How The Special Effects In Death Becomes Her Inspired Jurassic Park

The film was a technological marvel and CGI pioneer

Image Universal Pictures

Thanks to Meryl Streep’s impassioned speech at the Golden Globes on Sunday she’s trending all over the interweb, and so are a few of her legendary films. 

One is standing out among the rest this week, and it’s the hilarious and spooky dark comedy she did with Goldie Hawn in 1992 – Death Becomes Her.

The actress famously doesn’t like the film, claiming there were too many special effects.

In 2000 she spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the iconic movie: “You stand there like a piece of machinery—they should get machinery to do it. I loved how it turned out. But it’s not fun to act to a lampstand. ‘Pretend this is Goldie, right here! Uh, no, I’m sorry, Bob, she went off the mark by five centimetres, and now her head won’t match her neck!’ It was like being at the dentist.”



Well, Death Becomes Her is a movie that pioneered lots of special effects technology. It also won the Academy Award for visual effects.

According to the Industrial Light and Magic website – the team behind Goldie Hawn’s giant stomach hole scene ‘the film marked the first time human skin texture had been computer generated’.

The company went on to create visuals for films like Avengers, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jurassic Park and many CGI moments seen on big screen in the last 25 years. So, that rippling reptilian sinew you see on the terrifying T-Rex was because of the black comedy Ms. Streep doesn’t like. 


The production also utilised a significant amount of robotics and puppeteering, especially in the scene where Meryl Streep’s character is pushed down a giant staircase by Bruce Willis. Everyone knows the moment when Madeline discovers her head’s on backward, it still stands up against the advanced FX of today’s cinema.



Some other fun facts about Death becomes Her, thanks to IMDb trivia:

Meryl Streep accidentally cut Goldie Hawn’s face in a scene where their characters are battling with shovels.

A pneumatic bra was built to create the effect where Meryl Streep’s breasts become higher and firmer after drinking the potion, but the effect didn’t look realistic enough. To get the shot, Meryl Streep’s dresser stood behind her, out of sight of the camera, and pushed her breasts into position. 

The film is definitely a loaded favourite. 

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Loaded staff writer Danielle De La Bastide has lived all over the planet and written for BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog as well as print publications throughout the Caribbean.