[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/death_becomes_her_6734.jpg]]

Imagine, for a moment, that one drink of a simple elixir could make you immortal. You would never need to worry about aging or dying; the elixir would make you young and beautiful forever, which would put you in [[BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy some very good company]]. This only has one catch: After ten years, you must "disappear" to [[TheMasquerade make sure no one figures out you've become immortal]].

Now imagine that your biggest romantic rival -- the person who stole away the love of your life years ago -- has already become immortal. Of course you'd take the elixir yourself!

Oh, and [[NowYouTellMe one last thing]]: Take very good care of your body, because you'll be using it for [[WhoWantsToLiveForever a very long time]]...

''Death Becomes Her'', a 1992 dark comedy directed by Creator/RobertZemeckis for Creator/UniversalPictures, stars the trio of Creator/GoldieHawn, Creator/MerylStreep, and Creator/BruceWillis as three people trapped in a love triangle that eventually turns murderous -- if the people being murdered could actually die, anyway. The film won an UsefulNotes/AcademyAward for Best Visual Effects.
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!! ''Death Becomes Her'' contains examples of the following tropes:
* AbsurdlySharpClaws: In one scene, Madeline leaves scratch-marks on a marble column.
* AnAesop: At the end, no one knows who Ernest Menville was before he turned 50. He became famous, achieved success, and found true love ''after'' 50. ''That'' is the true way to live forever.
* AesopAmnesia: After hearing the touching eulogy about "living forever" (by being remembered by your loved ones), Helen and Madeline... completely miss the point, and deride him for not having achieved "true" immortality like them.
* TheAlcoholic:
** In the present day, Ernest can no longer use his cosmetic surgery skills on living patients as a result of his drinking. It's implied his bad marriage is to blame.
** Helen's plan to kill Madeline hinged on [[MakeItLookLikeAnAccident making it look like a drunk driving accident]].
* AlphaBitch: Implied with Madeline, not so much when she's a WhiteDwarfStarlet.
* AmusingInjuries: This film has the most disturbing catalogue of such injuries this side of a Creator/TexAvery cartoon.
* AndThenWhat: Ernest wonders this when [[WhoWantsToLiveForever offered immortality]]. What's he supposed to ''do'' for the rest of eternity? What if he gets bored? And why would he want to be stuck with Madeline and Helen forever?
* AnswersToTheNameOfGod: "My god!" "Thank you."
* AnythingButThat: "I want to talk about... Madeline Ashton." ''[cries of anguish from Helen's psychotherapy group members]''
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking:
-->'''Helen Sharp, regarding Madeline Ashton:''' She was a home-breaker. She was a man-eater. And she was a ''[[BadBadActing bad actress]]''.
** This is doubly hilarious when you watch the film and find out that ''Creator/MerylStreep'' -- the world's finest actress, by general agreement -- [[IronyAsSheIsCast plays Madeline Ashton]].
** [[ITakeOffenseToThatLastOne It's also the only insult that really pisses Madeline off.]]
* ArtisticLicenseBiology: There's some {{Squick}} if you [[FridgeLogic think about it]]. Helen no longer has a spine to hold her upright where the hole was blown in her - but she continues to move as if she does. If the writers considered this the way they did Madeline's head, it would throw off the rest of the story[[note]]not to mention a budget-killing FX nightmare at the time[[/note]], so it's just better to leave it be as presented in the film.
* AudibleGleam: Of sorts. Madeline's breasts lift and set with audible pops.
* BatmanGambit: Helen's plan to murder Madeline relies on Madeline inviting her over for dinner. This becomes a moot point thanks to Ernest.
* BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy: Music/ElvisPresley, Creator/MarilynMonroe, Creator/AndyWarhol, Creator/JamesDean, and [[Music/TheDoors Jim Morrison]] are among several noted "dead" celebrities seen in the gathering of immortals. Creator/GretaGarbo is also mentioned as being among their ranks.
* BerserkButton:
** For Ernest: "Flaccid!"
** For Madeline: "Cheap!" Madeline had already had the upper hand on Ernest -- had she ignored his "Cheap!" remark, she'd have never fallen down the stairs.
* BettyAndVeronica: Helen (a shy, timid Betty in the beginning of the movie) is desperately afraid her fiance, Ernest, will fall for Madeline (Helen's childhood friend, a flashy actress, and a definite Veronica). Depending on how you define the roles, though, they become less distinct after the first fifteen minutes of the movie. [[ComicBook/{{Etrigan}} Helen becomes more like Madeline and then Madeline, too, becomes more like Madeline.]]
