Those who know me best are well aware of my fascination with (most) Tim Burton films, including the morbid comedy, Beetlejuice, starring Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder, and Michael Keaton as the titular character. I can't tell you how many times I’ve watched the film since it made its debut, and yet, as it turns a whopping 30 YEARS OLD today, there are still a few things I’ve bypassed.
And so, in an anniversary Deja View, here are the 50 things I never realized were “strange and unusual” in Beetlejuice.
1. Is it me, or does this look like the smallest town ever known to man?
2. Why is “Beetlejuice” spelled that way when later in the film, we see his name as “Betelgeuse?”
3. Danny Elfman is really the master of weird-ass music, because this opening sequence goes extremely well with this movie.
4. Why does Adam think it’s a fun hobby to make a replica of the entire town — who does that, really? And how much time does he have on his hands to recreate their town?
5. What was Adam’s fascination with Caribbean music while he worked? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a white man more into calypso — on film, at least — than Adam.
6. This dog doesn’t look like a regular stray dog. I smell a set up.
7. How didn’t they survive that crash? The car didn’t even sink!
8. And why wasn’t that bridge fortified better than that? You mean to tell me there weren't any guardrails or something?
9. How is it that dead folk get a physical handbook to handle their deadness?
10. Why is Adam out here making a mini model of their funeral? He’s really strange and unusual.
11. I understand Otho was the pillar of “en vogue,” but those red shoes are not the business.
12. Never questioned why the sandworms exist outside of the house, and it still doesn’t make any damn sense.
13. Is that a glove headband on Delia’s head?
14. Why are there people just standing outside of the Deetz/Maitland house?
15. Woof — that poor girl… having to dress like her mother. Yikes…
16. How does one get a job working at the Department of Dead People? And why does it look like the DMV? Is it really that crappy to die?
17. I’m still annoyed people gave them crap for not having the handbook. There wasn’t a welcome wagon when they bit the big one, y’all.
18. Also, why does that run-over man have a chute to slide through? Is that common at the DoDP? Can only run-over people access those jobs? And what do they get paid? How come they didn’t get swallowed by sandworms, or did they and that’s where they ended up? So many questions.
19. Why is there something in the handbook about exorcising ghosts? Why would a ghost want to exorcise another ghost?
20. I still don’t get why Juno told Barbara and Adam about Betelgeuse to begin with if she knew he was trouble. Should’ve kept her mouth — and her throat — shut.
21. Why is Betelgeuse eating flies if he’s dead? I didn’t see Barbs and Adam eating anything.
22. How strange and unusual is Lydia if her dad thought Adam in sheets was his daughter? And what kind of kinkery were Delia and Charles getting into for Lydia to think the hanging out in sheets was a part of their repertoire?
23. How did they go from calling him "BetelGUISE" to "BeetleJUICE?"
24. Am I the only person who wants to know what the hell they saw when he did this?
25. Why does Beetlejuice even have that "call his name three times" caveat to wake him up? And why didn’t Barbara do just that instead of saying, “home, home, home?”
26. Homegirl saying she “loved what they did with the place” is lying out her teeth. That place is all kinds of sad, lonely granite slabs on lost hope and NYC faux fashion.
27. The only thing strange and unusual about this scene is Delia’s shocking rhythm while dancing during her possession.
28. Okay, and it was also strange how cool they were with having their dinner grab them by the face. Let some cocktail shrimp palm my face and throw me off my chair. My behind would be driving through all the tolls to get back to my beloved Bronx expressway.
29. Another strange thing, homegirl saying, “I didn’t even know I could do the calypso!” Sweetheart, you still can’t. You didn’t do the calypso. Not even close.
30. “If you insist on scaring people, do it with your sculpture.” Man, the shaaaaaaade.
31. Still bugs me how bold Delia was to yell at DEAD FOLK who POSSESSED HER BODY. Who does that?! Oh yeah, Delia Deetz.
32. I kinda don’t understand why Betelgeuse didn’t go away properly when Barbara called him by name when he attacked after dinner. Shouldn’t that have done the trick? I guess not.
33. Also, who did that whole stone-wall wallpaper/paint in the house. I actually like that. Would be interesting to see my room in that look. Where’s my Home Depot catalog?
34. What does a dead man need with horny horned hoes? Much like food, if you’re dead, you shouldn’t need it anymore, right?
35. Why is Juno mad at them? She did a crappy-ass job of guiding them into the life. But as an overworked caseworker, I guess that’s to be expected.
36. You know, only rich bored white people would be OK with inviting other rich bored white people to a house they KNOW is haunted by people who don’t want them there. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Look how comfy they are sitting on their decks, drinking iced tea, with shades on while dead folk lingering inside.
37. Lydia’s letter of suicide by jumping off a bridge into water is like a precursor to Dracula’s Elisabeta doing the same thing. Bet Winona didn’t realize that but I did.
38. Why is it no one was able to see Barbara and Adam before, but then they make those ugly faces on Juno’s request to scare people? Won’t they still be invisible?
39. “I wanna be dead too,” said Lydia. Okay, kid. Sure. Beetlejuice just tried to kill your dad, but you want to be dead. Makes TOTAL sense.
40. Why are Maxie Deen and his wife so pressed to see ghosts?! These are the strangest bored white folks ever.
41. Not sure how Otho knew the passage he was reading would exorcise the ghosts, and I'm still unsure as to why that stuff would be in a book for the recently deceased. Again, why would they need to call on the spirits of other dead folk?!
42. Uh, why does BJ have to marry a living person to “get out?" What exactly is he getting out from? He’s already in the world of the living. I think he just wanted some alive sexy sexy time.
43. Again, only bored rich white people would see an undead creature swinging two hammers their way and think that shit is “fun.” Nope, not I.
44. Everyone took WAY too long to say B-man’s name. Lydia took too long, Barbs and Adam took too long. Also, couldn’t they have just whispered it?
45. I think I’m the only person impressed by all the tricks Betelgeuse was pulling. He made Adam tiny, Barbs disappeared, and I was here for it all.
46. I understand compromise, but letting the dead folk put up that ugly wallpaper? No thanks.
47. Isn’t it bad parenting to let your kid be possessed by dead folks and Harry Belafonte?
48. How is it that Delia got so good at sculpting?! First, the sculptures were legitimately ugly, now they’re perfect. The wonders of trauma sometimes.
Also, why does this book EVEN exist — and how did they get it?
49. How long has shrunken head man been waiting to be seen?! He was there when Babs and Adam first went to the DoDP?! Guess that place does move like the DMV.
50. Also, BJ — the shrunken head look is not your cup of tea, darling.
Despite my 50 ponderings and questions of the strange and unusual that is Beetlejuice, it’s still one hell of a movie to watch. Happy 30th birthday to the ghost with the most!