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Every Major Character In Beetlejuice Ranked

Tim Burton's "Beetlejuice" is a staple of Halloween movie watch lists and a hilarious horror comedy about the bureaucracy of the afterlife with a perfect cast. After Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis) die in a car accident, they are transported to their beloved home. When Adam attempts to leave the house, he finds himself in a surreal desert landscape where time passes strangely. Awaiting his return, Barbara suspects they didn't survive the accident when she discovers she doesn't have a reflection and finds the "Handbook for the Recently Deceased."

Soon, a family from New York City moves into their farmhouse and begins redecorating. The newly departed couple decides they must defend their house against the pretentious interlopers, seeking help from their manual and visiting the waiting room from hell while trying to see their afterlife caseworker. The Maitlands attempt to haunt their house, but the Deetz family is more intrigued than frightened by ghosts. Adam and Barbara, in a last-ditch effort to evict the Deetz family, enlist the help of Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton), a self-proclaimed "bio-exorcist."

The Maitlands are the nicest, most normal characters in the film, but sometimes it's the weird and awful characters that provide the most entertainment value. The main cast of this supernatural comedy is small, but the supporting characters provide information about the afterlife, make big impressions, and get laughs. Keep reading to find out who's the best and the absolute worst because we've ranked the characters in "Beetlejuice" for your enjoyment.

12. Jane Butterfield

Jane Butterfield (Annie McEnroe) is the absolute worst. She's the annoying local real estate agent who stops by at 6:45 in the morning, disrupting Adam and Barbara's staycation to tell them about an offer on their house that they have zero interest in. From how Adam and Barbara react, it's obvious Jane drops by with unwanted offers regularly, suggesting she lacks manners and doesn't respect boundaries.

When Jane tries to convince Adam and Barbara to sell the house to a family because the house is too big for just the two of them, it hurts Barbara's feelings. It is painfully clear Barbara is upset about being childless, and Jane's inability to see this proves she's an insensitive jerk. To be fair, Jane seems genuinely upset by Adam and Barbara's deaths when she stops by the house with her daughter. They are dressed in black and stand crying while looking up at the house before driving past the sign saying the house has been sold.

When Jane stops by while the Deetz family is moving in, she gives Lydia (Winona Ryder) a skeleton key to the house, before telling Lydia she decorated the house. Jane's interior design is fussy and old-fashioned, proving her taste and manners are both lacking. Jane says Adam and Barbara were family, and their deaths were devastating, but this sentiment doesn't make up for her intrusive and insensitive nature, making her the worst major character in "Beetlejuice."

11. Beryl

Beryl (Adelle Lutz) is a dinner guest at the first dinner party Delia (Catherine O'Hara) and Charles Deetz (Jeffrey Jones) throw at their new house in Winter River, Connecticut. Her acerbic banter with Otho (Glenn Shadix) is absolutely fantastic. For example, when she says, "Paranormal, is that what you're calling your kind these days?" to Otho, and he replies without missing a beat, "Don't mind her, she's still upset because someone dropped a house on her sister," it's hilarious.

The scene where Adam and Barbara force the dinner party to perform a dance around the dinner table while Delia sings the song "Day-O" is one of the best scenes in "Beetlejuice." Afterward, the dinner guests are jazzed by the experience, thinking it a marketable party trick, rather than being frightened by being controlled like marionettes and attacked by their prawn cocktails.

After their haunting dance routine, Beryl informs everyone, "'The Enquirer' is offering $50,000 for proof of life after death," but our time with her is cut short when she storms out with the rest of the guests when the Deetz family can't deliver Adam and Barbara for their continued entertainment. Although Beryl is only in these two scenes, she brings a level of snobbery that is as funny as it is off-putting.

10. The Janitor

When Adam and Barbara Maitland take their first visit to the DMV of the afterlife, looking for help after the Deetz family has moved into their home, it's obvious Adam and Barbara are lost in the afterlife. Although they have been given the handbook, they are struggling to understand what happened, how to deal with the bureaucracy of the afterlife, and what rules they must live by now that they're dead.

