A sculpture that, in Tim Burton’s film Beetlejuice (1988), comes to life and attacks its maker, fictional artist Delia Deetz (Catherine O’Hara), is on the move yet again. The sculpture—an abstract form reminiscent of a windblown tree or nine-fingered hand standing atop a cubic plinth—has been stolen from the set of Beetlejuice 2 in Vermont.
According to a statement by Vermont State Police, workers on the film reported the 150-pound sculpture missing on 17 July, believing it had been taken from the cemetery in the town of East Corinth sometime between the evening of 13 July and that morning. In a tweet, the police force cheekily stated: “We tried saying the name of this stolen statue three times, but it didn’t come back!” (In the Beetlejuice film and other franchise properties, the titular character, a supernatural trickster from the underworld, is summoned when someone says his name three times in quick succession.)
The sculpture in question figures prominently in the original film, nearly falling on top of O’Hara’s sculptor character in an early scene and, later, coming to life and using its branches to restrain her. The beloved comic actor is reprising her role as Delia Deetz in the sequel, which Burton is directing and whose producers include an actor who is an aspiring sculptor in real life—Brad Pitt—and mega-collector David Geffen. Michael Keaton is returning in the title role.
In addition to the abstract sculpture, another prop was stolen from the film’s set. According to the Vermont State Police, in the early morning of 14 July, a driver pulled an old GMC pickup truck up to a large lamp post on the set featuring a pumpkin-shaped adornment. The lamp post was removed from its base, laid in the truck’s bed under a tarpaulin and driven away “at a high rate of speed”.
East Corinth was also used for exterior scenes in the original Beetlejuice, though the film was set in fictional Winter River, Connecticut. Earlier this month, the town and the movie set were spared the worst of catastrophic flooding that devastated many parts of Vermont, including several arts organisations in the region.
Beetlejuice 2 is currently scheduled for release on 6 September 2024, though that may be delayed as filming is currently on hold in Vermont due to the ongoing Screen Actors Guild—American Federation of Television and Radio Artists strike, the A.V. Club reported.