Every day is Halloween ? to me, but for the next month+week, I’m in full spooky times. I’ve pulled up my entire horror/weirdo movie list, and I’m going thru them. Some are new to me, some very old.
- Beetlejuice: ? Beetlejuice ? BEETLEJUICE. Geena Davis is so goddamned cute it hurts, but her rustic gingham dress and the boy’s (Adam Baldwin, before becoming fat and evil) khaki & plaid make them look much more old-timey than the ’80s. And drowning in 3m of water is ridiculous. I’m not a particular fan of Jamaican music, must say, and their fixation on it is… squares who don’t smoke weed but wear Bob Marley shirts are weirdos.
I don’t understand the purpose of Jane, the annoying neighbor/realtor, she doesn’t own or sell the house, she doesn’t impart any useful information, just hands over a key. Lydia could’ve found the key on a spidery lintel and this subplot cut.
Delia’s (Catherine O’Hara) “hat” of two gloves twisted together is maybe the worst thing in this; her art’s bad but her fashion is nightmarish. Charles (Jeffrey Jones) is close to a non-entity, he wants peace and quiet, and likes the rustic normcore of the dead couple, but when the plot needs him to scheme he turns feral again. Urgo or Otho or whatever (Glenn Shadix, Associate Bob from Demolition Man) is bizarre, pretentious, but maybe the only one of the invaders with his own plot & agenda, this feels like one weird scenario in a longer story for him.
Lydia, of course, this is the film that made me love Winona Ryder. Creepy little goth girls are my favorite. Overly indulged and rich, rather than the punk version I’m more familiar with. She has no fear of the weird, only annoyance at how tedious and self-indulgent her family are, and here’s a normcore dead couple to imprint on instead. Pretty soon she’ll be wearing black gingham.
Finally on to the freakshow! The underworld desert is very undeveloped in this, just sand, angular shapes, and stop-motion sandworms. I’ve seen a few episodes of the cartoon, which covers this more, but need to find & watch the rest.
The dead bureaucracy waiting room, all the dead workers, there’s just fantastic character designs and makeup, and some great practical gags like the separated woman.
Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton) is a little more lazy evil than the monster he pretends to be. He’ll do evil deeds if he can get something out of it, but he’s probably been doing this a long, long time, millennia, and can’t really put in the effort anymore. “I’ve seen the Exorcist 167 times, and it keeps getting funnier every single time I see it!”
Juno (Sylvia Sidney) does a good Linda Hunt imitation, her advice isn’t very useful as you’d expect from a career bureaucrat. “Never trust the living!”
The trivial access of the living to the Handbook for the Recently Deceased is a bit of a problem; so many ghosts leaving their books around would be pretty obvious.