French filmmaker Fred China has teamed up with producers Adam F. Goldberg (The Goldbergs, Schooled) and Lee Leshen (Back in Time, Ghostheads) to make a documentary about the creation of the Tim Burton classic Beetlejuice. Check out the trailer for Documentary For The Recently Deceased: The Making of Beetlejuice embedded at the top of the article!
I’ve always loved Beetlejuice. When I was a teenager I watched the movie for the first time on VHS, and immediately fell in love with it – its universe, its music, its ambiance… The use of splat textures, moody lights, smoke-machines, etc., have had a strong influence on my photography.
I was such a fan of the movie that I wanted so badly to bring the film’s world into my reality. So, of course, I bought a plaid shirt and started to build a giant model in my basement…that I never finished (it was subsequently thrown away by my father years later!).
A few years ago, thanks to many generous crew members from the movie, as well as East Corinth inhabitants, I was able to put together a basic website with some interviews, exclusive behind the scenes pictures, and more.
It all started there.
Ten years ago, in July of 2010, I connected with actor Glenn Shadix (who played “Otto” in the movie) on Facebook. I had just returned to France from a one-month trip to the U.S. on a tour of famous American film locations. It was then that I visited East Corinth for the first time and talked about the location with Glenn.
At that time, the idea for a documentary was just that – an idea. Thankfully, Glenn immediately jumped on board. His enthusiasm was the catalyst to launch this project, and I’m grateful for his kindness and insight into the original film. Sadly, on September 7th, 2010, not two months after we’d spoken, Glenn Shadix passed away. When this film is completed, it will be dedicated to his memory.
Through the years that followed, I began collecting anything I could that had to do with the making of the film – behind the scenes photographs, press kits, storyboards – literally anything I could get my hands on. I’d built up a solid collection, but I knew I needed the right people to tell the story on screen. So, in 2017, with the help of some friends and family, and through a couple of crowdfunding campaigns, we were able to raise enough money to begin the project and, with the help of Executive Producers Adam F. Goldberg (The Goldbergs, Schooled) and Lee Leshen (Back in Time, Ghostheads), the film was on its way to becoming a reality.
In March of 2018, my crew and I flew to the United States for the first round of interviews with animators, puppeteers, model makers, and more, and then returned for the second round in June of 2019. It was then that we revisited East Corinth, Vermont, and captured many interviews with the town’s residents, all of whom were there for the actual filming of Beetlejuice back in 1988, and have a first-hand account of what it was like when Hollywood rolled into their tiny town of only about 500 people.
Look for Documentary For The Recently Deceased: The Making of Beetlejuice soon.
Check out the trailer and synopsis for Tim Burton’s Beetljuice below.
After Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) die in a car accident, they find themselves stuck haunting their country residence, unable to leave the house. When the unbearable Deetzes (Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones) and teen daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) buy the home, the Maitlands attempt to scare them away without success. Their efforts attract Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), a rambunctious spirit whose “help” quickly becomes dangerous for the Maitlands and innocent Lydia.
Are you excited to check out Documentary For The Recently Deceased: The Making of Beetlejuice? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! You can also carry on the convo with me personally on Twitter @josh_millican.