Beetlejuice was only director Tim Burton’s second movie, but it did a lot to establish the director’s gothic-lite sensibility for an entire generation of fans. Although by today’s standards the film seems pretty tame, a comedy about death and the afterlife was pretty out there for a Hollywood studio like Warner Brothers 30 years ago. I mean, this is a movie where two of the attractive young leads die in a terrible accident in the first half of the movie, and the teenage protagonist is your quintessential goth girl–not exactly what was expected in the era of Pretty in Pink.
But as dark as it was for its time, the ending was originally going to be a whole lot darker. In an interview with Yahoo, via the AV Club, Beetlejuice co-writer Larry Wilson revealed he once entertained a much more disturbing and bleak ending that had Winona Ryder’s character Lydia Deetz actually dying in a fire, just so she could live as a spirit with Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis’ ghostly characters. A few people told Wilson that having a teenager die to achieve happiness was maybe not the message you want to send out to impressionable high school goths, so wiser heads prevailed in the end.
The ending we got in the final film is classic; Lydia parties with her new ghostly housemates and gets down to the magical sounds of Harry Belafonte’s “Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora).” I simply can’t imagine that a scene where Lydia dies a horrible death would have been better than the ending that we got. I’ve included it above to remind you of how very awesome it is. Seriously, just watch it right now; it’s guaranteed to make your day just a little bit better.
What do you make of Beetlejuice’s original, darker ending? Be sure to let us know your thoughts below in the comments.
Images: Warner Brothers
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