Headscratchers / Death Becomes Her

  • How on earth could Helen afford to buy the potion years ago? She was only successful after she drank it. Before that, she got evicted because she wouldn't pay rent.
    • Explained in the film: Lisle says the price is different for each person, and Helen later says it cost her "everything [she] had, which wasn't much".
    • As a Wild Mass Guessing, Lisle probably also uses the money partly as an excuse. She makes it costly to the buyers because people expect something like that to be fantastically expensive, but the thing she's really interested in is the people themselves... remember, she's assembled quite an eclectic cast of some of the biggest stars and celebrities in history, presumably far more than we even see. She may have given the potion to Helen for effectively nothing just because she knew it would eventually involve Madeline as well, and she was eager to see how things would play out between them, like her own little personally-engineered real life Soap Opera.
    • Helen actually says it cost her "everything [she] had, and that was cheap." That makes it sound like she was happy to pay the price, despite it being expensive, rather than sounding like she didn't pay much because she didn't have much, as suggested above.
    • How did Helen even find Lisle and the potion anyway?
      • Possibly through a weight-loss clinic or something similar, the way Madeline finds her through a spa. The potion doesnt make you lose weight, it just rejuvenates your age, so Helen would have had to lose weight on her own. Alternatively, Lisle had one of her contacts in the asylum where Helen was kept, and he gave her Lisles info.
      • There's no evidence in-story to suggest the potion doesn't make you lose weight. We see Helen super-heavy and sloppy and then suddenly she's glamorous and looks like Goldie Hawn again. If anything, the movie suggests the potion brings youth AND (conventional) beauty to whomever drinks it. Madeline is already in pretty good shape, but her butt does get smaller and tighter, suggesting it doesn't just heal the aging process, but also "perfects" the person's looks as well.
  • What exactly is holding up the top half of Hel's body when she has the hole blown through her? Being insensitive to pain is one thing but she has a massive gap in her spine, is the tissue of the sides of a person's abdomen strong enough to support that much weight on it's own?
    • The gap's not as massive as it looks in the poster used as the main page's image, but it is pretty big. Probably best to assume that since the whole reason she's alive and mobile at all after acquiring said hole (besides the fact that the movie would be a little difficult to stage if she spent the rest of it crawling around on her hands dragging her lower half behind her) is a magic potion, essentially A Wizard Did It for real.
  • How is it that no one ever thought to perfect the potion so it included a Healing Factor? Surely Madeline and Helen couldn't have been the first to get themselves killed after using it, and there had to be at least one scientifically-minded person who perhaps thought walking around in a corpse-like body for eternity wasn't exactly worth living forever for and maybe attempted to make an alternative?
    • To add to that, what about non-fatal injuries? Are you pretty much screwed if you chopped off a finger by mistake, or would that grow back at least? Lisle's potion seems to heal after she demonstrates by cutting her clients' fingers, so it seems a little odd that a mere broken neck wouldn't heal up as well.
      • There's a brief time-delay between the application of the potion and the healing of Ernest's hand. Possibly Helen's and Madeline's injuries proved fatal because they were sudden enough to kill them before healing could begin; if one had stabbed the other in the gut and failed to hit any major arteries, the wound might've repaired itself.
    • Why didn't a scientifically minded person try to perfect the potion? Because it's magic. Why hasn't Lisle herself or some other magician tried to include a healing factor? Because that would be boring (or it would be an entirely different movie). If there's no healing factor, why did it heal Mad's finger when Lisle dabbed a drop on her cut? It seems like the potion "healed" Mad of her age when she drank it; her boobs and butt get higher, her hands and face smooth out, etc. I would imagine that when drunk, the potion "heals" the drinker to their prime physical state, but then locks them there. It healed the cut on Mad's finger because she hadn't yet drunk it; and Lisle only put a drop onto the cut, not enough to make Mad completely immortal. Alternately, it's plausible that the potion simply keeps you alive and human forever, with standard human healing. In that case, you could heal simple cuts and scrapes, but fatal injuries would turn you into a zombie.
    • I imagine that injuries which aren't sufficient to kill you or which are treated before they can will probably heal, or at least will not affect you any more than it would a non-immortal person. Cut your finger, it'll heal. Cut your finger off, it might not grow back, but assuming you get it treated before you bleed to death you'll still be able to lead a more or less normal life (perhaps short a finger for all eternity if you're not able to get it reattached, which would suck but still). Fall down the stairs and break your neck or suffer a shotgun blast at short range to the chest, however, and problems begin to arise. In other words, a healing factor probably isn't necessary if you live your eternal life with the same basic common sense and concern for your health and welfare as most non-immortal people do. Look before you cross the street, resist the urge to throw yourself into danger, avoid people who might want to shoot you and you'll probably be fine. Helen and Madeline only end up in the position they do because they hate each other so much they're determined to kill and mutilate each other.
    • Maybe they did think to, but simply can't? Just because it's magic doesn't mean it doesn't have limits.
  • Do potion-drinkers become immune to crippling illnesses? For example, many vaccines must be renewed every so often because of mutations in the viruses and related factors. Imagine living forever but getting screwed over due to polio or cancer or something.
    • Since the potion renders you immune to death by old age, it likely renders the body equally immune to conventional internal 'damage', even if the drinkers are still vulnerable to external injuries.
    • Cancer and other illnesses arising from within one's own body would probably not be a danger, as the body's state is perpetually maintained at peak condition for as long as its biological processes remain viable. Whether or not contagious disease would be a threat isn't possible to judge from the film, as the topic never arises.
    • As with the above post, I imagine that the immortality portion probably works to keep the body at peak physical perfection up to a point. No cancerous cells develop and the immune system is at maximum efficiency and fights off most illnesses that the body is capable of fighting off (although it probably wouldn't hurt to keep up with your vaccinations). Something like, say, AIDS will probably pose a lot more of a problem, but as long as there's some form of treatment you probably wouldn't have to worry too much.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Headscratchers/DeathBecomesHer