Karma, Purgatory, Bureaucracy
“Just another number”.
Be there “no Karma about it” but THE RECENTLY DECEASED will hit that old after-life office with the thud of paperwork.
(Reminds me of the ole’ Social Security office)
Franz Kafka couldn’t have said it better, whether just the victim is mad or “THE SYSTEM”, itself is even crazier. . . . . and remember, that guy in the “Metamorphosis” story did turn into an insect. OR EVEN A BEETLE.
A lot of people “kill time” in the waiting room, bearing the incarnation they took when “struck-down, mortally”. The visual cue—its own kind of karma whether you’re a shrunken-head on the leash of a witch-doctor as it didn’t end well for the big game hunter.
Don’t go smoking in bed, either—or take poison which will turn you into an icky, translucent green like the secretary behind the sliding window.
Perky, pert, and sarcastic—if not despondent in this perfect illustrated example of the mind/body and material/spiritual splits that cleaves the world into an alienated hell.
Ole’ Beetlejuice pops his head in and takes a seat. I’d imagine him probably sticking his hand down the front of his pants like Al Bundy in “Married with Children”. Half-resourceful or maybe just fool-hardy “no one will notice” as he lopes across the parking lot to grab a cooler of beer.
You’d imagine he’d only lose his place in line.
Solely the balance between evidence and lyricism can allow us to achieve simultaneous emotion and lucidity. . . . . but there he hollers at his loss.
In this last week, we’ve lost Chris Cornell—the singer from Soundgarden—and Roger Ailles—the chairman of Fox News. Only out of an episode of “Adult Swim” could these figures every encounter each other.
The moody rock singer leans up on the chair, hang-dog with his hands stretched over his knee while the right-wing chieftain tries to bluster and glad-hand his way out of federal commitment for dinner reservations “elsewhere”.
There’s only a few things certain in this life. . . . . death, taxes, and irate constituents.
End up here and you have to meet your quota of lingering, ghostly “overtime” back on earth. Spook the hell out of the living for a spike of adrenaline and ecto-residue that kicks into your early retirement, building enough parasitically-fueled power to ascend up the spiritual pyramid to eternal bliss.
Sounds like Medicare and Social Security.
You’ll pay though. . . . . they’ll take everything “but the squeal”.
Death. Taxes. Hollywood sequels. . . . .
Welcome to America. You could die laughing. . . . .
“No dream”, kid. This was your life! Remember to Linger in the graveyard and pick the daisies before summoning for pizza on the Ouija board.
Hobgoblins of telecommunication have knocked-out my internet here in St. Louis– as seen on the national news where flooding is a story. You’ll see lots of rolling, bumpy green hills from the sky-chopper, incidentally “a notion of where Beetlejuice 2” might be filmed.
And what’s this business of creepy clowns? You hear these stories about perverts in the woods messing with kids’ minds as this sounds more like “tall tales” and mass panic.
Though in Eureka we do have our share of weird happenings.
Just think of this place as a township a few miles outside of the city, beyond the county, and deeper in-state. If Lodi, New Jersey produced Glenn Danzig and Aberdeen, Washington calls Kurt Cobain a home-town son, this place would draw a comparison.
Through the haunted woods– you might here stories about hidden meth-labs. . . . . or was it just a hotdog cook-out? Or twisted imbeciles left abandoned in the woods “by their handlers” to pull on car door-handles and garble unintelligibly. . . . .
It is a world of camp-fire lawn chairs and beer coolers where you see the rugged nature of the outback mixed with zany artistic-impulse, like rusty nails dipped in buckets of diet cherry 7-Up and a whole lot of mind-altering drugs for skaters and BBS internet-pirates “back in the day”. Drifters, drift-wood, and homebrew wailing guitar. 1920’s hunting lodges and whorish Bettie Page spanking-gear with bee-stung lips and 1950 Atomic X-mas as told by serial killers like Ed Gein– and rockabilly mutton-chops.
The coldest touch. . . . . like crib death or a toddler with a Frankenstein haircut as it’s “The Munsters” or “Garfield’s Halloween Special” or even “Return to Oz” for green, foaming dark fantasy death with claw-footed bathtubs and the gray, leaden sky out the window.
Beetlejuice would be under the bridge, fishing. His friend, a black, scruffy poodle with giant, swinging, tumorous balls and blind to the world.
Someone call the health department– or maybe the dog-catcher. We don’t know, for who.