* BlackComedy:
** Damn straight -- and poor Helen gets the worst of it. [[spoiler:She loses men to Madeline, becomes so depressed and downtrodden that she is institutionalized and obsessed with revenge on a woman for shit that started during high school, and gets murdered by having a hole blown through most of her body... and for what? So she can spend eternity as a disembodied head.]] Someone give that girl a time machine so she can erase her own birth from ever happening.
** The doctor who takes Madeline's vital signs after her tumble down the stairs, who's initially skeptical about her "revival", [[{{Irony}} ends up needing to be revived himself and dies shortly after]].
* BlahBlahBlah: Madeline's response to the preacher at Ernest Menville's funeral service when he tells the gathered about how Ernest has found eternal life and that he was a man who would live forever.
* BlessedWithSuck: Shortly after finding out about each other's immortality, Helen and Madeline try to kill each other. They are stuck in their broken, battered corpses for (it is implied) eternity. They use undertakers' techniques just to keep themselves looking and moving like real people -- [[LiteralMetaphor but their bodies eventually fall apart]].
* BlondeBrunetteRedhead: See picture. Raven-haired Lisle could also count.
* BlownAcrossTheRoom: Madeline does this to Helen.
* BodyHorror: Many of the AmusingInjuries throughout the movie fall under this. Though mostly it's PlayedForLaughs, when you think about living with all of those injuries, artificially masked, forever. By the time of the movie's ending, almost 40 years after the climax, both Mad and Hel are reduced to rotting corpses patching themselves up with paint and glue.
* {{Bookends}}:
** The movie opens on Madeline's head on the cover of a playbill laying on the ground at the entrance to a theater. [[spoiler: The movie ends with Madeline's ''actual head'' on the ground at the entrance of a church.]]
** Whereas Madeline's ''first'' downfall was her being pushed down a flight of stairs by Ernest, her ''final'' downfall [[spoiler: was the result of being pulled ''down'' with Helen on her final flight of stairs after refusing to help her as she is about to tumble down said stairs first.]]
* BrickJoke: Ernest mentions that since makeup doesn't properly adhere to dead skin, he has to use flesh-coloured spray paint on cadavers. [[spoiler: After being physically dead for 37 years, Mad and Hel need to carry some around to cover their decaying flesh. One of them drops some, which Hel trips on and takes Mad with her down a flight of stairs.]] Falling down a flight of stairs is another brick joke as well, with one party deciding ''not'' to help the other from taking a tumble.
* CameBackWrong: Type 4. Technically, Helen and Madeline die, as they are clinically dead (no pulse, cold temperature) after being shot with a shotgun and pushed down the stairs, respectively.
* TheCameo: Creator/SydneyPollack is the first doctor Madeline sees after her stairs accident.
* CentralTheme: WhoWantsToLiveForever
* ChekhovsGun:
** Ernest is seen trying to throw scalpels at a dartboard early in the film. He does poorly, presumably due to the years of alcoholism giving him shaky hands. Later on, after having one of his hands rejuvenated to display the powers of the potion, he throws a knife with perfect accuracy just when he needs to.
** The gun cabinet in Ernest and Madeline's house is a literal example. We see an occasional shot of it throughout the film. Madeline later takes a shotgun from the cabinet and uses it to blow a hole in Helen.
* ChewingTheScenery: From three actors you'd ''least'' expect to: Streep, Willis and Hawn. Of the three, Streep is not only chewing the scenery, but she's having a scenery banquet.
* CrazyCatLady: Helen.
* DeathByCameo: The doctor played by Creator/SydneyPollack apparently suffered a heart attack when trying to get a second opinion about Madeline's condition, but then realized Madeline is indeed dead, or undead.
* DeathByFallingOver: To be fair, there was a long flight of marble stairs involved...
* DeathGlare: Madeline and Helen when Ernest deliberately drops the potion.
** Lisle gives Madeline one when she guesses her age as 38; Mad quickly guesses 28 and 23 afterward.[[note]]For the record, Rossellini was 39 at time of filming.[[/note]]
* DecoyProtagonist: A rare third-act switch, from Mad and Hel's feud and becoming immortal to Ed trying desperately to get away from them both.
