Death Becomes Her (1992) – Robert Zemeckis

The next ‘zombie’ title to be featured in DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies is the Robert Zemeckis big budget effects spectacular, so amazing in fact that the scored the film an Academy Award.

Starring Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis and Isabella Rossellini, the film is a dark comedy that deals with age, beauty, infidelity, revenge, love, murder and death.

Bruce Willis is Ernest, a promising plastic surgeon who was engaged to Helen (Hawn), until he meets her friend, a fading stage and screen star, Madeline (Streep) and falls for her. They marry, and leave Helen heartbroken and slightly crazy.

But when we catch up to them in later years, Ernest and Madeline’s marriage is on the rocks, they’re both unhappy, and Madeline can’t seem to keep the ravages of age at bay, Cue Helen, who looks fantastic, and wants to tear the two apart and exact her revenge, but Madeline has just discovered an actual fountain of youth provided by the stunning, Lisle (Rossallini).

But each dose of this youthful potion has a cost, and this trio is going to have a hilarious, and dark time before the story is over.

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There’s some funny dialogue, and some over the top moments, and some ‘accidental;’ deaths – I guess when the characters come back, they could technically be argued to be zombies.

In fact with both Helen and Madeline dead, they realize they may need Ernest’s skills to keep them looking good, and he may have to take the potion to look after them, forever, and ever.

The story moves along pretty quickly, there’s lots of asides, lots of subtle visual gags, and Willis is actually a lot of fun in this playing against type. The effects look great, and while some of them have aged, some are still surprisingly effective, and all of it makes for a rather darkly comic tale.

Hawn and Streep make a good onscreen pairing, and it’s fun seeing them give their all in a genre that they don’t usually foray into. And Rossillini is simply stunning, of course.

And while this isn’t your typical zombie movie, some of the characters are referenced as the living dead… so I guess, technically it falls into that category.

It also makes for a nice break from the blood and the gore that have been splattered across the blog of late. Consequently, it ended up being fun, and refreshing, and Zemeckis usually makes pretty entertaining films.

So if bloody zombies aren’t your thing, but you want some dark humor and A-listers, this one may be for you. But if not, pick up a copy of DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies and find something supernatural and macabre to watch tonight.

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