Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis play Barbara and Adam Maitland – a young married couple who die in a car accident and return to their New England dream house as ghosts.
When a new family moves in (the artsy New York Deitz family) they try unsuccessfully to scare them away. Only the Deitzs’ sullen teenage daughter, Lydia, can communicate with the Maitlands, and the three of them become friends.
Barbara and Adam eventually solicit the help of another dead guy named Betelgeuse (a nicely off-kilter performance by the impressively versatile Michael Keaton).
Betelgeuse – pronounced ” beetlejuice” – is a troublemaking demon who specialises in getting rid of unwanted humans.
By saying his name three times, Barbara and Adam launch him into the living world. But they realise too late that Betelgeuse is even more troublesome than the Deitzs, and also very dangerous.
Complications and chaos ensue when Betelgeuse wants to marry Lydia and tries to stay in the world of the living forever.
Beetlejuice combined inventive special effects and Danny Elfman’s unique music into one of the most unusual movies of its time. Among the more memorable moments of the movie was a bizarre song-and-dance sequence, wherein Mr and Mrs Deitz and their guests were possessed and forced to sing Day-O, before their shrimp dinners jumped off their plates and latched onto their faces.
Despite (or, more likely, because of) all the weirdness, Beetlejuice was a commercial success, earning an Oscar for Best Makeup and helping turn Michael Keaton (Betelgeuse himself) into a major star.
Burton created a strange world for the dead that seemed just as vibrant and alive as the world of the living, and from 1989 to 1991, that world lived on as an animated series, also titled Beetlejuice.
In it, Lydia and Betelgeuse inexplicably became friends, taking part in adventures in the worlds of both the living and the dead.
Little Jane Butterfield