Following the release of a series of Child's Play fan films, filmmaker Chris R. Notarile set his sights on Tim Burton's 1988 horror-comedy Beetlejuice and has now released a charming little short titled Betelgeuse.
In the fan film, desperate to reconnect with her love, the recently deceased, Ellie makes a bargain with the notorious ghost with the most, Betelgeuse!
A word from Notarile: "So cards on the table here, I originally wanted to make a much scarier and darker film, Heath Harper’s performance as Betelgeuse straight up made that impossible. His portrayal of the ghost with the most was just so damn funny, there was no way I could trade any of it for more scares. Thus, it became very clear to me the second we started filming that this was going to be a comedy. So I just decided to roll with it and get as many laughs in as possible. I would like to view this as world building spiritual (pun intended) successor to the 1988 film. It’s been 31 years and we have no received a single sequel despite all the constant teasing from Burton, Keaton and others involved with the franchise. And of course the Broadway play is just a retelling of the events from the original movie.
To date, the only true continuation we’ve ever had of Betelgeuse is the short lived animated series. With all that in mind, and the recent advances in our daily technologies, I thought there was plenty of new space to play around in. Of course because I am making these shorts for hair fractions of a budget, I am constantly forced to come up with creative ways to tell my stories without compromising things. The biggest and first obstacle was explaining why we aren’t visiting the eternal waiting room or any of the other familiar ghost world locations. Once I conceptualized Tammy the caseworker, and how “corporate” is trying to streamline the crossing over process, things got a lot easier. The rest of the story was just getting Betelgeuse to egg on Ellie to properly summon him.
The other main obstacle was HOW Betelgeuse planned to crossover. I initially had the marriage McGuffin again, which I instantly hated. I wanted to retread as little as possible from the original movie. Thankfully after a little thinking, I came up with the soul swap. Yes it has a similar vibe to the Lydia marriage, but I think it’s different enough not to be a total rip off. I mean let’s face it, exactly how many ways are there for a ghost to cross back over into our world? Mariah Maison delivered her first comedic performance with this project. Watching her mimic Heath Harper’s Betelgeuse her was hilarious. Llenelle Gibson also got a chance to play her first role outside of my Tiffany + Chucky series. She too was hilarious.
The entire short was filmed in two days at my home. It was a lot less stressful writing this project knowing that ghosts are canonically bound to their homes."
Betelgeuse stars Chris Callaway as Tom, Llenelle Gibson as Tammy the Caseworker, Heath Harper plays the ghost with the most, Mariah Maison as Ellie, and Ivy Votolato as Karen.
You can watch the entire fan film below!