For years fans have been begging for a sequel to the 1988 Horror comedy Beetlejuice. The original film, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton, Geena Davis, Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones, and Winona Ryder is a cult classic that was also a commercial and critical success. The film cost about 15 million dollars to make at the time and grossed over 78 million dollars at the box office. Audiences and critics loved the dark, campy and funny movie about two ghosts who employ the services of a kooky “bio exorcist” to get a family out of the home they occupied before they died. Lydia, the daughter of the family who moves into the ghost’s house, is an 80s icon. With her black bobbed hair, eyeliner and black petticoat under her school uniform she became the image of 80s goth kids. Girls everywhere copied her dark style. People still dress up as Lydia for Halloween and conventions.
Beetlejuice was directed by the master of kooky and dark and strange films Tim Burton. The cast worked extremely well together, which helped to make the film the cult classic that is remains today. For decades fans have been begging for a sequel to the original film and now if finally is going to happen. As recently as Valentine’s Day Michael Keaton confirmed that he had been in talks with Tim Burton and a writer to reprise his role as the dirty, disgusting, but lovable Beetlejuice. Winona Ryder also confirmed that she was involved in the sequel, which will focus on Lydia’s life after the end of the first film and her ongoing dealings with the paranormal.
The original film was full of quirky moments that became cultural reference points and inside jokes for thousands of people. In the original movie the Maitlands, a very quiet married couple, are in a car accident that kills them. They end up in back in their home, which is the one place they loved more than any other. But they are unable to leave the house except to travel to the offices of the afterlife, where they are assigned a caseworker who is supposed to help them adjust to being dead. While they are trying to figure out what happened to them and what happens next a new family buys the house and moves in.
The family is an avant garde family from the city who make huge changes to the quiet country house. The only one of the family who can see the Maitlands is Lydia, the teenage daughter of the family who describes herself as strange, has black bobbed hair, wears a lot of eyeliner and a lot of black. At first the Maitlands, appalled by the changes that these strangers are making in their home, try to scare them away using their own ghost powers. They don’t have much success. After meeting Lydia and realizing that they are not going to be able to scare away the family they go in search of a demon who has been imprisoned for his bad behavior but is said to be able to scare away the living for a fee. By saying his name three times they are able to release him from his prison. Hijinks ensue as he tries to scare the family out of the house. But the family, far from being scared, are delighted. They hold a séance to try and summon the spirits that are in the house. Beetlejuice decides he wants to marry Lydia and he tries to kidnap and marry her but the Maitlands stop him. They imprison him again by saying his name thee times.
Beetlejuice is one of the rare films from the 80s that still feels relevant even though it was made more than 20 years ago. A lot of that sense of modernity comes from the film’s setting. Tim Burton is the master of creating worlds that are familiar but at the same time are totally off kilter to the actual world. Fans are very excited to see what happened to Lydia as she grew up, whether or not the Maitlands are still living in their home, and if Beetlejuice has changed his devious ways over the course of his imprisonment.