* DescriptionCut: Helen's plan to kill Madeline is shown this way.
* DiamondsInTheBuff: Lisle's enormous torso-covering necklace.
* DidYouGetANewHaircut: Played straight. After Madeline drinks the immortality potion, her husband Ernest asks, "Change your hair?"
* DistantEpilogue: The final scene is set 37 years after the rest of the film, placing it in 2029.
* DramaticThunder: "Siempre viva! Live forever!" and "It's a miracle!"
* EarnYourHappyEnding: [[spoiler:After Ernest escaped, he managed to find happiness in the following 37 years and truly atoned for his misdeeds. He found love, had children, and devoted his time to helping people realize that getting older was not the end of the world -- ''and'' he opened an AA chapter, to boot. When he does die, Madeline and Helen arrive at his funeral dressed all in black and mock most of the eulogy, even though they're pretty much badly-painted, barely-holding-together corpses.]]
* ElvisLives: The King is one of several famous people who took the immortality potion and faked his own death. He makes appearances from time to time to grab a few headlines.
* EvilCannotComprehendGood: Lisle and company are genuinely puzzled when Ernest refuses the potion. They are too self-centered and shallow to care about the reasons he has for not wanting to be immortal.
* FacialHorror: Madeline and Helen, as well as one of Ernest's celebrity clients and his CheshireCatGrin.
* FaceDeathWithDignity: [[spoiler: While hanging onto dear life and the only other option being the immortality serum, and thus being stuck serving Madeline and Helen, Ernest drops the vial and accepts his impending death. Subverted when it turns out he survives the fall and goes on to live a much more fulfilling life before dying in his 80s.]]
* {{Fanservice}}:
** Lisle. And her boyfriends/bodyguards. "Keep your ass handy."
** Michelle Johnson in one scene, before her boss shows up to refer Mad to Lisle.
* FateWorseThanDeath: A major theme of the film.
* FatSuit: Hawn donned one for a segment of the film. She never let her children see her wearing it, reportedly because it scared them.
* FemmeFatale: Both Madeline and Helen, but Helen ''really'' plays it up.
-->'''Helen:''' You're a powerful sexual being, Ernest.
-->'''Ernest:''' I am?
-->'''Helen:''' Yes, you are. If I never told you before, it was because I wasn't the sort of girl who could say the word "sexual" without blushing. Well, I can now. Sexual... sensual... sexy... sex... sex... sex...
* FingerPokeOfDoom: [[WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures Maddy go down the hollllle.]] More like Maddy go down the ''long flight of stairs''.
* ForTheEvulz: Mad revels in having (apparently) killed Helen with a point blank shotgun blast.
-->'''Ernest:''' She's dead!\\
'''Madeline:''' ''(mock gasp)'' She is? ''(gleeful)'' Oh. These are the moments that make life worth living.\\
''(later...)''\\
'''Ernest:''' Life in prison? Know what that means to a person in your condition?\\
'''Madeline:''' So negative. ''(eyes glittering)'' Can't you just let me enjoy the moment?
* GenreShift: The first two-thirds are a dark supernatural comedy about Helen and Madeleine's rivalry. Then it switches moods... and protagonists.
* GhostlyGlide: [[NunsAreSpooky Creepy nuns]] float down the hallway past Bruce Willis leading to the morgue.
* GilliganCut: Ernest tells Helen, "I have absolutely no interest in Madeline Ashton!" Cue the wedding of Ernest and Madeline.
* GivingThemTheStrip: Ernest sheds his jacket to get loose when one of Lisle's guard dogs grabs his coattails.
* HeadTurnedBackwards: After Madeline falls down the stairs, her head has been twisted 180 degrees.
-->"My ass! I can ''see'' my ''ass!"''
* HeartbreakAndIceCream: Helen Sharp has her cupboards stocked with cake frosting several years after the heartbreak of watching her fiance marry Madeline Ashton.
* HeelRealization: Ernest is a pretty awful person regardless of how bad Madeline and Helen are, being weak willed and rather spineless. He callously dumped Helen to marry Madeline and then agreed to Helen's elaborate plan to murder Madeline. His realization comes from seeing what Madeline and Helen have become thanks to the potion and their hatred for each other, and after repairing their bodies he decides to leave. [[spoiler: He truly cements it when he turns down the immortality serum, having understood the downside outweighs the benefits and not wanting to be trapped with Helen and Madeline for eternity.]]
