So I spent most of last weekend feeling like sick garbage. Thank god Beetlejuice was on TV....three times on three different days. And ya, I'll admit it, I watched them all, even though I own the DVD. Over the years I have probably watched the movie about a hundred times. And won't stop. It's just one of those movies that is perfect background noise for working on computer-y type things.
There's one scene in particular that I find myself watching for, then later thinking about for days. It's after the Deetz' move into Barbara and Adam's New England house on the hill (Tim Burton likes houses on hills, see Edward Scissorhands, Big Fish, Coraline (yes I know it's Henry Selick, but they have history), et al. Note his German Expressionism influence of extreme angles, high-contrast shadows and distorted perspectives) and have renovated it to fit Delia's post modern, big city taste.
The scene I am always taken by is the one where Charles, Delia and Otho are outside on the all white deck extension, finished with one lone white wall shaped like a classic house doodle, triangle roof line on top of a square. This wall is also cleverly clad with horizontal slat siding, the standard material of choice for many suburban homes. In a way this singular wall symbolizes the idea of idealized home and family (another Burton theme), something the Deetz' are definitely not, and is juxtaposed against a post modern take over of an old Victorian home. The window cutout nicely frames the scenery beyond, simulating a picturesque landscape painting. There's something very striking about the white architecture against the natural landscape and despite the colour, there is still a sinister feeling to the scene and the turmoil within that can't be whitewashed.
Still photos from Beetlejuice:
Here's a little excerpt of the movie, the famous Harry Belafonte 'Banana Boat' lip syncing scene (part 6).
Followed by my favourite scene at about 7 minutes in (part 7).
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Krista Jahnke lives and works in Vancouver, BC and likes to ask