Why the Maitlands Deserve More Love

 

 

Halloween may have just passed, but I, personally, do not see this as a reason to stop watching spooky movies. My favorite October watch (that I enjoy all year round, actually), is most definitely Beetlejuice, an early Tim Burton flick that follows a newly-dead couple as they learn how to haunt their home and find help from an unlikely source. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend you check it out. It’s filled with entertaining visuals, a fun atmosphere and compelling characters, such as Lydia Deetz (played by Winona Ryder), the “strange and unusual” goth and Beetlejuice himself (played by Michael Keaton), the Bio-Exorcist and self-proclaimed “Ghost with the Most.” These are the two that the merchandise, costumes, cartoon spin-off and recent broadway musical are centered around. And although I think all of these are worthy of admiration and respect (I’ll never complain about there being more Beetlejuice in the world), they seem to gloss over two perfectly good characters: The Maitlands 

 

Adam and Barbara Maitland (played by Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin, respectively) are the primary protagonists and focus throughout the movie. They’re the couple that dies in the beginning, it’s their house that gets moved into by the Deetzes and they’re the characters I absolutely fell in love with the first time I watched it and every time after that. Maybe I’ve just always been a sucker for chill ghosts, but the Maitlands take it to a whole new level. Not only do they take the whole being dead thing with surprising ease, but they embrace it wholeheartedly, using their new haunting talents to possess the Deetz family and their guests into doing the iconic “Day-O” sequence and morphing their faces into scarier versions of themselves, which is how they’re normally represented on merch or costumes. They’re also just sweet and caring people who love each other dearly and basically decide to adopt the lonely Lydia on the spot, helping her realize it’s better to be alive while fulfilling her fascination with the paranormal and her need for parental affection. They also prove to be secret badasses, swooping in to save the Deetzes and each other when something threatens them. But they’re still lovable and good-natured, even if they do have the occasional tendency to pull their faces off. 

 

Maybe I’m just biased since they’re my personal favorites and I have so many good memories tied to them (I met one of my best friends because of our mutual appreciation for them, after all), but if you decide to watch Beetlejuice, whether again or for the first time, do me a favor and keep your eyes out for the Maitlands. You might just find some hidden gems under those designer sheets.