* HenpeckedHusband: Ernest. So much. He would rather suffer a potentially fatal fall than deal with his bitchy wife for the rest of his life. Although to be fair, if she'd gotten her way it would have been an unbearably ''long'' life.
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Helen, after her life falls into the gutter when Madeline takes Ernest from her. She spends a long duration of her life wallowing before getting back on track, motivated by getting murderous revenge. By the end of the film, both her and Madeline are near interchangeable with each other, and ironically the only friends each other have.
* HiddenDepths: Ernest, beaten down by years of his horrible marriage, at first seems weak-willed and buffoonish. For half the movie there are shades of WhatDoesSheSeeInHim as both women vie for possession of him. By the end he comes across as the strongest and wisest character in the film.
* HollywoodMidLifeCrisis: All three main characters suffer this. Ernest learns to cope and appreciate what he's got at the end, and starts his life anew at 50.
* HotWitch: Lisle.
* HumansAreBastards: Everybody is pretty much a {{Jerkass}}, with the sole exception of Ernest.
* {{Immortality}}: Helen and Madeline achieve actual immortality. Ernest achieves a more Aesop-ish form of immortality by the film's end by being remembered after death for his accomplishments in life.
* ImmortalityBeginsAtTwenty: Played with. The serum makes you look ''younger''. Of course, if you abuse yourself like Mad and Hel, you end up looking like crones from constant repair.
* ImmortalityHurts: Averted. Neither Madeline nor Helen feels her injuries.
* ImmunityDisability: The two women gain immortality ''just'' before one suffers a broken neck and the other has a hole blown through her stomach. They're immortal, sure, but their bodies are falling to pieces, literally. The very end of the movie has their bodies breaking into bits after rolling down the stairs and their heads snapping off.
* INeedAFreakingDrink: The doctor is so taken aback by Madeline he asks for a swig of Ernest's flask.
* {{Irony}}: Madeline and Helen, who wish nothing more than seeing the other dead, are stuck having to take care of each other ''for eternity''.
* JerkassHasAPoint: While Helen's doctor could've been more tactful about it, she was absolutely right that Helen needed to forget about Madeline. Case in point; Helen took the potion in 1985 and got to enjoy seven years of youth and beauty, wherein she got her life back together and managed to write a best-selling book. All that immediately went down the drain the moment Madeline and Ernest re-entered her life, and if she hadn't invited them to the premier party for "Forever Young," she'd have continued to have a beautiful body, a career, and at least ''some'' semblance of life.
* KarmaHoudini: Not only does Ernest receive no real punishment for technically murdering Madeline, his life actually turns out for the better because of what he does. [[EarnYourHappyEnding Granted he goes through a lot of crap to get there first.]] One might even argue that the horrible life he had with Madeline ''was'' his LaserGuidedKarma for abandoning Helen given how miserable and unhappy he was.
* LadyInRed: Helen, in contrast to WomanInWhite[=/=]TrueBlueFemininity Madeline. Their color-schemes are switched in Helen's fantasy of killing Madeline (and in the picture), and from Lisle's (who wears both colors; a dark red shawl and a white "bathrobe") party onwards they're both women in black.
* LampshadedDoubleEntendre: Madeline is able to figuratively "see through" Helen. Later on, she's able to do so ''literally''.
* LargeHam: Both Lisle and Madeline fall under this trope.
* LesserOfTwoEvils: What it boils down to between Ernest and the two women. All three of them have done some horrible stuff, yet Ernest's sins don't seem nearly as bad as Helen and Madeline's. Ernest is eventually the only one of them to have a HeelRealization and [[spoiler: after escaping from Helen and Madeline and the whole toxic relationship, goes on to find true happiness while also devoting his time to atoning for his past behavior.]]
* LipstickMark: A newly thin and young Helen leaves one on Madeline's cheek at the book party, almost certainly as a taunt.
* TheLoinsSleepTonight: Madeline accuses Ernest of this. He doesn't deny it. He does [[spoiler:later remarry and have children, so it's probably cured by quitting drinking and getting out of an unhappy marriage.]]
* LosingYourHead: Madeline and Helen at the end, after another fall down a flight of stairs causes their already decaying bodies to [[LiteralMetaphor go straight to pieces]].
