With Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire hitting theaters this weekend, it’s time for the other revered 1980s horror-comedy that is ostensibly for children but also definitely not, Beetlejuice, to get the legacy sequel treatment. 


The first teaser for Beetlejuice Beetlejuice—admittedly, a clever title—dropped yesterday, showing off Winona Ryder’s return as Goth icon Lydia Deetz. She is joined by Jenna Ortega as Astrid Deetz, Lydia’s daughter; Catherine O’Hara as Delia Deetz, Lydia’s stepmother; and Burn Gorman as a priest. They’re at a funeral, presumably for Charles Deetz, who was played in the 1988 film by registered sex offender Jeffrey Jones. Well, that’s one way to dispose of a problematic movie man.


And, of course, there is Michael Keaton, returning as Betelgeuse. The teaser, set to a children’s choir singing “Day-O”, is all about pressing those memberberries into nostalgia juice, showing off sights such as Miss Shannon’s School for Girls, the red covered bridge, and the scale model of Winter River in the Deetz’s’ attic. Astrid discovers it, then we see Lydia witnessing Betelgeuse’s return, and behold, there is Michael Keaton as one of his most iconic characters.

I can never begrudge Michael Keaton anything, so for his sake, I hope this is all worth it. I’m trying to remind myself to keep an open mind after Road House recently proved my most cynical expectations wrong, but the other side of that coin is Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, which treat the source material with such overblown reverence it sucks the fun out of the whole thing. 


This teaser for Beetlejuice Beetlejuice has the same kind of borderline worshipful vibe going for it, and while I care about Beetlejuice more than I do Ghostbusters, I’m also not precious about it. I was a little too young for the movie, so I actually grew up with the Beetlejuice Saturday-morning cartoon, which has very little to do with the movie besides aesthetics. I watched the movie later because I liked the cartoon. In the animated series, Betelgeuse and Lydia are friends; in the movie, they’re in an inappropriate psycho-sexual enemy-ship. Who cares? It’s all fun!

At least, it SHOULD be fun. I HOPE it’s fun. Because frankly, “fun” isn’t the vibe I’m getting from this teaser, but it’s also just 90 seconds devoted to reminding us of Beetlejuice things. At that, it succeeds. Hopefully, as we see more from this film, we’ll get a better sense of the tone, because if it really does go the Ghostbusters route and tread reverently over the sacred ground of f-cking Beetlejuice, I will tear my hair out. It’s okay to grow up and like different things! 


Also, Jenna Ortega has now played Sullen Teens in reboots/sequels to iconic Gen X films Beetlejuice, Scream, and The Addams Family. All she needs is a(nother) remake of The Craft and a wildcard vampire movie and she’ll have a bingo on the rebooted Goth kid starter kit.