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Beetlejuice (1988) – Episode 132 – Decades of Horror 1980s

“It’s Showtime!” Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) gets his show on the road. So why not listen as The Grue Crew does the same?! Celebrating its 30th anniversary this month, Beetlejuice was the film that launched Tim Burton’s career. A horror comedy covered in spirals, normalcy satire and gothic pondering that made Burton the most mainstream recognized auteur of the modern era. However, does Beetlejuice make us Shake Senora or does it deserved to be gobbled up by a sandworm? Tune in and find out!

Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 132 – Beetlejuice (1988)

Beetlejuice is an odd choice for a titular character, given he’s only in about 17 minutes of the final film. Then again, Keaton’s a pop culture creep with a disgusting charm who makes a huge impression for the limited time. Yet, our protagonists are the newly deceased couple of Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Martha Maitland (Geena Davis) who are stuck in their home and can’t stop it from being sold to new owners. Those new owners are The Deetzes, including the goth daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) who can see them.. The Maitlands need to get these folks out of their eternal resting place, so they utilize the world of the dead’s rules to their advantage and get the titular ghoul to help out. Betrayal, stop motion and Harry Belafonte ensue from there.

Thomas, Doc Rotten, and Christopher G. Moore crack open their copies of The Handbook for the Recently Deceased to decipher Beetlejuice. Doc admits having fallen back in love with this after some Tim Burton overexposure. Christopher G. Moore revels in his love for all things striped and goth. Thomas just loves how the character and world building meld so well. There’s appreciation for everything from the production design to the diverse musical soundtrack to Dick Cavett’s underrated acting ability. Plus they all agree that “…IT KEEPS GETTIN’ FUNNIER, EVERY TIME THEY SEE IT!”

Contact Us

We want to hear from you – the coolest, most gruesome fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1980s podcast hosts at thomasmariani@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

Special thanks to Neon Devils for their awesome song Bone Chillin!

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The Gate (1987), Our Patreon Poll Winner!

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Ed Wood (1994) – Episode 16 – Decades of Horror 1990s

“Oh what do you know. Haven’t you heard of suspension of disbelief?” Edward D. Wood Jr. (Johnny Depp) thinks he knows what the true craft of movie making is. Released in 1994, Tim Burton’s Ed Wood tells the story of a true underdog. A young man looking to carve out his place as a Hollywood filmmaker. Trouble is… he’s terrible at it. His scripts are incoherent. The sets are made of cardboard. And he can’t construct a shot to save his life. But he’s got one thing that all the other cheap guys don’t have: heart. And doesn’t that makeup for a complete lack of talent?

Decades of Horror 1990s
Episode 16 – Ed Wood (1994)

Despite winning two Oscars, Ed Wood didn’t set the world on fire in 1994. Coming after Tim Burton’s controversial Batman ReturnsEd Wood felt like a major departure for the director. After making big splashes with genre-driven films like Edward Scissorhands or Batman, a dramedy biopic about the man responsible for Plan 9 from Outer Space seemed like a sudden turn. Yet, there’s a lot of Burton’s usual subject matter here. Ed Wood is a very much the misunderstood loner protagonist Burton relates to, finding solace in a weird group of friends. There’s socialite actor Bunny Breckinridge (Bill Murray), TV psychic showman Criswell (Jeffrey Jones) and barely intelligible wrestler Tor Johnson (George “The Animal” Steele). However, the strongest connection is with washed up monster icon Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau). Lugosi becomes a mentor of sorts for Ed, as Ed helps him cope with addiction and depression. A beautiful friendship that resulted in gloriously bad cinema.

To delve into all of this, Thomas Mariani enlists the help of Kaycee Jarrard. A fellow podcaster and writer, Kaycee shares a love for the old school Universal Monsters with Thomas. Naturally, Ed Wood became the must-cover topic. Sure, it isn’t a horror film, but it’s tied to centrally to both horror history and the nature of horror fandom. The group of misfits Ed Wood buddies up with are reminiscent of the type of lovable oddballs you find in the horror fan community. Kaycee and Thomas also discuss the lack of need for factual basis in a biopic, how much they miss Johnny Depp trying and how true this is to Tim Burton’s directorial spirit. Well, at least more than a live action Dumbo probably will.

Contact Us

We want to hear from you – the coolest, most gruesome fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1990s podcast hosts at thomasmariani@decadesofhorror.com or tweet Thomas @NotTheWhosTommy. Also, make sure to give us some love via iTunes reviews and ratings. Helps us get more notice along the way.

The intro and outro is “Suck City” by Black Math. Look for more of their music via Free Music Archive.

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The Mummy (1999)