Sharks, female convicts, Christopher Lee… what more could a fright fan ask for?
DEATH BECOMES HER
• RELEASE DATE: Available April 26th on Blu-ray
• WRITTEN BY: Martin Donovan, David Koepp
• DIRECTED BY: Robert Zemeckis
• STARRING: Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis, Goldie Hawn
Here we go, creeps — a real milestone moment here in the ol’ Crypt o’ XIII… we are going to get someone else to talk a bit about the feature at hand (I know, I can scarcely believe I’m going to shut up for a second or two either); in this case, the 1992 laughs and lacerations pic DEATH BECOMES HER! So let’s put our claws, flippers… whatever the hell you may have together for my wife Hatelyn XIII!
Daniel XIII. So why don’t ya give my loyal coffin club the rundown on ol’ DBH?
Hatelyn XIII. OK, this flick features a long standing rivalry between two women (one an actress and the other an author) that culminates in a battle for the affections of one man (a plastic surgeon-come-undertaker). They also just happen to take a magic potion that grants them immortality. Their competition rages on… and they both end up as battle-damaged pseudo-zombies whose war rages on. [Dodgy effects, an overbearing pink and green color palette, horrible celebrity impersonations, and a cameo by F’n Fabio round out the fracas – DXIII]
DXIII. Probably based on a true story. Anyway, how do you think the film has aged?
HXIII. Well, the fat suit Goldie Hawn wears is pretty terrible… It makes her face look like one of those dogs whose eyes are about to pop out of its head. The city matte in the beginning looked a lot better on VHS when the resolution was low. It looks pretty phony now [DXIII here — what my wife meant to say is, it looks like a rain soaked piece of dog s—t].
DXIII. It bugs me that Goldie Hawn has red hair in this film and Meryl Streep has blonde hair. What are your thoughts on this world shattering, hot-button issue?
HXIII. I never even thought about it, and I don’t think about it now.
DXIII. Anyway, I know this is one of your fav flicks. How do you feel the film looks on Blu-ray?
HXIII. The picture looks OK. It looks like I remember it, if that makes any sense.
DXIII. It doesn’t. Based just on the transfer itself, would you say this is a must have if you already own the film on DVD or VHS?
HXIII. VHS? Yes. DVD, no.
Well there you have it, creeps. I would like to mention before we wrap this one up that the Blu-ray does contain a few bonus features that fans of the film will doubtless enjoy: two making of featurettes (one new and one archival), a photo gallery, and a trailer.
Let’s bid ol’ Hatelyn a fond adieu and take a look at her rating for ol’ DEATHy-baby:
THE MILLION EYES OF SUMURU/THE GIRL FROM RIO
• RELEASE DATE: Available April 26th on Blu-ray
• WRITTEN BY: Kevin Kavanagh (MILLION EYES), Harry Alan Towers (MILLION EYES/RIO)
• DIRECTED BY: Lindsay Shonteff (MILLION EYES), Jess Franco (RIO)
• STARRING: Shirley Eaton, Frankie Avalon, George Nader, Richard Wyler, George Sanders
Now this is going to be a swingin’ ol’ time, my creeps: a new double feature from those hep cats o’er at Blue Underground, featuring Sax Rohmer’s (creator of Fu-Manchu) femme fatale Sumuru! Let’s see if this happening really freaks me out as we dive into THE MILLION EYES OF SUMURU and THE GIRL FROM RIO!
Starting the whole affair is THE MIILION EYES OF SUMURU. When femme fatale Sumuru (Eaton) gets the hot idea to replace male leaders of the world with members of her crack squad of sexiful female assassins (the fu–?!!), it’s up to a couple of smart-ass secret agents to foil her monstrous machinations. Acres of wise are cracked, men are crushed to death by thighs that are like iron wrapped in velvet, and Frankie Avalon throws some grenades around.
Never ever taking itself seriously for one single second, THE MILLION EYES OF SUMURU is an absolute blast. Packed fat with garish criminal headquarters, guns that turn people to statues, sadistic female assassins, and a lead villain that gives Barbarella a run for her money in frequency of costume changes, this film is a fast paced, ultra-entertaining slice of cinematic fried gold. And just when you think things can’t get any better, a kimono-bedecked Klaus Kinski shows up (is he supposed to be Asian?!!) and sprays everything with champagne like a booze orgasm. Simply put, it’s like all of the most outlandish elements you would find in the early James Bond pictures, but cranked up to the nth degree (hell, Sumuru herself, Shirley Easton, appeared in GOLDFINGER)!
Moving on to THE GIRL FROM RIO, we find things have taken a surreal turn right from frame one as we are greeted by a woman wearing only some mesh and a close up of a dude’s armpit followed by out of focus, smoke drenched sexery. As ol’ Jess Franco helmed this picture, I say we are right on course.
After a bunch of planes landing, massages, manicures and other assorted nonsense, we are re-introduced, regardless of what the dubbing would lead you to believe, to ol’ Sumuru (a returning Eaton) and her crack squad of female assassins (one of whom may be Ziggy Stardust), this time dressed in full on super-hero outfits, who rule the City of Femina and wish to exert control over all the men on Earth.
And then we are whisked away to scenes of dancing and caricature drawing set to a song whose sole lyric appears to be “A-dwee dwee buh ba dee”. Oh, and then we get to the plot.
When Jeff Sutton (Wyler) lands in Rio with a suitcase full of dough, he immediately becomes a target for local gangster Masius (Sanders). Before long Sumuru snatches Sutton and ignites a war for the money. There’s a kidnapped woman that needs rescuing somewhere in there as well. Carnival masked gangs, see-thru outfits, and more bare breasts than you think would be in this all flash (literally in some cases) before our eyes.
To put it plainly, I enjoyed this set more than anything I’ve seen in recent memory; it’s colorful, fun, and full of comic book style action that just struck a chord with me in a big way. If I absolutely had to choose which film out of the two I enjoyed more, I’d go with THE GIRL FROM RIO, as Franco’s aesthetics match my own (as anyone that knows me will attest), but both films are amazingly enjoyable, and if you enjoy vintage sex-laden sci-fi classics such as BARBARELLA or zany spy spoofs such as the OUR MAN FLINT series, this is just what the doctor ordered!