The name of the film is the phonetic pronunciation of the lead character's name Betelgeuse who shares his name with a large red star in the constellation of Orion. Repeating this name three times is all that is required to summon him.
A typically dark and humorous Tim Burton film, most of Keaton's lines were apparently improvised on set. Notable appearances include a young Winona Ryder as Lydia Deitz.
In 1989 a cartoon series loosely based on the film was released.