Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Michael McDowell
Staring: Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones, Robert Goulet, and Glenn Shadix
Ah. Well… I attended Juilliard… 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. I’ve seen the EXORCIST ABOUT A HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN 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? -Beetlejuice
Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!
As an avid fan of Tim Burtons dark humor, I am a clear supporter of the majority of his films, but for me Beetlejuice was his best attempt at dark comedy. Beetlejuice is funny but it maintains it’s horror and fear factor as well. Random dialogue with an insane plot would make this flick seem crazy, and yet Burton’s final piece is an iconic classic, largely due to Beetlejuice himself. He’s the ghost with the most! Beetlejuice shells out his share of evil and funny unlike any other character before him. Somewhere it the middle of perverse humor and scary behavior Michael Keaton strikes a wicked balance between comedy and horror with this dark comic villain.
The cast is amazing but Michael Keaton is the real reason this film thrives, even though the title role is relatively smaller than some of the rest of the characters. His demonically twisted yet hilarious persona is one of the greatest tributes to his talents as a diverse actor. The terror Beetlejuice incites is genuinely coupled by a gut-busting joke. The manic behavior and crazy dialogue really shouldn’t work, but it does. Michael Keaton makes this character larger than life.
The set design is jaw dropping stunning. No doubt Tim Burton is a visionary artist, and his concept and creation of the setting for Beetlejuice does not stray from his general sense of Noir. There is a cartoon imprint existent but as dark as some of the story takes you, the film feels almost brighter, giving it appeal to a broader audience, whether they have a taste for the twisted funny or not. The set is complemented by an incredible score that emulates a darkness, an eerie sense of existence, but also a reality that’s mood shifts between funny and wicked.
Once again Tim Burton manages to tap into the isolated feeling of being an outcast, while also poking fun and the afterlife and suburbia. His unique ability to balance humor, darkness, and genuine emotion and visualize it is unmatched. Beetlejuice will have you horrified, hysterical, and maybe even slightly repulsed, but always remains intriguing and entertaining. This smart film is one of my favorite pieces of Burton’s work and is truly iconic.