Directed by Tim Burton
Written by Michael McDowell & Warren Skaaren
Story by Michael McDowell & Larry Wilson
Release Date: March 30, 1988
Running Time: 1hr 32min
Young couple Adam and Barbara Maitland (Baldwin, Davis) have recently died in a car crash. To help them in their afterlife they’re given a manual, Handbook for the Recently Deceased, along with a case worker, Juno (Sidney). Meanwhile, their home has been bought by Charles Deetz (Jones) and his eccentric sculptor wife, Delia (O’Hara). Also with them is Charles teenage daughter, Lydia (Ryder), who’s obsessed with death and the macabre.
Delia immediately begins remodeling the house with the help of her interior designer, Otho (Shadix). Adam and Barbara are not happy with the bizarre makeover Delia has given to their once quaint looking home, and wish to drive the family out. The main problem, however, is that the Deetz’s can’t see them (with the exception of Lydia), and they’re not very good at haunting.
Out of desperation, they seek the help of the mischievous ghost, Betelgeuse (Keaton), a self proclaimed bio-exorcist, claiming he can rid their house of the living tenants. He’s rude, crude, and has a sick sense of humor. He might be just what they need!
The movie was a critical and commercial hit upon release, earning $74.2 million against a $15 million budget. It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup and three Saturn Awards: Best Horror Film, Best Makeup, and Best Supporting Actress for Sidney. Being Tim Burton’s second film, the box office success catapulted his career to even bigger projects (such as the 1989 Batman film, also starring Keaton). It also spawned an animated television series, (which I was first familiar with), video games, and stage musical.
You bet I love this movie! It’s wickedly funny, visually stunning (as expected from Tim Burton films), has a great score (as expected from Danny Elfman), and has some enjoyable performances from the main cast. Of course, Keaton steals any scene he’s in as the title character; still other actors are a lot of fun and give enthusiastic performances (Catherine O’Hara rarely fails to entertain).
Definitely see this movie if you haven’t yet!