On Lo­ca­tion: Beetle­juice at 30

The “Ghost With the Most” has been haunt­ing movie watch­ers—and one small Ver­mont town—for 30 years

Smithsonian Magazine - - Con­tents - By Il­lus­tra­tion by Holly Mil­lea Agata Now­icka

W HILEWE WERE SHOOT­ING, I’d say to my­self, what the hell is this?” the ac­tor Alec Bald­win re­calls of his star­ring role in Beetle­juice. “Even try­ing to ex­plain to peo­ple what the movie was about—it was dif­fi­cult. Peo­ple gave me the most crazy, blank stare.”

Thirty years later, the mad­cap macabre lit­tle mir­a­cle of tal­ent and stop-mo­tion an­i­ma­tion di­rected by Tim Bur­ton is still hard to boil down. Bare bones, it’s what hap­pens when the Mait­lands, a cou­ple of mar­ried New Eng­land ghosts (Bald­win and Geena Davis), fail to scare away the ap­palling New York yup­pies who pur­chase their beloved Vic­to­rian home. The sweet spir­its are forced to call on the ser­vices of the ma­ni­a­cal

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