’s crafted beautifully, perfectly cast and a true timeless classic. From those opening bars of Danny Elfman to the happy-ever-after epilogue, this film doesn’t put a foot wrong.
  • You know you’re in safe hands from the opening scene. The audience learn a lot about Adam and Barb and their life before death in that opening 10 or so minutes. It’s economic, full of foreboding and most viewers will be invested.
  • The Burton Muses before Depp and Carter. Ryder and Keaton are incredible in what is a heavy hitter casting. Ryder is the perfect strange and unusual Lydia, Keaton is barely recognisable as the eco-exorcist.
  • The effects! While Burton was aiming for B-movie obviousness, in a world now overloaded with cheap CGI, this is a welcome palate cleanser. It works with the colour palate and homages to other creature features. There’s also what has now become the Burton trademark Claymation for the world beyond the house for Adam and Barb.
  • There’s always something new to spot. There is so much detail in this film, that you could watch it a hundred times and still have something new to learn. It was only in this recent watch that I noticed Catherine O’Hara’s Delia recycles her husband’s red jumper from an early scene and wears the knitwear as pants.

Final Thoughts

Burton before he overused Depp in roles really not meant for him, his work was not only watchable, but rewatchable. It’s a perfect treat for an October evening and almost gives pre-Christmas Panto vibes.

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