* MadeOfIron: Ernest takes a horrific multi-story fall during the climax. If the impact with the glass far, FAR below wouldn't outright kill a lesser man, it would surely have stunned him long enough to drown in the pool Ernest lands in, but he gets right back up with little more than a bloody cut on his arm. And he never even drank the potion.
* MajorInjuryUnderreaction: This is a natural result of the potion removing someone's ability to feel pain after their body has died.
* MakeItLookLikeAnAccident: How Helen wants to kill Madeline - putting her in a car with a dozen empty liquor bottles and having it drive off a cliff.
* {{Manipulative B|astard}}itch: Lisle, and both Madeline and Helen to a lesser extent, fall under this trope.
* TheMasquerade: No one must know of the potion. [[{{Foreshadowing}} The plastic surgeon even turns off his security camera before he tells Madeline about Lisle.]]
* MeaningfulBackgroundEvent: As Ernest speaks on the phone to Helen you can see Madeline, out of focus, getting up off the floor behind him.
* MeaningfulName: All over the place. For one, '''Ash'''ton fears growing old. '''Sharp''' is what Helen becomes. Both women become '''Mad''' as '''Hel'''. And, of course, '''Ernest''' '''Men'''ville. WordOfGod says that the names of the three main characters were deliberately chosen so that their shortened forms read '''Mad''' '''Ern''' '''Hel''' -- Madder 'n Hell.
* MinorInjuryOverreaction: This has stretched back to Mad and Hel's mutual girlhood.
* MsFanservice: Isabella Rossellini as Lisl von Rhoman. Holy crap, ''that dress''.
* MurderTheHypotenuse: Helen wants to kill Madeline, concocting an elaborate plan with Ernest's help.
* TheMusical: ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7f91N4SQyQk Songbird!]]'' is a StylisticSuck adaptation of ''Sweet Bird of Youth''.
* MutilationConga: Oh ''boy''.
* NeckSnap: An understandable result of being pushed down a long flight of marble stairs. Less understandable is the fact that she ''gets up afterward with her head twisted around backwards''.
* NeverMyFault: Neither Madeline nor Helen are willing to accept any responsibility for the bad things that happen in their lives, endlessly blaming each other and any other excuse they can come up with.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Or "Fixing It, Villain" depending on how you view Madeline and Helen. But either way, while dangling over his (seemingly) certain doom, Ernest was clearly on the verge of actually drinking the potion until they revealed that they only wanted him to do so in order for him to keep maintaining them throughout eternity.
* NotSoDifferent: Mad and Hel.
-->'''Helen''': You have no idea what it was like, hating and envying you at the same time!\\
'''Madeline''': ''You'' envied ''me''? ''I'' envied ''you''!
* NotUsingTheZWord. No one in the film mentions zombies, but director Robert Zemeckis openly admits in interviews it's a zombie film -- albeit with ''glamorous'' Hollywood zombies.
* NowYouTellMe
-->'''Madeline Ashton:''' Bottoms up! ''(drinks potion)''\\
'''Lisle von Rhoman:''' Now, a warning...\\
'''Madeline Ashton:''' '''''NOW''''' a warning?!
* NunsAreSpooky: Ernest meets three of them coming out of the morgue. They glide.
* OlderThanTheyLook: Duh. {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d by Lisle, who has Madeline guess her age (71). Madeline first guesses 38, which earns her a DeathGlare from Lisle, and quickly re-guesses 28 and 23.
* OurZombiesAreDifferent: Robert Zemeckis' take on said undead.
* PartingFromConsciousnessWords: Ernest's distracted, irritable "What?" after getting clobbered in the head with a vase.
* PragmaticVillainy: Helen desperately wants Madeline dead, but when Ernest calls her and tells her that he pushed Madeline to her (temporary) death rather than going through with Helen's more elaborate plan, she isn't happy about it since Ernest's recklessness has put them in great jeopardy of being blamed for the crime.
* RasputinianDeath: [[spoiler:Madeline and Helen]] get these by the end, only they don't take due to their immortality.
* TheReveal: Mad and Hel show up at [[spoiler: Ernest's funeral wearing thick black veils. At first it seems like they're just trying to hide the fact that they're still physically 20-somethings despite being in their 80s, but when the veils come off, we see that their faces have been badly painted and look more disturbing than if they'd aged naturally.]]
* RiddleForTheAges: Just how much did that potion cost?!
