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As Lydia Deetz, a goth teenager in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice (1988), she won critical acclaim and widespread recognition.After appearances in film and on television, Ryder continued her acting career with the cult film Heathers (1988), a controversial satire of teenage suicide and high school life that has since become a landmark teen film.She later appeared in the coming of age drama Mermaids (1990), earning a Golden Globe Award nomination, and in the same year appeared alongside Johnny Depp in Burton's dark fairy-tale Edward Scissorhands (1990), and shortly thereafter opposite Gary Oldman in Francis Ford Coppola's gothic romance Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992).
Ryder's family friends were her godfather, Timothy Leary, the Beat Movement poets Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and the science fiction novelist Philip K. In 1978, when Ryder was seven years old, she and her family relocated to Rainbow, a commune near Elk, Mendocino County, California, where they lived with seven other families on a 300-acre (120 ha) plot of land. She developed an interest in acting after her mother showed her a few movies on a screen in the family barn. The film was a success at the box office, and Ryder's performance and the overall film received mostly positive reviews from critics.
As the remote property had no electricity or television sets, Ryder began to devote her time to reading and became an avid fan of J. At age 10, Ryder and her family moved on again, this time to Petaluma, California. Ryder landed the role of Veronica Sawyer in the independent film Heathers (1988).