31 Days of Horror 2016, Day 12: Beetlejuice the Animated Series

I needed something light after several days of serious horror. I have had fond memories of this cartoon for some time, and received the first season as a Halloween Secret Santa gift just at the right time. Thanks to my mystery giver! Unlike so many other shows of my childhood, I was not disappointed in how the Beetlejuice cartoon held up. It’s still everything I remember, albeit with off-kilter voice acting.

The reason the Beetlejuice cartoon works is that it truly builds off of the movie, instead of simply picking up the characters but giving them all the wrong lines, and putting them in the wrong situations. In just the first few episodes, I saw several winks at the movie. Beetlejuice saves bugs in his pocket “for later” and makes hideous, gag inducing faces that the audience can’t see. And Lydia; she writes in her diary and complains when her mother redecorates her room. There are sandworms to contend with. There’s calypso music. In one of my favorite segments a closet comes open to release skeletons, reminiscent of the beings in the lost souls room, that tell on Lydia and Beetlejuice for all their lies. It’s all just wonderful, truly. All this, and the added bonus of the freedom of animation, which allows Beetlejuice to turn into a wide variety of different objects and creatures for the sake of puns. Well, puns covered in stripes.

Now it’s true…sometimes the animation is cheap. Mouths don’t always move when they should and expressions get recycled. Perhaps I was simply enamored with seeing hand drawn cartoons for the first time in a long time, but I didn’t really mind. And no, Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder weren’t available to voice their characters. But…I presume they had better things to do, and I’m happy for their success. In the end, the flaws of this show are forgivable. How can I be mad when just moments into the series, upon her mother’s proclamation that “not every day can be Halloween”, Lydia voices what’s inside all of us (or at least inside of me) when she replies “for me it is”.

Challenge fulfilled: Unrated Movie

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