As the story goes, “living in a van– down by the river”.
The cops will hose him off in the drunk tank “because of the unbearable smell” and tell him to raft away to the next town. He’s the Missourian vagrant. . . . . or maybe it was Florida.
Moving south for the winter as an itinerant carnival worker if not a kids’ show host on television. Don’t dress up as Chuck’ee-Cheeze and keep a clean police record. . . . .
Lydia, Updated for Present Day
1988—it was a long time ago.
You can’t really play too much of “a recycled teenager” without some stylistic changes.
Sure, there’s the question if too great a number of the MTV generation “ever grew up” or if we live in an extended post-adolescence with tiny jobs, an abundant service economy, and definitely TIME TO PARTY.
Many of us keep listening to the same music we did back in high school. . . . . . but there’s a question if we’d still wear the exact articles of clothing.
Many 40 year-old’s couldn’t well fit into the same Metallica t-shirt or at least wouldn’t wear it well. And it’s not if most Metallica fans turned into investment bankers.
I can’t really think of Winona Ryder as Lydia Deetz ever “selling-out”, really. But would she still wear the same shapeless black rags and spiky head-piece?
Not likely—or it would just look weird 30 years on.
But an artistic, dark soul would still wear the sort of dark, punk-rock accoutrements. I’m thinking a black sun hat, t-shirt, and jeans like the photo below—incidentally a slice of the local population around here in our very own St. Louis.
So how do you weigh the reality of “working”, or holding-down a job?
There’s one answer to that—THE “GIG” ECONOMY.
Front whatever kind of bullshit you want, but there’s a niche for any kind of service. And that means more than working at “Build-a-Bear” though it’s a job Lydia might try out for like, A DAY before getting fired.
If you remember, she makes her way around as a local personality working on DIY t.v., maybe a bit of radio at the local community stations. When she’s not doing that, or maybe running a YouTube channel she makes extra money by giving live tarot readings via web-cam with an air of intrigue and langouring mystery.
Stretch that job out while living with a couple of house-mates and possessing a liberal arts degree, maybe you can “fake it” until “you make it”.
Cyber-space calls, meat-space is tacky. But tours of the strange & unusual can pass as a vocation, if you’re creative and “a little loopy”.
So it is among the hard feld-spar and open lots, where skaters flip tricks and the depthless blue sky hangs above as old media is recycled into newer, strange organic forms. Personalities weave in and out of her languid, sarcastic day and she never loses her dramatic air, bobbing in and of the screen like an apparition in a Bram Stoker novel.
Trust me—many can get away with this well into middle-age or later—as where do you go when there’s no role models or hero’s—only television sound-bytes and the even more evanescent online-hype?
And who could rightfully succeed in such a media environment? What single point of hard, diamond-like concentration does it get to push a personal brand, a line of consumer products?
Let the freak show begin. . . . . she’s just the ticket-taker.
As for Beetlejuice? The star of the story—and you’ll know “IT’S SHOW-TIME”.
Lydia remains the well-grounded “voice of reason” and keeps this film anchored. Her most welcome-return will certainly be anticipated, or else the sequel “was never meant to be”.
And by plucking the petals off a black-rose and creamy white fingers with black nail-polish, she’ll wish you luck.
Something wonderfully “strange & unusual” has been unburied. . . . . literally from some strange corner of the Internet and posted up on YouTube.
It is long, lost footage of the original movie. Or to think, “alternate takes” as the story and plot steered itself into the definitive version we know on home video. Some gags work, others don’t– or were replaced entirely.
It doesn’t “quite fit” and you understand why it was cut. But certainly it gives you insight into earlier versions of the script as final executive and creative decisions were made.
What it is is a very provisional “work-print” or a black & white copy, of a copy, of a work-print. Think of it as a copy-machine draft as something the editors can work with, as a guide and reach whatever final decision.
I feel like I’m looking at odd moments, as if you were actually there in the story or might have seen “inside the movie”. Not every uttered line of dialogue or “set-up” can be perfect– but I feel like I know these movie characters a little deeper.
Visit the website, here–
There may be more footage. . . . . maybe it will one day be unearthed in a 30th Anniversary edition. Does anyone know– does anyone care?
Well, WE DO!
The movie takes on a second-life up here. . . . . so keep visiting as the potential franchise-universe expands into something ever-more incredible. They said it wouldn’t happen– but anything’s impossible up on the internet netherworld. Hail, Beetlejuice!