Kid Tested – Uncle Approved: “Beetlejuice” (1988)


It [was] October so let’s get spooky! Not really a kids’ movie at all, Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice” is still one of my favorites from my youth. Starring Michael Keaton as the titular character along with Alec Baldwin, Gina Davis and Winona Ryder, “Beetlejuice” is the story of Adam and Barbara Maitland who die tragically in a car accident. The Deetz family from New York City move into their home shortly thereafter and Delia (Catherine O’Hara), with her morbid sensibilities, makes it her personal mission to “gut out this house and make it my own or I will go insane and I will take you with me!”

Adam and Barbara put a lot of time and effort into their home and don’t want it to have gone to waste, so they decide to frighten the Deetzes away. Sadly, they are terrible at it and before long, have no choice but to ask for help. Upon returning to their home, they find it completely redecorated, nearly unrecognizable! Lydia Deetz (Ryder), self-identifying as “strange and unusual”, befriends the Maitlands and tries to help them reason with her parents. Things go way, way south when Delia’s friend and interior decorator Otho gets his hands on their Handbook for the Recently Deceased, the manual for all the dead. When he meddles too far, Lydia has no choice to but call on Beetlejuice by saying his name three times. Once brought back, he’ll stop at nothing to stay back by forcing Lydia to marry him. The living and the dead must band together to stop the self-proclaimed “Bio-exorcist” before he wreaks havoc all over rural Connecticut!

Almost 30 years later, this is still one of my favorite Tim Burton movies, so much so that Rachel and I were Barbara and Adam Maitland for Halloween a few years ago! There are pictures on Facebook; we looked great. Keaton is a tour de force in this role, which led to him playing Batman a year later.

Rated PG-13, there are some scary moments and creatures and a bit of language, but I probably saw this when I was six or seven with my older siblings. There is a confirmed sequel in the works with Keaton and Ryder (so far) returning to their roles. Burton will direct and the screenplay is being written by Seth Grahame-Smith who wrote “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”, which is a fantastic book and mediocre movie, and David Katzenburg, who created the TV series “The Goldbergs”. Strange pairing, but I hope it works out.

Insanely quotable, unforgettable, and visually stunning even today, “Beetlejuice” is one to keep in your Halloween rotation, or anytime of year.

Snack Packs



Rating: 5 out of 5 Snack Packs

Lincoln L. Hayes is an actor and filmmaker living in Vermont, where part of this movie was actually filmed! Follow his work at his website

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