24 Kooky Facts About the Film "Beetlejuice"

Updated on October 21, 2019
Rachel M Johnson profile image

Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for over two years.

Tim Burton's 1988 beloved cult classic film Beetlejuice stars Michael Keaton as the devious titular character. Since its release, the film has become a fan-favorite for Halloween. With an impressive cast including Winona Ryder, Alec Baldwin, and Geena Davis, Beetlejuice became a critical and box office success. Let's take a look at 24 kooky facts about the film.

Source

1. Tim Burton originally wanted Sammy Davis Jr. for the titular role of Betelguese. Producer David Geffen was the one who suggested Michael Keaton for the now-iconic role.

2. Beetlejuice doesn't actually appear until twenty-five minutes into the film and actually appears in less than twenty percent of the film in its entirety, 17.5 minutes. Michael Keaton only spent two weeks filming.

3. Catherine O'Hara was not the original choice to play Delia Deetz, the matron of the living family. The role was supposed to go to Angelica Huston, who ultimately had to bow out due to illness.

4. The title character is named for a bright red star in the constellation of Orion, Betelgeuse.

5. In the wedding scene between Beetlejuice and Lydia, her wedding dress is bright red instead of the traditional white. This was a nod to the old rhyme about wedding dress colors that says, "married in red, better off dead."

6. Multiple popular actresses turned down the role of Lydia, including Molly Ringwald, Brooke Shields, Diane Lane and Jennifer Connelly. The role reportedly came down to Winona Ryder and Alyssa Milano, with Tim Burton ultimately choosing Ryder.

Michael Keaton as the titular character in Beetlejuice.
Michael Keaton as the titular character in Beetlejuice. | Source
Catherine O'Hara & Angelica Huston.
Catherine O'Hara & Angelica Huston. | Source
Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton) & Lydia (Winona Ryder).
Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton) & Lydia (Winona Ryder). | Source

7. According to Tim Burton, many of the cast members had to be convinced to sign on to the film because the script was too weird. Michael Keaton, Catherine O'Hara, Winona Ryder and Sylvia Sidney all said no at least once, while Geena Davis was the only cast member who committed to the project first. Burton flew out to meet O'Hara in order to convince her to sign on.

8. The skeleton head on top of Beetlejuice's merry-go-round hat is extremely similar to the design of Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). Burton had been drawing the character since 1982 and ended up using the design for the main character in Nightmare.

9. Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Bill Murray, Christopher Lloyd, Jack Nicholson and Tim Curry were all considered for the titular role before Michael Keaton was cast.

10. Michael Keaton used the character Chop Top from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) as the basis and inspiration for his performance as Beetlejuice.

11. The studio initially wanted to call the film "House Ghosts." As a joke, Tim Burton instead suggested the name "Scared Sheetless" and was absolutely horrified when the studio actually considered using it.

12. Michael Keaton ad-libbed 90% of his lines in the film.

Alec Baldwin (Adam) & Geena Davis (Barbara).
Alec Baldwin (Adam) & Geena Davis (Barbara). | Source
The cameo of Jack Skellington.
The cameo of Jack Skellington. | Source

13. The entire special effects budget for the movie was just one million dollars, which led Tim Burton to intentionally give the effect a B-movie quality to save on money.

14. The original plan for the epic dinner party was to have the guests dance to "a song by The Ink Spots," however, both Catherine O'Hara (Delia Deetz) and Jeffrey Jones (Charles Deetz) suggested the music be calypso.

15. While Michael Keaton believes Beetlejuice to be one of his best performances of his career, Alec Baldwin (Adam Maitland) was reportedly very unhappy with his performance and dislikes the film.

16. The original script for Beetlejuice was much more dark and sinister. It was going to include a lot of gruesome violence and feature the titular character as a leather-winged demon. The original ending also featured Betelgeuse being destroyed by an exorcism. Instead, Burton brought in two more writers to make the film more comedic.

17. Beetlejuice won the Academy Award for Best Makeup in 1989 at the 61st Academy Awards.

18. Betelgeuse/Beetlejuice's name is spoken fifteen times in the film: eight from Barbara, two from Juno and five from Lydia. Adam also says his name but mispronounces it.

The iconic dinner party scene.
The iconic dinner party scene. | Source
Michael Keaton (Betelgeuse), Geena Davis (Barbara) and Alec Baldwin (Adam).
Michael Keaton (Betelgeuse), Geena Davis (Barbara) and Alec Baldwin (Adam). | Source
Source

19. Tim Burton left much of Beetlejuice's character development up to Michael Keaton, simply telling him that the character "lived in every time period, but was of no time period." Keaton ended up using his creative freedom to add elements to his character, such as his mold, his crazy hair and the false teeth.

20. The snake scene in the movie was filmed before Michael Keaton was cast, and the animatronic snake that was used had no resemblance to the actor. Once Keaton joined the film, they re-shot the scene with stop-motion so it looked more like his version of Betelgeuse.

21. Even though the film was given a PG rating in a PG-13 era, it actually contained the F-word once.

22. Kirstie Alley was the first choice to play Barbara Maitland, but she was unable to take the role because the Cheers producers wouldn't let her out of her contract.

23. Beetlejuice (1988) went on to earn $74 million on a $15 million budget, and it became the 10th highest grossing film in 1988.

24. Lydia (Winona Ryder) was initially supposed to have a sister in the film: Lydia would be the goth one while her sister would be more straight-laced. Writers scrapped this idea, allowing the character of Lydia to shine and become the primary focus of the film.

Source
Winona Ryder as Lydia.
Winona Ryder as Lydia. | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Rachel M Johnson

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Rachel M Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel M Johnson 

        7 weeks ago

        Hi Louise, you should definitely watch it! Michael Keaton is absolutely amazing!

        @ John, it’s one of my absolute favorite Halloween movies! He’s such a wild and devious character and Michael Keaton just made the role his own! I’m glad you enjoyed the read and thanks for the encouraging words!

      • John Plocar profile image

        John Plocar 

        7 weeks ago from Weatherford

        Beetlejuice is easily one of my favorite comedies, grew up with it since I was little. My dad and I watched it all the time. The part he probably laughed most at was when Betelguese kicks over the tree and utters one of the funniest lines in the movie.

        Anyways, another solid article. Some of these I knew since I dig the movie so much that I looked into it a bit, but a lot of these I actually didn't. Thanks again for sharing! Good job and keep up the good work =D

      • Coffeequeeen profile image

        Louise Powles 

        7 weeks ago from Norfolk, England

        I think I am one of the few people who hasn't seen this film. I really must watch it though.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)