Death Becomes Her

( 16 )

Overview

High-concept director Robert Zemeckis applies his usual polish -- helped by an equally adept cast -- for this surprisingly gruesome and extremely funny black comedy. The film begins with narcissistic actress Madeline Meryl Streep stealing the latest in a series of potential fiancées, wimpy plastic surgeon Ernest Bruce Willis, from her ex-best friend Helen Goldie Hawn. Depressed and infuriated, Helen suffers a breakdown that lands her in a mental hospital -- in addition to a junk-food bender that seems to triple ...
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Overview

High-concept director Robert Zemeckis applies his usual polish -- helped by an equally adept cast -- for this surprisingly gruesome and extremely funny black comedy. The film begins with narcissistic actress Madeline Meryl Streep stealing the latest in a series of potential fiancées, wimpy plastic surgeon Ernest Bruce Willis, from her ex-best friend Helen Goldie Hawn. Depressed and infuriated, Helen suffers a breakdown that lands her in a mental hospital -- in addition to a junk-food bender that seems to triple her weight. When Madeline crosses paths with Helen again many years later, she is horrified to discover her once-chunky rival looking younger, slimmer and more glamorous than ever before. Fearing that Helen will try to steal Ernest back -- and dreading the thought of not having a plastic surgeon at her beck and call -- Madeline solicits the supernatural services of an exotic New Age mystic Isabella Rossellini, who sells her a potent youth elixir with the stipulation that she follow the dosage instructions to the letter... yeah, right. It appears that Helen owes her sexy comeback to the same magic formula, and the inevitable violent clash between the two well-dressed banshees leads to the realization that both women have become nearly impervious zombies, clawing at each other's throats long after the blood has run cold in their veins. Best remembered for Dick Smith's Oscar-winning makeup effects, which allow the rapidly-rotting undead femmes to toss off witty one-liners with ragged holes blasted through their bodies or spin their heads Exorcist-style. Not all the sight gags work, and Zemeckis' lighthearted treatment of such grotesque material tends to dull the satirical edge, but there are some truly inspired moments of dementia -- particularly a hilarious cameo from Sydney Pollack as a doctor who comes unglued while examining Streep who has yet to realize she's dead.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Robert Zemeckis' morbid comedy offers some good laughs with a satirical bent. Borrowing a page from the pitch-black comedic style of Tim Burton, Zemeckis uses a variety of prosthetic special effects and sight gags as the comedic impetus for the film, poking fun at image-conscious Hollywood in the process. Although Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis, and Isabella Rosselini turn in good performances and most of their bits tend to be funny, the film relies almost exclusively on make-up and special effects for its laughs. Also, the attempts at satirizing a culture obsessed with youth and beauty are half-hearted at best, considering the willingness of the high-profile cast. When Death Becomes Her veers towards horror in its last act, there's some surprisingly spine-tingling creepiness to it as well. When not overextending itself with its alternately scathing and harmless satirical moments, this non-enduring low-comedy film works well.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/26/1996
  • UPC: 096898127936
  • Original Release: 1992
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Meryl Streep Madeline Ashton
Bruce Willis Ernest Menville
Goldie Hawn Helen Sharp
Isabella Rossellini Lisle Von Rhumans
Ian Ogilvy Chagall
Adam Storke Dakota
Nancy Fish Rose
Alaina Reed Hall Psychologist
Michelle Johnson Anna
Mary Ellen Trainor Vivian Adams
William Frankfather Mr. Franklin
John Ingle Eulogist
Dan Lee Clark Lisle's Body Guard
Fabio Lisle's Body Guard
Edward J. Forsyth Dancer
Louise Rapport Older Woman at Party
Karen Rea
Carol-Ann Susi Psychiatric Patient
Bob Swaim Andy Warhol
Clement Von Franckenstein Opening Man
Petrea Burchard Opening Woman
Jim Jansen Second Man
Mimi Kennedy Second Woman
Paolo Tocha Landlord
Mark Davenport Eviction Cop
Thomas Murphy Eviction Cop
Michael Mills Police Officer
Sonia Jackson Psychiatric Patient
Jill C. Klein Psychiatric Patient
Jean Pflieger Psychiatric Patient
Debra Jo Rupp Psychiatric Patient
Kay Yamamoto Psychiatric Patient
Jacquelyn K. Koch Messenger Girl
Anya Longwell Chagall Receptionist
Stuart Mabray Chagall Security
Colleen Morris Starlet
Jonathan Silverman Jay Norman
Meg Wittner Woman at Book Party
Carrie Yazel Girl at Dakota's
Michael A. Nickles Lisle's Body Guard
John Enos Lisle's Body Guard
Joel Beeson Lisle's Body Guard
Ron Stein Elvis
Bonnie Cahoon Greta Garbo
Stephanie Anderson Marilyn Monroe
Eric Clark James Dean
Dave Brock Jim Morrison
Lydia Peterkoch Blonde with Jim Morrison
Phillip Cooper Coroner
Ernest Harada Coroner
Kevin Caldwell Medical Technician
Alex P. Hernandez Medical Technician
Donna Ekholdt Sobbing Nun
Tammy Gantz Sobbing Nun
Melissa Martin Sobbing Nun
Jeff Adkins Dancer
Cheryl Baxter Dancer
Cameron English Dancer
Bob Gaynor Dancer
Don Hesser Dancer
Michael Higgins Dancer
Ken Hughes Dancer
Kenneth Knaff Dancer
Glean Lewis Dancer
Keith McDaniel Dancer
Charles McGowan Dancer
Regan Patno Dancer
Lacy Darryl Phillips Dancer
Matt Sergott Dancer
Paul Thorpe Dancer
Sergio Trujillo Dancer
Randy Crenshaw Singer
Jon Joyce Singer
Jerry Whitman Singer
Sydney Pollack Doctor
Technical Credits
Robert Zemeckis Director, Producer
Arthur Schmidt Editor
John Berger Set Decoration/Design
Joan Bradshaw Co-producer
Jackie Carr Set Decoration/Design
Rick Carter Production Designer
Dean Cundey Cinematographer
Dick Smith Makeup
Martin Donovan Screenwriter
Alec Gillis Special Effects
Joanna Johnston Costumes/Costume Designer
William B. Kaplan Sound/Sound Designer
David Koepp Screenwriter
Elizabeth Lapp Set Decoration/Design
Masako Masuda Set Decoration/Design
Lauren Polizzi Set Decoration/Design
Ken Ralston Special Effects
Karen Rea Casting
Alan Silvestri Score Composer
Steve Starkey Producer
Raymond Stella Camera Operator
Jim Teegarden Art Director
Tom Woodruff Jr. Special Effects
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    All this time to see that!?