* RoomFullOfCrazy: Helen's vanity mirror is covered with altered pictures of Madeline that makes her look like [[Film/TheDarkKnight Heath Ledger's Joker]].
* RuleOfPool: Helen is blown into a pond thanks to a shotgun blast in the stomach, and Ernest falls into one.
* ScaryShinyGlasses: Ernest has them for a moment when [[spoiler:Helen finishes outlining her plot to kill Madeline]].
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: Ernest's attitude towards the end. He successfully escapes, taking the aforementioned dartboard with him.
* TheSeventies: Painfully so during the opening scene, especially when ''Songbird!'' incorporates "Do The Hustle" in its big number.
* SexlessMarriage: Madeline and Ernest.
* ShoutOut:
** "[[Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus She's not resting, she's DEAD!]]"
** "I vant to be alone!"
** [[Franchise/{{Frankenstein}} "It's alive!"]]
** Helen claimed she took the potion on October 26th, 1985 -- a date in which [[TimeTravel another extraordinary event]] occurred in [[Film/BackToTheFuture another Robert Zemeckis film]].
** Helen wants to "completely erase" Meryl Streep's character, something RoseanneBarr's character wants to do in ''Film/SheDevil''.
** Music/ElvisPresley attended Lisle's party, as did [[Music/TheDoors Jim Morrison]] in a FreezeFrameBonus.
* ShovelStrike: Helen and Madeline go at it by attacking each other with shovels.
* ShowWithinAShow: ''Songbird!'', a musical adaptation of ''Sweet Bird Of Youth''.
* SistineSteal: [[FauxSymbolism The stained-glass skylight that Ernest destroys when he falls after refusing immortality]] is broken precisely where God and Adam's fingertips are about to touch.
* SkewedPriorities: [[spoiler: After leaving Ernest's funeral,]] both Madeline and Helen fall down stairs, which causes their already decaying bodies to break apart.
-->'''Helen's broken-off head''': ''(To Madeline's broken-off head)'' Did you remember where you parked the car?
* {{Slapstick}}: This film would fall under this category due to the cartoonish nature of the AmusingInjuries Helen and Madeline received.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism: Easily Zemeckis' most cynical film.
* SlidingScaleOfUndeadRegeneration: Type II.
* SoftWater: Ernest's swan dive off the top of a huge mansion, through a stained-glass skylight, and into an indoor pool leaves him with only a nasty-looking cut on his arm. He hits the basically-flat skylight on his back (which would minimize immediate cuts) and the window breaking reduced the force of ''that'' impact considerably while slowing down his speed enough to keep the water from killing him on second impact. In the first draft, Ernest was supposed to die in the fall, with the movie ending at his funeral.
* SpiritualSuccessor: This film shares some thematic elements with the 1960 B-horror movie ''Film/TheLeechWoman'': A bitter woman, trapped in a loveless marriage with a selfish and superficial doctor, is given the secret to eternal youth by a mysterious woman named Malla. The final act has her using her newly-acquired good looks to try stealing a pretty young rival's beau. In both films, the secret comes at a price that makes both female leads become desperate. ''Leech Woman'' also used make-up effects to make star Coleen Gray seem older than she actually is at the beginning of the movie.
* StaircaseTumble: Several examples. The first time, Ernest finally snaps when Madeline insults him as he hesitates to stop her from falling, and he gives her the final push; she breaks her neck on the way down. The second time, it is Helen who is teetering at the top of a staircase while Madeline simply smiles maliciously -- [[TakingYouWithMe until Helen drags her down as well]]. Ernest almost goes down at one point after being hit over the head with a vase. And then at the very end of the film, [[spoiler: both Madeline and Helen go down a small set of outdoor steps and are in such battered and rickety shape they literally smash into pieces when they hit the ground. And they are still alive.]]
* StalkerShrine: Helen Sharp has one of her nemesis and rival Madeline Ashton.
* StallingTheSip: Ernest is holding a drink laced with a sedative. However, his angry rant involves many grand gestures, spilling almost all of the drink. At the end of the rant, he goes to take a sip, before deciding he's giving up alcohol, and throws out the rest of the drink. Then the women trying to knock him out [[ShovelStrike hit him with a shovel]].
* StealthInsult: The girls' [[SarcasmMode affectionate]] nicknames for each other, crooned as if delighted to see one another. Which is also a sort of StealthPun for when they're in VitriolicBestBuds mode.
-->'''Helen:''' [[CuteAndPsycho Mad!]]
