Death Becomes Her (1992) — A Tales from the Crypt extra

“‘Til death do us part! Well, you girls are dead. And I’m parting.”

Justin’s rating: Stop pricking fingers with a dagger, lady!

Justin’s review: I’ve often somberly pondered the cruelty inflicted by Hollywood upon aging actresses. Women find that their career’s life expectancy is much lower than men. For the most part, once they lose their youthful looks, they’re no longer needed. After all, there’s always some other young pretty thing waiting out on the casting couch.

One would imagine that with all of this pressure to look young, starlets would do just about anything to stay perky and flawless. Even… murder? If you believe Death Becomes Her, it’s a legitimate motive for homicide.

Madeline (Meryl Streep) is an actress on the wane, increasingly desperate to stay young. Helen (Goldie Hawn) is an author who’s been treated badly one too many times by her so-called “friend.” And Ernest (Bruce Willis) is the sad sack of a plastic surgeon who’s caught in the middle of this twisted rivalry.

Their mutual desperation drives both women to taking a magical potion that makes a person immortal and youthful. Oh, and it also creates the perfect opportunity to become an undead zombie with a revenge fixation. Before long, Madeline’s got a wonky neck and Helen’s got a giant hole blown into her torso and Ernest is finding his body-patching skills in high demand.

Death Becomes Her is not only an unofficial Tales from the Crypt entry (seriously, look it up) and a testbed for some of the special effects used in Jurassic Park (seriously, look it up), but it’s a pretty absurd ride through catty fights, lethal obsession, and the logistics of immortality with faulty bodies. I mean, everyone says they’d want to live forever, but that comes with a huge asterisk. You need a body that’s not going to require a literal paint job, and you probably don’t want to be stuck in a world with people who are as nasty as these two women are.

I had some reservations upon seeing the “dark comedy” label for this movie (which usually means “you’re not going to laugh a single time”), but I genuinely enjoyed this flick. It’s just the right balance of weird and interesting and humorous. And while the special effects are no longer the selling point that they were back in 1992, the imagination behind them is something I didn’t mind spending a couple hours exploring.

Didja notice?

  • If your movie isn’t a musical, please please don’t open with a full musical number
  • Always practice your greeting face
  • Well that betrayal moved fast
  • Vodka first thing in the morning
  • Yes, let’s paint the dead!
  • “She married a brilliant surgeon and turned him into an undertaker.”
  • Excessive jewelry can replace a shirt
  • She’s really thought this murder through
  • That’s a whole lot of alcohols
  • “You’re a boozy flaccid clown.”
  • That’s quite the backwards head
  • “The bone protrusion through the skin, that can’t be a good sign.”
  • “These are the moments that make life worth living.”
  • The water pouring out of Helen
  • “I can see right through you ha ha ha!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s