The Movie: Beetlejuice (1988)
What Is It?: An ace melding of the darkness of Frankenweenie and the freewheeling, plot-be-damned comedy of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Screenwriters Michael McDowell and Warren Skaaren pull the neat trick of making their heroes recently deceased young marrieds whose newly purchased home is invaded by a ghastly nuclear family. As the title spook, Michael Keaton doesn’t so much steal this show as he hijacks it with dynamite strapped to his chest. Drawing on classic cartoons (particularly those of Max Fleisher, Tex Avery, and Chuck Jones), Salvador Dali, and his own trademark stripey, swirly design scheme, Tim Burton builds a detailed environment spewing imagination.
Why Today?: On this day in 1958, Tim Burton is born.