-->'''Madeline:''' [[FaceOfAnAngelMindOfADemon Hel!]]
* StylisticSuck: Only Meryl Streep, one of the best actresses in the world, could convincingly play one of the worst hams to ever (dis)grace stage and[=/=]or screen.
* TapOnTheHead: Ernest gets clobbered with a large vase and knocked unconscious, but seems to suffer no further ill effects once he revives.
* ThisIsForEmphasisBitch: Helen to Madeline before they fight: "En garde, BITCH!"
* TooDumbToLive: Seriously Madeline, when you're about to fall down the stairs and the only person who can save you is your embittered husband, you do ''not'' insult him. It's telling that Helen lived seven years with her youthful body before she got that hole blown through her torso, while Madeline didn't even last a full day.
* TookALevelInBadass: After Mad becomes acclimated to being dead, she becomes a lot more nasty and clever.
-->'''Madeline:''' What if the police should receive an anonymous phone call about you and find me on the floor not breathing, no pulse? ''[PsychoticSmirk]'' Ain't nobody can play dead like me, Ernest. What will you tell them? [[PrisonRape You're going to be very popular in prison.]]
* TorsoWithAView: Helen gets a huge hole in her stomach after Madeline blows her away with a hunting rifle. It actually comes in handy when Madeline throws the remains of her shovel at Helen and it goes through the hole without touching the rest of Helenís body.
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: The trailer features a shot of Helen with a hole in her stomach and therefore gives away the twist that she too is immortal.
* {{Troll}}: Seems Elvis [[ElvisLives enjoys making appearances]] just to freak people out. He gets teasingly called out for it by the emcee.
* UnfoldingPlanMontage: Helen outlines a plan to kill Madeline, but this is {{subverted}} when it turns out to be an ImagineSpot.
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: "It's a dislocated ''neck''!" The doctor at the hospital has a kind of NoSell reaction to this, becoming slightly flustered but dealing with it very well. He then calmly steps outside...and has a heart attack. Very much justified and TruthInTelevision as doctors are taught to keep focused in certain situations.
* TheUnfairSex: Very, very much averted. Ernest is depicted as a NiceGuy and TheWoobie no matter what he does -- including dumping his fiance for her friend and trying to murder his bitchy wife -- while all the women in the film are thoroughly irredeemable. Some of it gets subverted on the grounds that Ernest dumping Helen for Madeline bit him hard when his life turned into a joke, going from a respected plastic surgeon to a funeral cosmetologist, becoming an alcoholic, and getting stuck in a loveless relationship. It's not so much that Ernest is a NiceGuy, as the shit he pulls isn't as bad as the vindictive hatred Helen and Madeline have for each other.
* TheVamp: Lisle and, to a lesser extent, both Madeline and (post-makeover) Helen fall into this trope.
* WakingUpAtTheMorgue: Nobody could survive a tumble down a flight of marble stairs and a twisted-around head. And ''technically'', Madeline didn't.
* WalkingOutOnTheShow: In the film's opening scene, Madeline stars in ''Songbird!'', a musical adaptation of ''Sweet Bird of Youth'' with copious amounts of StylisticSuck. Audience members leave in droves; most of the ones who stay are only doing so because they've fallen asleep. Ernest is the only person who loves the performance -- much to Helen's alarm.
* WhatEverHappenedToTheMouse: Rose the maid disappears from the film after the opening scenes. Madeline probably ended up firing her to avoid awkward questions about Ernest's sudden disappearance.
* WhiteDwarfStarlet: Madeline
* WhoWantsToLiveForever: The film presents a surprisingly philosophical discussion of this trope. Of course, when the priest eulogizing Ernest says he'd found the secret to immortality through his children and his good works, [[ComicallyMissingThePoint Helen and Madeline both]] [[BlahBlahBlah mock the eulogy]].
* WoundThatWillNotHeal: After Madeline and Helen drink the immortality potion, they suffer injuries that turn them into walking corpses. Had they been more careful, they would have had forever-living bodies, but now they cannot die alongside them. For all intents and purposes, they're ''zombies''; their souls are bound to their bodies forever, but since their bodies are clinically dead, they no longer have the ability to heal.
* WreckedWeapon: When Madeline and Helen are hitting at each other with shovels, Madelineís gets cut through by Helenís.
* YourCheatingHeart: Madeline with Ernest.
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