Study Guide

Beetlejuice Manipulation

Manipulation

BEETLEJUICE: Well, I better find a job. Let's see. Business section. Ooh-la-la. What do we got here? The Maitlands, huh? Cute couple. Look nice and stupid, too.

Typical scammer—goes after the most vulnerable, naïve types.

BARBARA: What about that guy in the flyer? You know, Beetle—

JUNO: Shh! Don't even say his name. You don't want his help.

ADAM: We might.

JUNO: No, you don't. He does not work well with others.

BARBARA: What do you mean?

JUNO: I didn't want to bring it up. But rather than have you stumble onto it and make another mistake, I'll tell you. He was my assistant. But he was a troublemaker. He went out on his own as a freelance bio-exorcist. Claimed he could get rid of the living. Got into more trouble. In fact, I believe he's been sleazing around your cemetery lately. The only way he can be brought back is by calling his name three times. But I strongly suggest that you remove the Deetzes yourselves.

Juno flat out explains why the Maitlands shouldn't call Betelgeuse and then they go and call him anyway. Maybe Betelgeuse was right—they are kinda stupid. Let's be generous and say "naïve." They're new at this.

CHARLES: Maxie, have I not always made you money? I think that's the only real question here.

MAXIE: Well, Charles, nobody made me money like you. I mean before your nerves went, you were a demon. It's just that Winter River, Connecticut is, if you'll forgive me, nowhere. I mean, why would I wanna invest that kind of money in an old building way the hell up there?

CHARLES: It's not a building. That's the beauty of it. These people don't know the value of their property. I can buy the whole town.

MAXIE: Oh, then we own a whole town in the middle of nowhere.

CHARLES: Max, you've got to come up here and see. And bring Sarah.

MAXIE: Yeah, all right, Charles. It's just that I am kind of busy here.

CHARLES: Uh, just a minute, Max.

MAXIE: Now, listen. Enough of this talk about visiting, okay? I gotta go. You take it easy up there, big fellow. Good-bye.

CHARLES: Max, wait, wait, wait—

MAXIE: Putz.

Charles is a real estate salesman, so he's trying some classic sales maneuvers. Maxie isn't falling for it. After all, he's a pretty accomplished manipulator himself (and a much bigger jerk). The real targets of the scam are the townspeople, who don't know the potential value of their property.

ADAM: My wife and I would like to ask you a couple of questions.

BEETLEJUICE: Sure, sure, sure. Go ahead. Shoot.

ADAM: Well, for instance, what are your qualifications?

BEETLEJUICE: Ah. Well, I attended Juilliard. I'm a graduate of the Harvard Business School. I travel quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and I had a pretty good time during that. I've seen The Exorcist about 167 times and it keeps getting funnier every single time I see it! Not to mention the fact that you're talking to a dead guy! Now what do you think? You think I'm qualified?

After telling the Maitlands that he's open to questions, Betelgeuse takes things in another direction by making fun of them for asking about his qualifications. Though, who knows? Maybe he did attend Harvard. Some scary people have graduated from that place.

DELIA: Open this door, you dead people, or we'll bust it down and we'll drag you out by the ropes you hanged yourself with!

LYDIA: They didn't commit suicide—

DELIA: It doesn't matter. Lydia, I have a chance to teach you something here. You have got to take the upper hand in all situations or people, whether they are dead or alive, will walk all over you. Open up!

Delia's not going to let herself be taken advantage of by a couple of ghosts. We doubt if Lydia's impressed by Delia's attempt at life lessons.

BEETLEJUICE: You bunch of losers! How dare you interrupt a professional while he's working!

BARBARA: I'm not fond of Charles Deetz particularly, but you could've killed him.

BEETLEJUICE: Hey, I'm just doing my job! Besides, I thought we had a deal. Hey, it's okay. You know why? I don't wanna do business with you deadbeats anyway, thank you. The only one I think I can deal with is Edgar Allan Poe's daughter. I think she understands me.

BARBARA: You leave her alone!

Betelgeuse is gonna get what he wants one way or another. We get the feeling this isn't over yet.

BEETLEJUICE: I'm the ghost with the most, babe. You know, you look like somebody I can relate to. Maybe you could help me get out of here, you know, because I gotta tell you, this death thing it's just too creepy. See, here's my problem. I've got these friends on the outside that I said I'd meet. You know, and it's the kind of thing I have to be there in person, you know. So I was just wondering, could you help me get out of here?

LYDIA: I want to get in.

BEETLEJUICE: Why? Well, you know, hey, you've probably got your reasons, but the thing is I can't do anything from over here. If you could get me out, over there, then maybe we could talk or something. But, you know, in order to do that you've got to say my name three times.

LYDIA: What's your name?

BEETLEJUICE: Well, uh, I can't tell you.

LYDIA: Why not?

BEETLEJUICE: You know why? Because if I tell you, you'll tell your friends, you're friends are calling me on the horn all the time. I've gotta show up at shopping centers for openings, and sign autographs, and s*** like that. And that makes my life a hell, okay. A living hell. But maybe if you have a pen, maybe we can—I know! You ever play charades?

Our guy is pouring it on, but Lydia's not as naïve as the Maitlands. She thinks twice about letting Betelgeuse out.

LYDIA: Where are you? Help them, please.

BEETLEJUICE: Sure, I can help them. But you gotta help me.

LYDIA: What?

BEETLEJUICE: Look, I'm what you might call an illegal alien. I want out for good. In order for me to do that, hey, I gotta get married. Hey, these aren't my rules. Come to think of it, I don't have any rules. Come on. Come on. Think of it as a marriage of inconvenience. Okay? We both get something. I get out. You get to say you're hitched to the most eligible bachelor since Valentino came over. We're even, babe.

LYDIA: Okay, just help them.

BEETLEJUICE: Sure.

LYDIA: Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse!

BEETLEJUICE: It's showtime!

Finally, Betelgeuse has everyone right where he wants them. He knows Lydia's desperate to help the Maitlands and will agree to anything. It's the perfect quid pro quo. Say what you want about him, but he's very smart. Good manipulators have to be able to read people.

PREACHER: Do you, Lydia, take this man...

LYDIA: No! Beetle—

BEETLEJUICE: She's a little bit nervous. Maybe I should answer for her, okay? I'm Lydia Deetz and I'm of sound mind. The man next to me is the one I want. You asked me, I'm answering. Yes, I love that man of mine.

When Betelgeuse's real-world powers of persuasion aren't doing it, he pulls out his supernatural abilities to get what he wants. Totally not a fair fight.

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