“Beetlejuice” was filmed through the rolling hillsides of Connecticut. Or maybe “it was Vermont”. It reflected “the sense of place” by the original main story-writer, who was a horror scribe in the vein of Dean Koontz. Incidental, maybe– to a certain culture, “down the street” that brought together pulp-writers, pin-up girls and B-movie productions from the days of straight-to-video production companies as horror “lives in the same neighborhood”. Think of “Tales from the Darkside” and a kind of stricking “cat-cough” among the blood-hungry you would see in the horror section of another relic, “the ole’ video-store” as now I’m feeling my age, as these days “you simply download-it”.
Yet Beetlejuice took a more whimsical direction, even a “Twilight Zone” direction, as think “grandma’s candy-stripes”, chattery-teeth, old hand-bags, sun-hats, and parasols poking above a grave-side service with filmmaking magic and trick photography that’s part hard-tack wood and hand-crafted furniture. It all gelled “back in 1988” bringing-in everything from stop-motion animation, to “Texas used-car salesman” theatrics, to Caribbean lounge music by Harry Belfontaine crooning that Banana-boat song for an unlikely hit, locally and internationally.
Just wash that down with a bottle of “Snapple” from a clap-board convenience store, while Jeopardy! plays and grandparents mix Ovaltine with a spoon, and “you’d have the feeling”. Everywhere, but “nowhere”. . . . . like when you’ve ever read those “Publishing Clearing House” mailers that show happily-laughing grandparents that look nothing like the jowly elders I know down here in Missouri, as it’s more like a can of dog food and pork n’ beans with plastic puppy-dogs and kitschy angels with a Walmart “sitting gruff” down Route 109 like something, true “to the hoosier, within”.
Would Betelgeuse find a home in Missouri? Stay tuned, and we’ll explore that idea next.