After exiting the infernal waiting room, they wander through a corridor with an undulating floor, where they come upon a strange window. While Adam and Barbara look into this window, the Janitor (Simmy Bow) performs an important function in the film when he explains the serious stakes for screwing up in the afterlife, telling them, "That's the Lost Souls Room. A room for ghosts that have been exorcized. The devils... It's death for the dead. It's all in the handbook. Keep moving."

Although this unsettling scene in "Beetlejuice" provides information about the rules of the afterlife, we won't understand the importance of the Lost Souls Room until later in the film when Otho, performs what he believes to be a séance, but is actually an exorcism. When Otho summons Adam and Barbara with their wedding clothes, they come dangerously close to being exorcized and spending eternity in the Lost Souls Room. The Janitor is only in this one scene, but he is an essential character.

9. Miss Argentina

The receptionist who works in the waiting room of the afterlife, Miss Argentina (Patrice Martinez), not only provides the audience with key information about the rules of the afterlife, but she also provides comic relief. Like a seasoned pro working at the DMV of the afterlife, Miss Argentina explains in an exasperated voice to the Maitlands that they only have three help vouchers for a meeting with their caseworker, Juno (Sylvia Sidney).

She explains if they use their help vouchers now, they will run out before their 125 years in their house is over, and they move on to the next phase of the afterlife. She also gives the Maitlands a matter-of-fact explanation that everyone's afterlife is directly related to the way they died, saying, "It's all very personal. And I'll tell you something, if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have had my little accident," showing them her slit wrists. Everyone in the waiting room laughs at her dark joke about dying by suicide, but it is only later in "Beetlejuice," during the first dinner party we understand the importance of Miss Argentina's statement.

While antagonizing Beryl by ridiculing her about one of her most recent "dreary suicide attempts," Otho makes the snide comment, "You know what they say about people who commit suicide? In the afterlife, they become civil servants." This comment is revealing because many of the people the Maitlands deal with are or were civil servants in the afterlife, leaving us wondering about their life stories.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

8. Juno

When Adam and Barbara first meet their caseworker Juno, her no-nonsense attitude is on display as she explains the nitty gritty of being dead while chain-smoking. As smoke rises through her slit throat, she tells the Maitlands they should have been studying their handbook this whole time, suggesting they stick to the basics and get the Deetz family out of their house with an old-fashioned haunting.

Juno guides the Maitlands away from working with Betelgeuse, explaining he was once her assistant and that he's a troublemaker who doesn't work well with others. Juno explains how he went freelance as a "bio-exorcist," claiming he can get rid of the living. Although Juno reveals how to contact Betelgeuse, she cautions the Maitlands that consulting with him would be a mistake. After Adam and Barbara go against Juno's advice and contact Betelgeuse about the Deetz family, Juno intercedes by creating a brothel in Adam's model village to distract Betelgeuse.

Juno's exasperated attitude is comedy gold. When she yells at the Maitlands in her office for allowing themselves to be photographed by Lydia and then berates them for letting Otho get his hands on the handbook, we get the impression Juno is sick and tired of dealing with the senseless and recently deceased. Juno makes it clear there will be consequences if Adam and Barbara don't retrieve the handbook and destroy the photos, explaining how they can't let a basic haunting confirm there is an afterlife. Juno is the absolute best supporting character in "Beetlejuice."

7. Adam Maitland

Adam's dorky obsession with building a model version of his quaint town, Winter River, is endearing, and the way he embraces parenting Lydia by helping her with math homework is sweet. But let's face it, Adam is pretty bland and probably the least interesting of the central characters. Making Adam and Barbara the most normal and boring was clearly an intentional choice on Burton's part. One would expect the ghosts to be outlandish, ghoulish, and dramatic, as Betelgeuse is. In reality, Adam and his wife Barbara are homebodies who are happy blending into the background. The Maitlands are the canvas the more colorful characters are painted upon.

