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Beetlejuice is a haunted house story told from the point of view of two ghosts who suck at haunting. After the dead Maitlands fail to scare away the hipster family who bought their house, they enlist the help of Beetlejuice, a deranged freelance poltergeist who's also one of the best characters Tim Burton ever created.

He is also the ghost of Batman, after he was killed by Scarecrow.

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If you look closely, you'll notice they have similar eyes.

We know what you're thinking. "What are you, nuts? Beetlejuice is a completely different person than Batman. We don't see him fighting crime or even having similar values, and not once does he do that cool thing where he says something and then when you look away for half a second he disappears. In fact, he seems more like the kind of person Batman would pummel into evil clown pudding while splitting his attention between the fight and reminding Alfred to pick up cold cuts." But trust me that this isn't just the byproduct of bingeing Michael Keaton movies for three straight days. I actually have a point to make here.

Tim Burton's Batman Movies Are Their Own Bat-Verse

First, we need you to realize that Tim Burton's Batman and Tim Burton's Beetlejuice take place in the same Bat-Keaton-verse -- which is different from the Bat-Kilmer and Bat-Clooney-verses. We've pointed out before that the Batman series went through some major changes between Returns and Forever. When Tim Burton left to pursue a career as a coked-up man-Muppet, Joel Schumacher changed the tone of the franchise from "dark deco" to "cartoon impossible." Everything from the layout of Gotham City to Batman's jawline became softer and more kid-friendly.

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Harvey Dent got two new faces, neither of which were black.

Because these movies take place in a different universe, and the two Keaton Batmans (Batmen?) stand alone.

This isn't how most people see the timeline, but we're pretty sure that's just because "reboot" wasn't a word in 1995. Batman's been officially rebooted twice since Clooney battled Schwarzenegger on a diamond-powered spaceship, so is it really so crazy that they snuck another one in there when we weren't paying attention?

This Universe Is The Same One As Beetlejuice's

And if the Burton batfilms are one universe, it's likely (or at least possible) that it's the same universe as Beetlejuice's. Just look at the fashion:

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As you'll see in a minute, Beets dressing just like Max Schreck helps our theory even more.

Or the interior design trends:

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No way there's more than one person who thinks that looks cool.

Or just take a look at this shot of Beetlejuice's home, from the opening of the Saturday morning cartoon series:

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Look familiar?

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In fact, it's hard to find a shot in the entire movie where Batman would look out of place.

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"But Cracked, this is just because both Beetlejuice and Batman were directed by Tim Burton, and this dark, neo-Gothic style was his thing in the '90s. Are you saying that every '90s Tim Burton movie takes place in the DC Universe?" Not for sure, but hey, it's possible, right? Would this guy really look out of place in a Batman comic?

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Just imagine him being played by Cillian Murphy.

So yeah, Beetlejuice is a ghost in the DC Universe, and the only reason Superman didn't save Alec and Geena from drowning at the beginning of the film is that at that same moment, Lois Lane needed help getting something out of the garbage disposal.

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Beetlejuice Is Everything Batman Fears

A key part of Beetlejuice mythology is that the way you die affects your existence in the afterlife. That's why in that waiting room, we see a guy with a chicken bone in his neck ...

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... a sawed-in-half lady from a magic show ...

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.... and a man we affectionately nicknamed "Mr. Squished-by-a-Mack-Truck."

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In fact, the only reason the Maitlands aren't walking around like they just climbed out of a sinking car is that Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis are big enough stars to be able to say, "No, I don't want to be soaking wet for this entire shoot, thanks." But Beetlejuice stands out. He has weird clowny makeup, is rotting (despite the fact that none of the other ghosts seem to decompose), has no morals whatsoever, and loves terrorizing innocent people. Batman, on the other hand, battles evils clowns, refuses to take anyone's life, pretends to be a fun-loving playboy in his off time, and uses fear as a weapon in his fight against crime. Beetlejuice is therefore the evil Batman -- he's everything the Dark Knight fears, both about himself and the world, rolled into one wacky, loud, prank-happy sonofabitch.

So imagine Batman battling the Scarecrow, when suddenly the villain manages to dose our hero with his newest concoction: a drug that doesn't just expose you to your fears, but also forces you to perceive yourself as the scariest thing you can imagine. Bruce Wayne then becomes a mish-mash of everything he fears: an undead clown who parties hard and can't help but try to destroy families. Then, right as Batman is overcome with the kind of existential terror that can only come from watching yourself transform into the things you hate and fear the most, he dies.

Which leaves us with the last question: Why the name change? Where does the name "Beetlejuice" come from? Well, as we can see in the movie, he actually spells it "Betelgeuse," like the star.

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It's his right shoulder.

Betelgeuse is a star in the constellation Orion. And Orion, according to legend, died when he was poisoned. By one of his enemies.

So here's what happened: A dose of Scarecrow's fear toxin turned Batman into the embodiment of his worst foe ever. Then he rose from the dead to terrorize the innocent as a vengeful poltergeist-for-hire ... forever. Okay, look, even if you don't buy our theory, please, somebody go write the script for this Batman movie.

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Find out the worst thing ever done to the Beetlejuice franchise in 6 Insane Sequels That Almost Ruined Classic Movies, and learn how Batman is a homicidal lunatic in The 6 Most Brutal Murders Committed by Batman.

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