“Third time’s the charm:” a cliché typically coined in the optimistic hopes of a redeeming third putt, a final jar opening attempt, or any other last-ditch effort. But be careful where you spend your threes, for if you say the wrong name thrice, you could be visited by Bloody Mary — or, much worse, Beetlejuice.
The iconic 1988 Tim Burton film “Beetlejuice” features Michael Keaton as a sleazy scammer in the afterlife. Dare to speak his name three times, and Beetlejuice will be either summoned or entrapped, depending on his current circumstances. The protagonists of his antagonist are Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam (Alec Baldwin), suburban lovebirds turned ghosts after an abrupt drowning at the beginning of the film. Comparable to the hyperbolically normal Janet and Brad, who are surrounded by characters decorated with ghoulish face paint in “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Barbara’s dialogue is primarily composed of the repeated sentiment: “Oh Adam. What are we going to do?”
However, in true Tim Burton fashion, Barbara and her sweet baboo Adam adapt somewhat quickly to the afterlife, often manipulating their appearances in attempts to scare away the new tenants of their home. Sullen teenager Lydia (Winona Ryder) sympathizes with the phantom couple, defending them to her vapid father (Jeffrey Jones) and stepmother (Catherine O’Hara).
Tim Burton’s most recent triumph has been the successful 2022 Netflix series “Wednesday,” which offers a new narrative of the melancholic and morbid Wednesday Addams, played by Jenna Ortega. The 20-year-old actress has flourished in recent years as a cast member of horror and generally dark media, namely “Scream” and “X,” in addition to “Wednesday.” It comes as no surprise that rumors have begun to circulate regarding her potential inclusion in the cast of “Beetlejuice 2,” likely as Lydia’s daughter.
That’s right, the purgatory exorcist in his striped suit will be returning to the big screen. “Beetlejuice 2” was confirmed this past February. According to Cosmopolitan, there is no certainty when its release will be, particularly given production has not commenced. There is also no clarity on what the narrative of the second film will be.
Part of what makes the original “Beetlejuice” so famed and loved is its campy 1980s aesthetics. Most special effects at that time were physical prosthetics or stop motion. As a scaredy cat myself, I am a sincere lover of these more primitive techniques. However, I theorize that “Beetlejuice 2” will make use of its newfound access to realism in the modern age of CGI. I hope that the tongue-in-cheek humor will be maintained if Burton goes in such a direction.
Nevertheless, regardless of the narrative and cinematic elements “Beetlejuice 2” concocts, the fanbase of the original will certainly make this sequel a widely watched film. Can’t wait. Can’t wait. Can’t wait!
“Beetlejuice” is available to stream on HBO Max.
By Risa Bolash