Adam is the perfect counterpoint to the other men in the movie. His kindness reveals Charles' greed. Adam's polite nature exposes Betelgeuse's crass personality. While Adam's understated and down-to-earth vibe is the complete opposite of Otho's ostentatious and shallow persona. All the bigger and louder personalities play off of Adam's straight-laced persona, making for some real comedy magic.

While reflecting on his most memorable roles, Alec Baldwin told GQ, "When we did 'Beetlejuice,' I had no idea what it was about. I thought maybe all of our careers are going to end with the release of this film. Maybe we're all going to be dead." Luckily, Baldwin was completely wrong, and "Beetlejuice" is just as funny and enjoyable to watch as an adult, as it was when you were a kid.

6. Barbara Maitland

Barbara is easily the nicest character in "Beetlejuice." Like Adam, she might be a little bland, but she's warm and nurturing. Barbara instantly likes Lydia and wants to mother her. Barbara doesn't see a weird goth girl when she looks at Lydia, dressed in her dramatic black clothing. Barbara says, "you look like a regular girl to me" to Lydia. Barbara can see past the costume to the teenage girl underneath — a girl who is longing for a maternal figure.

Despite initially wanting to kick the Deetz family out of her house (because she couldn't bear the way they were redecorating nor imagine spending the next 125 years with Delia), Barbara is hesitant to work with Betelgeuse, because she's not, "exposing that little girl to that pervert." Barbara is the voice of reason against resorting to dirty tricks to frighten Charles and Delia and working with Betelgeuse because she doesn't want anyone getting hurt.

It doesn't take long for Barbara to realize she doesn't want to kick out the Deetz family because she wants to be with Lydia. Once Barbara's internal momma bear has been activated, she proves to be quite the heroine. It is Barbara who tames a bizarre sandworm from the surreal desert landscape to eat Betelgeuse when he attempts to force Lydia into marriage, so he can return to the world of the living. Barbara is a sweetheart, but it's still a shame she died in that awful flowered dress and is thus stuck with it as her forever outfit.

5. Charles Deetz

Charles Deetz was a successful real estate developer in NYC before he had a nervous breakdown and was prescribed relaxation. So, he moved his family of three from the Big Apple to the country when he bought Adam and Barbara's home after their death. Although Charles knows his second wife Delia is a bit extra, how he deals with her, with rolled eyes, well-placed shrugs, and a few dramatic sighs, is a substantial source of comedy in "Beetlejuice."

Although Charles left the city to relax in the country, it soon becomes clear he doesn't know how to take it easy. After experiencing being a supernatural puppet during their first dinner party, Charles is convinced they are sitting on a goldmine, and people will flock to the quaint town to experience a brush with the paranormal. Charles pitches transforming Winter River into a paranormal tourist destination to his former boss, the real estate developer Maxie Dead (Robert Goulet), hoping Dean's wife, Sarah's penchant for the paranormal, will sway his decision.

Charles isn't the kindest man until he sees Adam and Barbara decaying during Otho's exorcism. Charles' heart softens when he sees his daughter Lydia's distress, and he asks Otho if he can stop the ritual. By the end of the film, it seems sharing his home and daughter with the Maitlands has actually been beneficial for Charles, who can put his feet up and kick back to read up on the handbook for the afterlife.

4. Delia Deetz

Delia Deetz is one of the funniest characters in "Beetlejuice." Delia is a self-described sculptor who makes hideous objects and apparently has zero artistic talent until the very end of the film when she terrifies Charles with a sculpture she made of Betelgeuse's head. Delia's agent Bernard, who attends Delia's first dinner party, called her a flake and said he had been losing money on her art for years, suggesting rather than being a working artist, Delia is a dilettante.

Despite being talentless, tasteless, and obnoxious, somehow Delia believes she is absolutely fabulous, and this outrageous confidence is part of what makes her so funny. Delia's so concerned with what's in fashion that she is a slave to trends, hiring Otho to travel from NYC to redecorate her new country home, turning it into a bizarre modern art installation. Her affinity for what's popular also extends to her fashion choices as we see when she wears only one glove to her dinner party because Michael Jackson made it all the rage in the '80s.

