Black SplatDeath Becomes Her (1992)

"Engarde, Bitch!"

Death Becomes Her - Madeline and Helen face off with shovels

Description: Surly challenge delivered by Helen Sharp (Goldie Hawn) to Madeline Ashley (Meryl Streep) as they pummel each other with shovels in the supernatural black comedy Death Becomes Her (1992).

Madeline Ashley is an aging actress whose reputation in the theater is fading. When her writer friend Helen Sharp brings her fiancee Ernest Manville (Bruce Willis), a plastic surgeon backstage to see her after a performance, the sly Madeline steals Ernest away. Devastated Helen becomes depressed and overweight as Ernest and Madeline live a life of supposed romance.

"She was a homebreaker. She was a man-eater. And she was a 'bad' actress." - Helen

Fourteen years later, Madeline receives an invitation to a book signing party hosted by long-time rival Helen Sharp, who is now thin, vibrant and beautiful and the author of the book Forever Young. Helen uses the opportunity to seduce Ernest (now a mortician) and get him back in her life.

The two plot to stage an accident so Ernest can marry Helen. While Madeline stands at the top of the stairs, Ernest pushes her and she tumbles down, breaking her neck. But to Earnest surprise, she springs back to life, although her head is now having a hard time staying in place. Soon after, Madeline discovers the plot to kill her and fires a shotgun through Helen's stomach, as she calmly proclaims, “These are the moments that make life worth living.”

Death Becomes Her - Helen shot in stomach

Death Becomes Her - Helen shot in stomach

Unfortunately, Madeline discovers that Helen (now with a hole in her torso) is still alive, because, like Madeline, Helen drank an immortality potion procured from the same mysterious woman (Isabella Rossellini) who warned, “Take care of your self. You and your body will be together a long time. Take care of it.”

The vivacious and youthful Lisle revealed that she was actually 71 years old, and the only reason she maintains her beauty is by drinking from a bottle that contains a virtual fountain of youth.

"Drink that potion, and you'll never grow even one day older. Don't drink it, and continue to watch yourself rot." - Lisle

When Madeline and Helen realize they are both immortal, the two frustrated women begin to slam each other with shovels ("Engarde, Bitch!") to release their pent up rage, but after a bitter cat fight, the girl's set aside their differences.

Since Madeline and Helen are now immortal, they will need someone to service their bodies, and so they enlist the aid of Ernest Menville, Helen’s undertaker fiancé to cover up the damage done to their bodies. But immortality is not for him, so the girls deliver him to Lisle hoping she can convince Ernest to drink the potion so he will be on hand for their cosmetic needs forever more.

"Wrinkled, wrinkled little star... hope they never see the scars." - Madeline Ashton

Lisle Von Rhuman: Go on... Drink it... It is the completion of your life's work. You gave other people youth and wasted your own! Drink. And you will be able to work again forever! Drink... drink, Dr. Menville. You owe yourself another chance! Drink! It's the right choice! The *only* choice! Drink! SEMPRE VIVE! LIVE FOREVER!
Ernest Menville: Then what?
Lisle Von Rhuman: What?
Ernest Menville: Then what happens?
Lisle Von Rhuman: What?
Ernest Menville: I don't want to live forever. I mean, it sounds good, but what am I gonna do? What if I get bored?
Lisle Von Rhuman: What?
Ernest Menville: And what if I get lonely? Who am I gonna hang around with, Madeleine and Helen? Lisle: But you'll never grow old!
Ernest Menville: Yes, but everybody else will! I'll have to watch everyone around me die. I don't think this is right. This is not a dream. This is a nightmare!

Initially, Ernest reluctantly agrees to help the ladies because he didn’t want to find out “What they do to soft, bald, overweight Republicans in prison?” But in the end, he escapes their clutches. 37 years later, Madeline and Helen attend Ernest's funeral where they learn that he lived a happy life, got married twice and had earned his own sort of immortaliy by leaving behind six children.

Death Becomes Her - Madeline and Helen go to pieces

Exiting the church, both women stumble on some steps and the impact from the fall causes their still living parts to scatter. As Helen's decapitated head lays on the ground, she asks Madeline's head, "Do you remember where you parked the car?"

Death Becomes Her - Movie Poster

Death Becomes Her (1992) - Movie Poster

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