Moviedrome Redux: ‘Beetlejuice’ (1988)

❉ We revive the spirit of BBC2’s ‘Moviedrome’ – this week: ‘Beetlejuice’!


Directed with insane zest by an in-his-prime Tim Burton, I can’t stress how many times I’ve seen this wild and wacky movie, and I am beyond excited to show this film to my son when he’s at a very impressionable age. This was a MEGA-EVENT for me as a seven year old; the fact that this film got a PG when PG-13 was an option still makes me laugh.

Everyone was on fire in this film; they all delivered note-perfect performances.

Between the coupling of “Nice fuckin’ model!” with the testicle-double-honk to all of the rather gory and sometimes gruesome special effect make-up work to the various sexual innuendos – it just makes me laugh how this one escaped through the system. Everyone was on fire in this film; Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder, Sylvia Sidney, Glenn Shadix, and of course, Michael Keaton, in one of his signature roles, all delivered note-perfect performances.

I love how this movie never feels like its playing by any set of predetermined rules, with Michael McDowell and Warren Skaaren’s witty and subversive screenplay being a perfect match for the idiosyncratic stylings of Burton’s fertile visual imagination.

Danny Elfman’s score is an all-timer and the creepy production design by Bo Welch a tremendous accomplishment, while the playful yet ominous tone gave off a vibe that allowed for endless possibilities. It’s interesting to read how the original script evolved significantly, and how at first it was a much darker and more sinister piece. Produced by The Geffen Company and released by Warner Brothers in late March of 1988, ‘Beetlejuice’ would become a critical success and audience favourite, and over the years, thank the Cinema Godz, any talk of a sequel or reboot has never formalized. I’d love it if we could all keep it that way.

The thrill and creativity of ‘Beetlejuice’ will never be replicated.

❉ Nick Clement’s latest venture, Podcasting Them Softly, is a weekly podcast discussing a film of the week, new and notable Blu-ray releases, new films in theatres, top five performances and collectibles. 

❉ He is also a regular contributor for, a site dedicated to providing the best news and analysis on viral marketing and ARG campaigns for films and other forms of entertainment.

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