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‘Beetlejuice’: 10 Spooky and Silly Facts About The 1988 Hit Film

Learn who met their future spouse on set and what Tim Burton character makes an appearance

Beetlejuice facts, Beetlejuice facts, Beetlejuice facts — admittedly saying that three times won’t conjure up the “bio-exorcist” himself, but it will provide you with all sorts of little known information about the 1988 Tim Burton and Michael Keaton film. From what actor found their future spouse on set to which Burton character found its way into the film, these Beetlejuice facts are just as spooky and silly as you’d think.

Beetlejuice follows the late Barbara and Adam Maitland (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) as they haunt the house they died in which the unbearable Delia and Charles Deetz (Catherine O’Hara and Jeffrey Jones), along with their more tolerable goth teen daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder), just bought. To make matters worse, after they learn that they have to haunt this house for 125 years, and that the only way to get rid of the Deetzes is to scare them out, they ignore spiritual advice to the contrary and enlist the aid of Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton).

The film broke box office records and will be the subject of the September 2024 sequel, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, featuring a number of original cast members. But before then, the original Beetlejuice is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

1. The film almost had a different name

Michael Keaton and Tim Burton (1988)
Michael Keaton and Tim Burton (1988) Bros.

The studio originally wanted the film to be called House Ghosts. Then, as a joke, director Tim Burton pitched the name Scared Sheetless and was reportedly very mortified when the studio actually considered using it.

2. The film made Netflix history: Beetlejuice facts

beetlejuice facts: Winona Ryder (1988)
Winona Ryder (1988) Bros.

Before it became a streamer, Netflix used to be a mail-order DVD service and the first film they sent out? Beetlejuice! It was mailed out in 1998, 10 years after the films initial release.

3. Michael Keaton didn’t have a lot of screentime

Michael Keaton (1988)
Michael Keaton (1988) Bros.

Despite playing Beetlejuice, the movie’s titular character, Keaton only has 14½ minutes of screen time throughout the entire film. He also doesn’t appear until the movie’s been underway for 25 minutes.

4. Keaton helped designed his character’s signature look: Beetlejuice facts

Michael Keaton (1988) beetlejuice facts
Michael Keaton (1988) Bros.

Beetlejuice has a very iconic look, and Keaton played a large role in its development. He was the one who suggested mold makeup, electric shock hair and clothing from all different time periods.

5. Beetlejuice has a different name

Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder (1988)
Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder (1988) Bros.

Despite the movie and the character being called Beetlejuice, the character’s name is actually Betelgeuse. Warner Bros. changed it, though, when it came to marketing, believing it would be more appealing to audiences.

6. Most of the cast was very skeptical about signing on: Beetlejuice facts

beetlejuice facts: Winona Ryder (1988)
Winona Ryder (1988) Bros.

According to Tim Burton, the only cast member to immediately sign on was Geena Davis. The others (Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, and Sylvia Sidney) all said no at least once, because they thought the plot was too weird and wouldn’t go anywhere.

Nowadays, though, O’Hara has gone on record saying, “If people don’t like it, then f— them,” so her opinion has clearly changed.

7. Catherine O’Hara met her husband on set

beetlejuice facts: Geena Davis and Catherine O'Hara (1988)
Geena Davis and Catherine O’Hara (1988) Bros.

O’Hara’s now husband, Bo Welch, was the production designer on the Beetlejuice set, and it was Tim Burton who suggested Bo ask Catherine out toward the end of filming.

“I was in Beetlejuice, and Bo Welch was very attractive, and he finally asked me out,” O’Hara recalled. “We went on location at the end of the movie, and we started dating. I moved to L.A. to be with him. Yeah, I moved for love.

The two married in 1992 and have been together ever since. They also have two children.

8. The reference to flight 409 was chosen for a reason: Beetlejuice facts

Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin (1988)
Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin (1988) Bros.

When Adam and Barbara were in the airport terminal, the PA system announced, “Flight 409 is arriving at Gate 3.” Flight 409 was a United Airlines flight that crashed into a mountain in Wyoming on October 6, 1955. It killed all the passengers and crew on board, which was 66 people in total. To this day, no one knows why the accident happened, but filmmakers picked it so it would add to the allure and creepiness of the film.

9. The film was inspired by Poltergeist

Geena Davis (1988) beetlejuice facts
Geena Davis (1988) Bros.

The idea for the film was inspired by the hit 1982 horror film Poltergeist; however, unlike in that Steven Spielberg-produced effort, in Beetlejuice the people moving into the house would be the awful ones rather than the ghosts.

10. Jack Skellington had a cameo: Beetlejuice facts

Michael Keaton (1988)
Michael Keaton (1988) Bros.

On the top of Betelgeuse’s (Beetlejuice) Merry-Go-Round head, there is a skull that looks a lot like Jack Skellington, a cartoon character that Tim Burton had been working with since 1982. Jack would later become the lead character in the 1993 film Nightmare Before Christmas, which Burton co-wrote and produced.

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