    I have to say I'm surprised at the "very good" rating that this movie has gotten from reviewers. I was horribly disappointed. The story was weak, acting was subpar, and just when it could have been funny, it fell flat. Goldie Hawn turned in a catatonic performance as a jilted best friend, and Bruce Willis was just plain creepy and made the whole movie hard to watch. Not that I wanted to endure any more, but the ending left you wonder where the rest of the movie was. And a little warning that we were going to see "so much" of Isabella Rossellini would have been appreciated. All I can say is that I just purchased an $8.99 coaster.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Wonderful funny movie

    I don't even like sci-fi films but this one is so funny!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Fun Movie

    Meryl and Goldie look gorgeous and are very funny in this slapstick comedy

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    One of my FAVORITES

    I love this movie...Its so funny. When she falls of the stairs was so funny and she scares the guy. Too funny. I am watching it now!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Outrageously funny!!

    A great movie...one of the best I've seen!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Funny!!

    This movie was hilarious! Went and saw it when i was younger and it was sooo funny how the girls in the end have to live together forever. First class acting!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2011

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    Posted August 1, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2008

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    Posted April 12, 2011

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    Posted May 13, 2009

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    Posted September 11, 2010

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    Posted April 29, 2009

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    Posted November 30, 2008

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    Posted January 24, 2009

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