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Beetlejuice

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Image credit: Beetlejuice, 1988

This week, I’m proud to say I conquered a major fear. In re-watching Beetlejuice (Disc/Download), I confronted one of my life’s main recurring nightmares, in which I’m walking through a Caligari-esque hallway of doors, not sure what’s on the other side. Is it a sandworm? Is it a room full of ugly post-modern Michael Graves furniture? Is it Michael Keaton in racoon clown makeup? I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve woken up screaming in the last thirty years.

Speaking of Michael Keaton, I don’t even want to admit how old I was before I realized that the same actor played Mr. Mom, Batman, AND aggressive bio-exorcist Beetlejuice. The man is a chameleon. Revisiting this movie as an adult, it’s amazing to see the high-caliber cast director Tim Burton pulled together. Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis play ghosts trying to force a brash New York family (Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O’Hara giving MAJOR Moira Rose vibes) out of their charming Connecticut home. Winona Ryder plays the goth daughter of the interlopers, with stellar lines such as “My whole life is a dark room.” Same, girl. Eventually getting more and more desperate, the ghosts call on Beetlejuice to help them drive the city slickers away for good, which causes more problems than they’d bargained on. The special effects and makeup are pretty impressive, and a big part of what makes this movie so fun for kids (unless you were a scaredy-cat like me). But as an adult, I’m still terrified of the afterlife’s waiting room. It’s more of an existential fear than a jump scare, but still just as effective.

My favorite scenes include some delightful Harry Belafonte calypso tracks, so we may as well “Jump in the Line” with this Caribbean-inspired cocktail. With a green tint that matches Beetlejuice’s hair, this will definitely put you in the mood for Halloween hijinks. While watching Beetlejuice, I recommend drinking this Day-O the Dead cocktail.

Day-O the Dead

1 ½ oz Rhum Agricole (or silver rum)

1 oz Midori

1 oz Lime Juice

1 ½ oz Pineapple Juice

¼ oz Coconut Cream

Gummi worms for garnish

Combine Rhum, Midori, lime and pineapple juices, and coconut cream in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a gummi worm.

Although the live action Beetlejuice scared the bejeezus out of me as a small child, I had a standing date with the animated series for many years. I guess cartoon poltergeists are just less threatening. And Lydia, oh Lydia—you have my dark heart forever. Cheers!