I don't remember ever seeing this movie when I was a kid, but I did watch some episodes of the animated series around that time. BEETLEJUICE is an important film for at least one reason: It established Tim Burton's style and featured a lot of the people, behind and in front of the camera, who he would collaborate with over the next 20 years or so. It also has a fairly entertaining story with plenty of visual inventiveness and some manic touches, courtesy of Michael Keaton as the titular character. However, similar to Silence of the Lambs, the most important character in the movie isn't in it for a long time. He gets hinted about at first and shown from behind, making you curious as to what could make the dead so scared of him, but then he finally makes his grand appearance and it all makes sense. For so grating a character, the small doses you get of him actually work in the film's favor. A little bit goes a long way. What makes the film engaging and relatable are the couple who die barely ten minutes in (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) and the daughter of the couple who move in afterwards and start remodeling (Winona Ryder). To a degree, you can understand the plight of these two people who, cut down in their prime, see the house they worked so hard to get be changed beyond recognition by a family with no regard for the past (albeit, hilariously so). One thing I didn't expect was the way in which the film straddles the line between horror and comedy, having expected something a little more straightforwardly funny. What I got was still quite good, with plenty of sight-gags and situational humor instead of verbal punchlines. The film also has a great sense of style (courtesy of production designer, Bo Welch), and Tim Burton's love of German Expressionist cinema becomes more apparent in his realization of the limbo world of the dead, with its long hallways and angled, off-kilter doors and windows. There was also brilliant use of stop-motion animation and models, which are still more involving than CGI will ever be. All of the performances were great, and the characters well-written enough as to be likable even while occasionally doing annoying things. The only thing that works against the film are perhaps the rushed beginning and a slightly forced (and equally rushed) ending. I can understand wanting to get to the good stuff, but a little more time with the protagonists could have only benefitted the film overall. So, for not quite delivering the riotous comedy I expected, BEETLEJUICE is still a highly entertaining showcase for special effects and Michael Keaton's manic energy, as well as being Tim Burton's first true film (or at least emblematic of his style).