Beetlejuice is one of those rare movies beloved by both children and adults. But there are some Beetlejuice scenes you might have never realized were extremely twisted. While viewers can enjoy the movie as a darkly whimsical farce and nothing more, it's difficult to deny that Beetlejuice had scores of dark and complex undercurrents. These scenes that may have majorly warped some of the younger minds in the audience could have raised a lot of questions - if only the film weren't so damn fun to watch.
Beetlejuice tells the story of Adam and Barbara Maitland, a young, recently deceased couple who haunt their former home to scare away the new owners, the Deetz family. Aiding - and complicating - their efforts is another ghost, Betelgeuse/Beetlejuice, a sassy self-proclaimed "bio-exorcist" who also upends the Deetzes' lives. Directed by Tim Burton, this macabre comedy stars Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, and, in the title role, Michael Keaton - and there are some wild behind-the-scenes stories from Beetlejuice's production days.
At one point in the film, Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) is distracted in a model town built by Adam (Alec Baldwin). He encounters what appears to be a strip club, though there is no hint of nudity or inappropriateness.
The strip club's name is Dante's Inferno Room. You know, Dante's Inferno. That classic poem about a journey through the nine circles of Hell - not exactly a lighthearted romp for kiddies.
The whole red wedding scene is dark. Beetlejuice, the old, creepy guy, marries Lydia Deetz (Winona Ryder), the teenager. She's wearing a red wedding dress, which is a reference to an old Victorian superstition: Married in red, you'll wish yourself dead. This makes sense, considering the groom is already expired, and the bride is sort of obsessed with the concept.
Moments later, when he puts the ring on Lydia's finger, we see the jewelry still attached to the finger of his ex. "I'm tellin' ya, honey, she meant nothin' to me," Beetlejuice tells Lydia. But the ex is gone, he still has her finger in his pocket, and he's marrying a goth teenager.
In the world of Beetlejuice, people who die by suicide are assigned to be civil servants in the afterlife. This is one of the less-obvious and less-distressing elements in the movie, but it's one that adults may pick up on more easily than kids.
Imagine what this is saying to impressionable young minds: devoting your life to public service is akin to dealing with cantankerous ghosts in the afterlife for all of eternity.
This wasn't a scary moment by any means, but it was jarring considering the movie had virtually no foul language. Angered at the Maitlands, Beetlejuice destroys a tree in the model town, screaming, "Nice f*ckin' model!" and grabs his crotch as a cartoonish horn honks.
It's a quick, insignificant moment, but watching something so adult and out-of-tune with the rest of the movie's tenor could have appeared crazy to a kid viewer.