Beetlejuice. Ahhhh, Beetlejuice. How well I recall the evening my parents, uncharacteristically savvy of pop culture, rented Beetlejuice for an evening of family entertainment, having heard it was supposed to be “really fun.”

How well I recall the experience of watching Beetlejuice for the first time, which was not unlike being dipped in a vat of boiling terror: The bannister that turns into a snake! The giant worms living outside the house! The terrifying facial contortions (literally!) of Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin! Worst of all: THE SHRIMP COCKTAIL THAT ATE PEOPLES’ FACES.

And this from a kid who LIVED for bizarre, sick shit. Harryhausen’s Medusa: beheaded, falling forward, gluey red junk pouring out of her stump of a neck? Loved it. Ghostbusters’ devil dogs attacking Sigourney Weaver from inside an easy chair? Bring it on! Watching the scene in The Dark Crystal where the emperor skeksis decomposes into little chunks, my aunt inquiring if I’m ok, if I’m a little scared by it–my response? “Oh, that happens all the time.”

What the hell was it about Beetlejuice then? Was it the fact that everything was like a sick funhouse, and I already had an overwhelming fear of clowns? Actually…that might be it. In fact, I think that’s exactly why Beetlejuice terrified me so: I knew it was supposed to be funny (like I know clowns are ‘supposed to be funny’) and I didn’t think it was funny. I thought it was a god damned horror movie.

One more of life’s mysteries: solved.



5 Responses to “Beetlejuiced”

  1. Karissa Says:

    Ha ha–that link is hi-larious! Also, I too was freaked out by Beetlejuice. Maybe we were too young when we first saw it? Then again, my best friend in grade school was a HUGE fan… Hmmm. I am also deathly afraid of clowns, so perhaps this is a definite factor.

  2. JFCC Says:

    Odd. I was freaked out by the bloody Medusa head in Clash of the Titans (as it oozed ketchup-like blood), but not at all Beetlejuice.

    Large Marge? Scary.
    The dead knight in The Neverending Story whose helmet flips up to reveal a skull? Scary.
    The dead anchorwoman in Batman with the rictus grin? Terrifying.

    But Beetlejuice didn’t scare me at all. I don’t know, I guess it depends on what gets you. I was so afraid of death at that age, maybe anything that depicted an afterlife, no matter how unlikely, was more comforting than scary.

  3. Kate Racculia Says:

    that’s so funny–every single one of those things you mentioned, I loved. (ok, the knight’s helmet flipping up used to freak me out in a jump-scare way, but still: loved it.)

    How about the part in the Wizard of Oz when the wicked witch makes the fireball? “How about a little fire, Scarecrow?” EEK.

  4. J Says:

    Ooooo! The flying monkeys in Wizard of Oz were what got me: I thought they were *terrifying.*

    Now that I think of it, small anthropomorphic animals are generally pretty creepy. Maybe this is why I find your “Hugs!” hamster so disturbing, while the demonic tots seem kind of fabulous. And let’s face it: children, with their big eyes and heads, are made to look slightly. . . off. That’s why the demon child movie is a perennial favorite (and by “favorite” I mean “mild box office success in early February/late August”). Monkeys, on the contrary, are not made to wear jackets and hats.

    To sum up: pictures of smiling hamsters holding candy hearts should never be framed and posted on the wall. Not that anyone I know would ever do that. *Ahem*

  5. Tom Says:

    Hey this is your cousin. I just thought I would let you know that I now have a blog on as well!

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