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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: May 26: Beetlejuice


May 26: Beetlejuice

"A couple of recently deceased ghosts contract the services of a "bio-exorcist" in order to remove the obnoxious new owners of their house."

Beetlejuice is a classic, hands down. It is Tim Burton at his best and a nice reminder of how good he used to be. Yes, used to. I don't care what anyone says but Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory suck. They are loud, creepy, obnoxious messes with way too much color and way too much Depp. Yes, I said it. Burdeppon needs a break. But moving past that, let's talk about Burton's first "relationship" with Michael Keaton (Burk? Keabur? Beaton?). First, Beetlejuice that lead into Batman (f**k yes) and then finishing with Batman Returns, this duo was three for three in the awesome department. And it all started with Beetlejuice, an incredibly creative ride through a colorful underworld with equally creative characters and one hell of a performance from Keaton. 

He's a conman Joker with the hygiene of the Bubonic Plague (hehe, I love that shrunken head dude)

Beetlejuice follows the story of the Maitlands (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) who, after discovering they have died, seek a means of haunting the Deetz family, the new owners of their house, who plan on ruining it with atrocious decorating and remodeling. After several failed attempts at scaring the Deetz's away (including a memorable dinner table scene featuring dancing and calypso), the Maitlands reluctantly hire Beetlejuice (Keaton) for help, who advertises himself as a "bio-exorcist" or, in a sense, an expert ghost. It turns out, however, that he's just a dirty, horny, old ghoul who looks out only for himself and will do whatever it takes to get out of the underworld. The story is incredibly original and its execution is so imaginative and over-the-top (the good kind) that you can't help but love it. It's a dark, dark, comedy and its twister humor mixed with equally twisted special effects and character designs give it a very macabre charm. 

I mean... look how f**ked up (yet cute) that is. 

Chances are, you've already seen Beetlejuice as it was quite the hit when it premiered in 1988 and even spawned a cartoon that lasted nearly 100 episodes. It's one of Burton's best and most creative films. It has incredible special effects that create extremely unique characters, creatures, and ghouls and is really the first sign of Burton's fascination with death and the afterlife (see: everything else he does). The best part of the film is definitely Keaton's performance and one of the biggest faults with the film is that he does not have enough screen time (only 17 minutes). They recently announced a true sequel to the film that will return Keaton to the role and I can only hope that Burton doesn't find a way to squeeze Johnny Depp into it, and really makes it a true sequel, faithful and respectful enough to the original.

The Good:
a clever, original story that can only come from the world's most obscure visionary 
The Better:
creepy, terrifying, and entertaining special effects that have their own "flair"
The Best:
Keaton delivering one of his best performances of his career and how he steals every second he's on the screen

Overall: 8.2/10


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