Countdown to Halloween #14: Beetlejuice

We’re almost in the home stretch, Halloween is just around the corner; what better time to summon everyone’s favorite bio-exterminator, Beetlejuice!

“Though I know I should be wary,
Still I venture someplace scary;
Ghostly hauntings I turn loose …
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!”

Beetlejuice came to “life” in the 1988 Tim Burton movie aptly named Beetlejuiceand was played to perfection by Michael Keaton. I’m sure there are plenty of other actors who could have made Beetlejuice their own, but I’m not sure he’d be the beloved and timeless character he is today.

And how beloved he is. I’ll admit that when I first saw the movie at a sleepover when I was 10 years old, it scared the beejesus out of me. I think it had to do a lot with this guy:

Now I’ll fully admit that I’m one of the biggest wusses on the planet when it comes to being scared by movies and tv but I think we can all agree that snake/face/teeth combo is damn frightening. Right? Well thanks to that snake/face/teeth thing, I vowed to never watch the movie again. Ever. Usually I stick to these vows (I am also terrified of tornadoes and therefore have never watch the movie Twister or the tornado scenes of The Wizard of Oz) but was somehow convinced to watch Beetlejuice again as an adult. Oh how grateful I am to that person because Beetlejuice is such a great character!

If you, gentle reader, have somehow avoided this movie so far, let’s do a quick recap. Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin play a married couple (I’ve seen numerous times where people say they are newly married but given the exchange about the house being too big and not having children, I’m thinking they’ve been married awhile) who thanks to a wandering dog, find themselves “recently deceased”.

A new family moves into their house, a house they have worked very hard on and love and they just want them to leave and let them live their afterlife in peace. They try to scare them off themselves but being nice and wholesome people, they just aren’t very successful. Thankfully they see a commercial for “Betelgeuse” a bio-exterminator and decide to give him a call.

As one can guess, things don’t go as planned, they get a little weird, but in the end everyone has their own version of happily ever after. Including our guest of honor.

Why did I pick Beetlejuice as one of my favorite Halloween characters? Basically because I enjoy his insanity. The man (right?) is just nuts. He has a unkempt wildness about him that I find to be really entertaining and enjoyable to watch. Also, the animated character of Beetlejuice and I share a love of idioms.

When he says things like “I’m flat broke” he turns into a flat disc, when Lydia (who plays his best friend in the animated series, the Maitlands don’t appear at all) gets a job as a babysitter, Beetlejuice decides to do it as well… expect he literally sits on babies. I too love idioms and figures of speech so I feel he and I are kindred spirits in that way.

What the movie and animated characters have in common is their inability to get out of their own way. Their desire to get to the top, get rich quick, or get out of the Neitherworld, is usually trumped by their desire to do nothing or use the least amount of energy and resources possible. These are often my favorite characters to watch, no matter who it is.

What is really interesting about Beetlejuice is how much he has permeated popular culture, even almost 25 years later. You can’t go into a costume shop without seeing the trademark black and white striped suit. Want more of an everyday type of Beetlejuice infusion? You can buy “Beetlejuice leggings“. Even though their description of “Some see in these a powerful statement about the paradox of opposites in conjunction. Others like having stripy legs. I’m happy either way.” doesn’t make much sense, to me at least, there are people buying them.

Forget Beetlejuice leggings, I’m saving my pennies for the Beetlejuice bobblehead! Money well spent.

 If all of this was not enough “ghost with the most” for you, well hang on to your hats because there have been some major rumblings about a Beetlejuice 2. The screenplays is being done by Seth Grahame-Smith and both Winona Ryder and Michael Keaton have been talking about it in recent months. Whether they will reprise their roles of Lydia and Beetlejuice is yet to be officially announced. This is not the first time there’s been talk of a sequel so until for now we’ll just have to sit back and wait, and hope.

There you have it- one of my favorite Halloween characters. Both live action and animated, Beetlejuice still remains a fan favorite all these many years later, and I’m pretty sure, many years to come. After all, he is the “ghost with the most!”

Keep an eye out, another character on the Countdown will be revealed at every night at 12:01 am for the rest of the month. You’ll also be able to find them HERE.

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