it close to the wire, but October saw the release of some
really good Halloween DVDs for the whole family, all of
which should end up as fun year round.
20th Anniversary Edition: Fresh off of Pee-Wee's
Big Adventure, Tim Burton helmed this supernatural comedy,
ostensibly about "the ghost with the most." Michael Keaton
takes the title role, riffing wildly and tapping so much
manic energy that it's almost tragic he decided that what
he really wanted to be was a serious action hero/leading
Yes, that career
strategy didn't work for Keaton in the long run, but Beetlejuice
certainly does. Yet he isn't really the protagonist,
popping up relatively late in the film. Instead, Beetlejuice
deals with a recently dead husband and wife, The Maitlands
(Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis). Straight-laced and kind
of boring in life, the couple would like their afterlife
to continue in much the same way.
In a reversal
from the standard ghost story, they'd like to have their
house's new living occupants exorcised, as they're gauche,
loud and boorish. The Maitlands have trouble being sufficiently
scary, however, as their hearts just aren't in it. Enter
that ghost with the most, an insane poltergeist determined
to terrorize the living beyond what the afterlife authorities
Along the way,
the ghosts get discovered by the new owners' sensitive daughter
Lydia (a very young Winona Ryder), who takes a central role
in the Maitlands' life as a sort of foster daughter, and
becomes the lead in the animated series this movie spawned.
episodes of the series are included on this DVD release,
serving as the majority of the extras. Burton doesn't come
back for commentary, nor are there any behind-the-scenes
videos, which could have been interesting, considering Burton's
then preference for live in-camera effects as much as possible.
trivia? Oddly enough, Burton wanted Sammy Davis, Jr. for
the role of Beetlejuice, but had to settle for a small role
for other Vegas lounge lizard Robert Goulet instead.
For such an
influential - and let's face it, near brilliant - comedy,
Warner Home Video hasn't done much to celebrate its twentieth
anniversary, except convince us we want the cartoon released
in its entirety.
If you think
the live-action film is too much for your younger kids,
they'll definitely still get hooked on the animated show,
in which Lydia spends a lot of time on the other side, where
things are goofy and ghouly, but mostly just fun.
(20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
DVDs for Halloween...