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Death Becomes Her


Year: 1992 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Death Becomes Her

Death Becomes Her finds Zemeckis at his most unabashedly camp, yet simultaneously dabbling in body horror with hints of noir. He still has an eye for visual flair, as in a Back to the Future-esque opening oner that functions as a comedic and seamless bit of front-loaded exposition, immediately showing the dynamic of our three leads – one’s self-absorption, another’s bitter jealousy, the last’s oblivious yearning; or in Isabella Rossellini’s surreal mansion, populated by half-naked, indistinguishable Dick, Tom, and Harrys (literally), everything coolly lit with garish colours. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

This goofy ‘90s relic features a plot too unique to risk spoiling, involving a plastic surgeon commissioned only to beautify recently deceased celebrities and, eventually, a supernatural Monkey’s Paw scenario. It’s a satire on vapid L.A. culture and arguably sexist in its choice of target; but then character names like Dr. Menville or Madeline – as in Madeleine, as in the unattainable “perfect” woman in Vertigo – indicate something more knowing. Bruce Willis is in that strange part of his career where he genuinely tried some ‘acting’ (see also: Pulp Fiction and especially Twelve Monkeys) and Meryl Streep turns in perhaps her best performance, overdone and hammy as it is – look no further than her delicious taunting of Willis in simply repeating the word “flaccid!” The gags run endless, whether it’s a health-conscious bar order (“Evian, please. No ice.”) or an instant downpour of rain that falls on Streep after being rejected by her boytoy. Or this interaction: “She’s dead, sir. They took her to the morgue.” / “The morgue? She’ll be furious!” A delight

Chris Mantafounis

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Screenings of this film:

1992/1993 Summer Term (35mm)
1992/1993 Summer Term (35mm)
2023/2024 Autumn Term (35mm)