Wednesday, March 29, 2023

5 Off My Head: Denizens of the Dead

It's the 35th anniversary of one of my lifetime favorite movies, Tim Burton's Beetlejuice. This is the first movie I was allowed to see in the theater without a parent -- I vividly remember my mom dropping me off at the theater and feeling like the biggest grown-up boy in all the land! And even more so whenever they showed Alec Baldwin from the back in those khakis...

Formative khakis! Anyway I've seen this movie more times than I could ever keep track of, and I've posted about it here on the site twice as many, so what is there left to say at this point? Well actually, I found something. This is one of Burton's richest worlds creatively (which is why it remains mind-boggling they still haven't made a sequel) and there's somebody in some small role to fawn over in nearly every frame. We all love Juno and Otho and all the well-known and quoted weirdos -- but what about the bit-parts? Here are five of my faves!

5 Fun Beetlejuice Bit Parts

The dog that kills Adam and Barbara -- Look at that sweet little face! Who'd have guessed that that sweet little face covers up the soul of a cold-blooded murderer? Well that's what the bastard (or perhaps the bitch) is. Just sauntering off as our heroes drown, not a care in the world. I bet that dog leaves a trail of corpses littered in its wake across Winter River, Connecticut. I bet that dog crashed the airplane that killed all those hot dead football players in Juno's office. That dog must be stopped!

Beryl (Adelle Lutz) -- She always makes me think of that picture on the right of a hairless cat. I don't know why. But I hope to pass this brain disease along to as many people as possible a la the curse from The Ring's videotape. 

The Devil Hookers -- I mean, obviously.

The Janitor (Simmy Bow) -- The dead janitor in the hallway of Juno's office who tells the Maitlands about the exorcized souls trapped in limbo is played by the same actor who tells Pee-wee Herman the story of "Large Marge" in Pee-wee's Big Adventure. I love that he's kind of an afterlife exposition delivery system for Tim Burton Movies. Sad / weird side-note: he died before Beetlejuice came out so playing a ghoul was his last role. 

Old Bill (Hugo Stanger) the barber -- I bet y'all thought I would go with one of the smashed-apart weirdos that populate Juno's office right? The flat guy with the tire-tracks or the fairy woman with the slit wrists. Well nope! I feel like Old Bill deserves his moment. The way he says, "Jus... just trim it a little" always makes me laugh for some reason. He died not long after Beetlejuice came out too. A fitting note to end on!

What are your favorite Beetlejuice bits?


Anonymous said...

The last time I watched it I found out the actress who plays the dead receptionist is the same one who plays the love interest in Three Amigos, another 80s movie I watched too many times. I can’t believe I never made the connection before. Blew my mind.

Pierce said...

Adele Lutz was married to David Byrne. My favorite actress, Sylvia Sidney, plays Juno, the social worker in this. She loved working with Tim Burton because he treated her like a movie star. Her last film was the role of Grandma in his film, Mars Attacks!

Shawny said...

I saw this so long ago, I can't remember much detail. I was working in an AMC movie theater (my first job) at the time and it ran for many months. I rewatched it when it hit cable later, but not since then. It was before I knew that Katherine O'Hara was multi-hilarious. I had no inking of SCTV then. And Winona was so cool, I llllllllllllloved her from the second she appeared.

FoxVerde said...

i thought it was such a hoot that beetlejuice hockered into the inside pocket of his suit jacket and said he was "saving that guy for later". 😂🦊

Clay Poupart said...

"Hair right down to his gawdamm SHOULDERS!"