Special Effects: Beetlejuice

  • Thursday, December 5, 2019 / 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM (PST)
  • Pollock Theater
  • Screening Format: DCP (92 Minutes)
  • With Ve Neill (makeup artist)
  • Director: Tim Burton
    Starring: Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder

In Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice (1988), Barbara and Adam Maitland (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) find themselves trapped as spirits haunting their old home after their untimely death in a car accident. To make matters worse, the residence has now been sold to the unbearable Deetze family (Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones, and Winona Ryder). When the Maitlands have little success in scaring the new residents away, they turn to rogue “bio-exorcist” Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), an unpredictable spirit whose “help” quickly turns dangerous. Burton’s classic film was lauded for its innovative makeup and costuming, and its macabre tone.

Oscar-winning makeup artist Ve Neill joined moderator Rachael Ball (Film and Media Studies, UCSB) for a post-screening discussion.


Ve Headshot

Makeup Artist Ve Neill

Ve Neill has received eight Academy Award nominations for makeup, winning awards for Beetlejuice, Mrs. Doubtfire and Ed Wood. She received Emmy awards for her work on Pee-wee’s Playhouse and The Shining, and a BAFTA for Pirates of the Caribbean. She was the first recipient of the Hollywood Foreign Press “Makeup Artist of the Year” award. Ve has created space travelers for Star Trek the Motion Picture and the hit comedy Galaxy Quest; rock and roll vampires for The Lost Boys; and visions of the afterlife for Beetlejuice. She transformed Johnny Depp into Edward Scissorhands, Jack Sparrow, Ed Wood, and Sweeney Todd, and turned Robin Williams into Mrs. Doubtfire.

Ve has worked on some of the largest movie franchises in the world, including Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Amazing Spiderman and The Hunger Games. Three films showcasing her work were released in 2018: Shock and Awe starring Woody Harrelson and James Marsden, A Star is Born starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, and the biopic film Welcome to Marwen, starring Steve Carrell and Leslie Mann. Ve currently serves as Director of Education at Cinema Makeup School.


Moderator Rachael Ball

Rachael Ball is a PhD student in the Film and Media Studies department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her current project centers around bodily special effects technologies broadly conceived, and her research interests include transnational genre film, in particular global exploitation and horror, as well as conspiracy and true crime media.

 This event is sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center.

Special Effects

Cinema, in its essence, is a special effect. From the medium’s first days, filmmakers have used cutting edge-technologies, physical skill, and world-class craftsmanship to dazzle audiences and keep movies spectacular. The Carsey-Wolf Center’s fall 2019 series Special Effects invites audiences to explore the diverse history of special-effects cinema through a series of remarkable films, spanning Hollywood classics, CGI blockbusters, and previously unseen documentary footage. Expanding on traditional definitions of the term “special effects,” this series investigates the craft of special effects through iconic cinema makeup and costuming, digital image manipulation, practical stunts, and color film processing.