Release Year: 1988
Director: Tim Burton
Writers: Michael McDowell (screenplay & story), Warren Skaaren (screenplay), Larry Wilson (story)
Starring: Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones, Sylvia Sydney, Glenn Shadix,
Rating: Won 1 Oscar: Best Makeup. Won 3 Saturn Awards: Best Horror Film, Best Supporting Actress (Sylvia Sydney), Best Makeup. Nominated for 5 Saturn Awards: Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Michael Keaton), Best Writing, Best Music, Best Special Effects.
A recently deceased couple are desperately trying to get rid of an obnoxious couple who has bought their house and enlist the help of the sleazy ghost Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton) to get rid of them.
Early in his career (this is only his second film), Tim Burton made a film in which he apparently had free range to make a film right after his head. The result is a visually unique and as zany as its title character. Even though he has relatively little screentime, the film is overshadowed by Michael Keaton’s (Batman, 1989) perverse, energetic, and hilarious performance. His scenes are among the best (with the exception of the classic dinner scene), but perhaps he is better tolerated in smaller portions. Baldwin (The Departed, 2006) and Davis (Thelma & Louise, 1991) are sweet as the newly wed and newly deceased couple who have to tackle the challenges that brings. Ryder (Edward Scissorhands, 1990) is fun as the suicidal goth daughter who is more at ease with the ghosts than she is with her father and stepmother. The film has echoes of elements that pop up later in Burton’s filmography and has plenty of charm and inventiveness, but it is perhaps a difficult film to like if you are not already inclined toward Burton’s wacky brand of Gothic.
This is Michael Keaton’s favourite among his own films.
Picture Copyright: Warner Bros.