Catherine O'Hara's performance as the over-the-top and eccentric Delia is one of her most memorable, and she's delivered many strong comedic performances during the decades she has graced both the big and small screen. Delia's dance routine singing "Day-O" is one of the best scenes in the movie, and her facial expressions are perfect. Delia is a highlight in the cast of "Beetlejuice." The movie wouldn't be the same without her.

3. Otho

Delia's interior designer Otho is such an obnoxious snob that he's funny. Otho, much like Delia, is a caricature of someone who is so obsessed with the "culture" of NYC, they're convinced it is the center of the universe, and anywhere else is completely irrelevant. Otho must be Delia's best friend because he wouldn't be caught dead in Connecticut otherwise.

Despite his snide comments, Otho is one of the best characters in "Beetlejuice." Actually, he might be one of the best, because of the awful things he says — they're that funny. The myriad of creative careers Otho refers to suggests he is either a very interesting individual filled with fascinating stories, or he is prone to exaggeration and is far less successful than he claims. Still, the knowledge of and connection to the occult Otho exhibits when he summons Adam and Barbara does make him one of the more interesting characters in the film.

Although Otho isn't as tuned into the supernatural as Lydia, he is more aware than Delia and Charles. He sees the ghosts out of the corners of his eyes, sensing movement on the periphery. He feels Adam brush past him on the stairs to lock the attic door before Otho and Delia invade their sanctum. The haunting doesn't phase Otho, and he pays enough attention to swipe the "Handbook for the Recently Deceased" because he is resourceful and observant. Glenn Shadix is the perfect Otho, and the truth is "Beetlejuice" wouldn't have been as good without him.

2. Lydia Deetz

Lydia has the best lines in "Beetlejuice." You can count on her to have a witty comeback and give it to you straight, saying things like, "You can't scare her, she's sleeping with prince valium tonight," or "My father bought this place. He never walks away from equity." Lydia might be a little snarky and dressed all in black, but she's observant and open-minded. When Lydia explains to Adam and Barbara why she can see them, she says she read the "Handbook for the Recently Deceased," and adds, "The living ignore the strange and unusual. I myself am strange and unusual."

Like many teenagers filled with ennui, Lydia feels isolated and doesn't think she fits into her family. She doesn't like her stepmom Delia, despite them both being artistic and eccentric. Lydia isn't happy about moving to a boring little village, but once she sees the house and digs its haunted vibe, Lydia eases into country life, realizing it might be more exciting than NYC.

Lydia strikes the perfect balance between extreme teen-angst, goth-girl cool, and a refreshing level of vulnerability. She is big-hearted enough to welcome Adam and Barbara into her life and wants to protect her new friends so badly she agrees to marry the repulsive and rude Betelgeuse to save the Maitlands from the Lost Souls Room. Lydia's bravery is rewarded when she gets to live in a happy blended family, with two sets of parents, one living and one recently deceased.

1. Betelgeuse

Betelgeuse is the funniest and most foul character in "Beetlejuice." Betelgeuse is the highlight of the film. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Keaton spoke about how when he met Tim Burton about playing Betelgeuse, saying, "I had no idea what he was talking about, but I liked him." After several meetings, a picture formed in Keaton's mind about what Betelgeuse looked, walked, and talked like. Keaton even worked with the costume department, putting together the character's signature look.

Keaton gave himself to the role, transforming into a crude and mossy poltergeist with a penchant for the outrageous. In an interview with GQ, Alec Baldwin called Keaton "the comedy Annie Oakley" while expressing his admiration for Keaton's knack for improvisation and his commitment to embodying the feisty spirit. Betelgeuse is the antagonist that keeps the plot moving. He forces Adam and Barbara's hand, but he is also the reason the characters work together as a group to banish him from their home and the realm of the living. 

There may be more of this movie legend still to come because there has long been talk of a "Beetlejuice" sequel, and recently, Brad Pitt's Plan B production company breathed new life into the prospect of seeing Keaton return to his memorable role by picking up the project. Perhaps if fans collectively chant his name, Betelgeuse will be back.