Beetlejuice, Then and Now

DATELINE:  Still No Sequel

Beetlejuice

After nearly 30 years, we took another look at Beetlejuice. It had been a seminal film of its era, popular and launching careers. We expected to see Tim Burton and Michael Keaton in a series of sequels to the ghostly ghoul.

The film featured a bureaucratic hereafter with endless waiting rooms and hideous looking victims of death. It was a winning formula.

Instead, several times projects were announced and fell through. Keaton worked with Burton again, but never could they come together for another Beetlejuice extravaganza. The latest one was rumored for 2014, but no one put film in the cameras.

As with any 30-year old movie, you may be struck by how timeless it remains. It seems fairly fresh with reviewing, but most unsettling is how youthful the cast appears. They are all so fresh-faced. It was a long time ago.

Gena Davis plays the dead young wife and is delightful, and the man who plays her husband Alec Baldwin may be the one with the biggest career in the past decades, though Keaton has had flashier roles, he has been inconsistent.

Winona Ryder was a slip of a morbid girl in this one, dressed in black, mourning her life, the only one who can see the specters. We thought Glenn Shadix as the rotund villain would have had a greater career, but this was his highlight. When he died in 2010, he wanted the “Day-O” song played at his funeral.

Others in the cast were Robert Goulet, Catherine O’Hara, and Dick Cavett. Two out of three have survived. Goulet is now on the other side. Jeffrey Jones was once everywhere, but has been less visible since an unseemly brush with the law a few years back.

If a remake were to occur, Keaton in his heavy makeup could still play it in timeless fashion—but the others, as ghosts, would hardly be able to play.

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