Author’s Note: All articles on MK Horror contain spoilers.
Article written by Maggie K. Ward
I’m sure we’ve all wondered what happens to us after we die. But what happens if we don’t know how to be dead? We’d have to learn, of course. BeetleJuice tells the story of Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis), a husband and wife, which die in a quick and sudden car crash, but don’t realize they are dead. They come home to find themselves confused and distraught. Where are their reflections? Why is there a book titled The Handbook for the Recently Deceased on their coffee table?
A family moves into their house, which they weren’t too keen on selling when they were alive. Now they have to share it with a yuppy family with bad taste in decorations, and a daughter that’s obsessed with darkness. The Maitland’s attempt to haunt the new residents but fail miserably. It’s not a lack for trying though. Barb hangs herself in a closet and rips off her face. It’s actually quiet gruesome. Too bad they couldn’t see her.
The Maitland’s are confused and need help. They have a stuffy manual they don’t understand, and a family they don’t like living in their house. They meet with Juno (Sylvia Sidney), their caseworker to discuss their options. It is their responsibility to haunt the house themselves if they don’t want the Deetz’s to live there. But they have to do it right, and that’s where the stupid manual comes in.
The Maitland’s are corny, and have no idea what they are doing. They cut holes in seats and walk around the house moaning. While attempting to haunt Delia (Catherine O’Hara), her step-daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) is appalled at what she hears. She thinks they are doing the nasty and enjoying themselves a bit too much.
Lydia can see the Maitland’s and informs them about why she can see them. “Live people ignore the strange and unusual. I, myself, am strange and unusual.” Lydia attempts to scare off her family with the idea of ghosts in the house, but they think she’s crazy. The Maitland’s decide to take matters into their own hands, or rather Betelgeuse’s (Michael Keaton) hands. Betelgeuse is obnoxious. He keeps copping a feel on Barb and mauling Adam. He’s awkward, perverted, and pretty much scares the pants off the Maitland’s…and not in a good way.
The iconic scene in this movie is the dinner scene. The Maitland’s possess the family and their snooty guests, and force them to sing and dance to “Day-O.” Catherine O’Hara is hysterical in this scene! The look on her face while she dances is priceless! She really looks terrified about what her body is doing. But the possession doesn’t go according to plan. The Deetz’s loved it! They can’t wait to get their greedy little fingers on the ghosts that haunt the house.
After Betelgeuse almost tricks Lydia into marrying him, the Deetz’s and the Maitland’s learn to get along and everyone lives happily ever after. I feel compelled to point out the obvious: Betelgeuse is such an a**hole. Like seriously. He’s the villain in this story. He’s not a nice guy. He attempts to “help” the Maitland’s with their Deetz infestation, but almost kills Charles (Jeffrey Jones). However, this story has a warm, fuzzy ending. How sweet.
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