Nerds Gets Spooky: Take Care of the Pesky Living with ‘Beetlejuice’
For the month of October, Nerds and Beyond is recommending some of our favorite Halloween movies. Each day, we will be bringing a movie we love in hopes of getting everyone in the spooky spirit.
Why is Beetlejuice one of the best Halloween movies? Well, to begin with, you can never go wrong with Michael Keaton. Whether he is a stay-at-home dad, a caped crusader, or a villainous vulture, Keaton always shines in his role. His role as Beetlejuice, a vulgar, comedic bio-exorcist, is no different.
I love this movie for so many reasons. For one thing, we follow a young couple (played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) who recently died in a crash and drowned. Upon dying, Adam and Barbara receive a book titled Handbook for the Recently Deceased. They are completely incapable of haunting the living and being scary. It is totally unexpected when you throw ghosts into the mix. Ghosts who, well, do not know how to ghost.
The thing is, a new family moves in and starts to change everything, much to the deceased couple’s chagrin. Lucky for them, they find a letter pointing them in the direction of “Betelgeuse” who will help them with the troublesome living. That is, if luck equals huge mistake. The saving grace is Winona Ryder who plays a gothic teenage girl named Lydia. She is the only one who can see the dead.
One of the funniest scenes in the movie, and one of my personal favorites, takes place during a dinner party Catherine O’Hara’s character, Delia, is throwing. The topic of ghosts pop up, and oh how accurate that topic is! A possession takes place, causing Delia to start lip-syncing to “Day-O.” All the guests start dancing to the music, much to their own confusion. Except Lydia, who is amused by the scene. They sway their hips and shake their booties until their meals turn into monster-like hands reaching up towards them, causing them to fall backwards. It is absolutely hilarious, entertaining, and so much fun to watch!
Of course, being entertaining backfires, but the humor continues. You would expect the dinner guests to take off running after that, right? So did Adam and Barbara. Their plan takes a twist when the dinner party wishes to monetize on the ghost couple’s theatrics. That is not your average reaction to a haunting!
Another aspect I love is that Adam and Barbara, along with Lydia, her father, and Delia become this pseudo-family. The house returns to normal, and Adam and Barbara have free range in the house. They are no longer confined to the attic. They also help Lydia study, and if she does well on her tests she gets to have a ghostly song and dance. Even Delia is inspired, making sculptures based on the hauntings!
If you want something a little kooky and on the sillier side of creepy, this is the Halloween movie for you! I would not recommend this as a family movie this season, as Beetlejuice is definitely not kid-friendly. If we get specific, he is not people-friendly, living or dead. However, the movie is humorous, has amazing musical numbers, comical hauntings, and has an imaginative take on death. So, sit back, relax, and as Beetlejuice would say, “It’s showtime!”