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Being the Ghost With the Most
|Also Known as||Beetlejuice|
|Appeared in||Beetlejuice (1988)|
|Played by||Michael Keaton|
Betelgeuse (better known as Beetlejuice) is a trickster and mischievous ghost. He is the antagonist of the movie.
Betelgeuse is a very rude, crude and perverted ghost. He also gets a little crazy at times. Though he seems fun on screen, it's clear he's not a pleasant person to have around in real life, as he constantly invades people's personal space (even to the point of sexual harassment), does disgusting things like spitting in his own coat and makes rather rude gestures. Not only that, he seems to love to scare people out of their pants and pull pranks on them. He also seems to be quite selfish, as his main goal in the movie is to lift his curse no matter who gets hurt in the process. He has the attitude of a sleazy used car salesman. Ironically, he is a ghost who eats insects.
According to Beetlejuice, he attended Julliard, is a graduate of the Harvard Business School, traveled quite extensively, lived through the Black Plague (and had a pretty good time during that), and has seen "The Exorcist" about 167 times (AND IT KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER EVERY SINGLE TIME), but this may all be fabricated, as he was clearly not taking the interview seriously when revealing this information.
What is known for certain, per Juno's warning to the Maitlands, is that Beetlejuice was once Juno's assistant (which could imply he committed suicide in life since working for her could count as being a civil servant) but he was a troublemaker. He went out on his own as a freelance bio-exorcist, claiming he could get rid of the living, and got into more trouble.
Betelgeuse used advertisements to get the Maitlands to hire him as a "bio-exorcist" to rid their house of the Deetzes.
The Maitlands summon him when they learn that he can be summoned if his name is said 3 times in a row. Things go bad when Beetlejuice starts scaring the Deetzes in ways that seriously harm them, and even worse, plans to marry Lydia as his way of "escaping" the Neitherworld so he can wreak further havoc. Fortunately, saying his name 3 times can also be used to get rid of him.
In the end, Betelgeuse ends up in the waiting room for the deceased and gets his head shrunk when he switches numbers with the head shrinker to avoid a long wait. Humorously, he thinks he looks better with a smaller head.
In early drafts of the script, Betelgeuse was supposed to assume a variety of forms, with his true form being that of a winged demon (the filthy pale man wearing black and white stripes was originally going to be one of the many forms he assumed). Instead of being stuck in a waiting room, Betelgeuse was going to be destroyed at first.
Betelgeuse's name is often spelled phonetically as "Beetlejuice", as in the title. However, during the film his name spelled Betelgeuse (like the star Betelgeuse) during his ad on TV, and everywhere in the grave scene.
There has been great debate over which spelling of his name is correct. Some say that because his name is the same as the introduction, this is proof they meant it as Beetlejuice, while others claim that was an error as the credits of the film spell his name "Betelgeuse". Nowhere during the film is his name spelled Beetlejuice, unless watched with subtitles on, in which it is said from Lydia's interpretation from playing charades with him. The Maitlands used the astrological spelling... after several mispronunciations.
Some also argue that he may not have been permitted to write his name the way it should, much like he can't say his own name. However, it is just as likely that he cannot misspell his own name any more than a mispronunciation of it can summon him, a condition that compounds his curse since his name is not spelled phonetically. It is also worth noting that there are hints of a greater meaning in several of the names in the movie, since Betelgeuse means "the hand of Orion," and Betelgeuse's former master was named Juno, a character clearly named after the Queen of the Roman gods, protector and special councilor of the state.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
- Reality warping and manipulation
- Can conjure/summon objects
- Can mimic people's voices
Beetlejuice from the Animated SeriesEdit
In the animated series, Beetlejuice was depicted as being more heroic (though he'd still be a bit dishonest sometimes). He is often referred to as "BJ" for short. A recurring gag has him using figures of speech and idioms and then changing himself and / or his surroundings to match the pun (e.g., if he says something bugs him, he'll turn into an insect).
For more information of the animated version of this character, go to the animated article.
- Betelgeuse had his own attraction at the Universal Studios theme park called Betelgeuse's Rock 'n' Roll Graveyard Revue. The attraction was eventually shut down, but it has been recently revived. It was permanently closed in early 2016. There were also some skits where Betelgeuse met the Ghostbusters, most of which had him possess the boys in gray and humiliate them by singing songs, such as "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "I'm Too Sexy." Some of these skits ended with the Ghostbusters busting Betelgeuse.
- Originally it was going to be mentioned that Betelgeuse committed suicide when he hung himself over a woman when he was drunk - and that he botched the job and ended up suffocating painfully instead of a quick snapped neck. There's not much time for it.
'BEETLEJUICE'© Copyright 1988-2016 Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.