‘Fatal Attraction’ Is a Horrific Cautionary Tale With a Surprising Female Killer [The Lady Killers Podcast]

“If you ever come near my family again, I’ll kill you. Do you understand?”

We’ve all heard the phrase “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” We pull it out when we see a woman reacting to the hurtful choices of a romantic partner, standing up for herself after rejection, or really expressing any kind of powerful emotions at all. It’s a bon mot so pervasive that it makes you wonder if there are any men in hell. Maybe it’s all just hysterical women pulling hair and trying to steal each other’s boyfriends. Regardless of this reductive phrase and dehumanizing stereotype, few films in the history of cinema explore the concept of the scorned woman like Adrian Lyne’s Fatal Attraction. This cautionary tale about infidelity and revenge pits two women against each other for the love of one man with a surprising female killer emerging from the wreckage.

Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) is a happily married family man who blunders into an ill-advised affair with his new coworker Alex (Glenn Close). This curly-haired goddess presents herself as powerful and aloof, but turns on a dime when Dan tries to go back to his family. Insisting, “I’m not going to be ignored, Dan,” Alex begins a campaign of terror and seduction as she tries to bring Dan back into her arms by any means necessary. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of Dan’s wife Beth (Anne Archer) and his young daughter Ellen (Ellen Latzen). The Lady Killers examine this bad romance from all angles as they try to piece apart the intentions, expressions, and desires of this fatal affair.

Jenn AdamsSammie KuykendallMae Shults, and Rocco T. Thompson all have shifting sympathies for these complicated characters. They’ll discuss the mental illness that may explain Alex’s behavior as well as the ways Dan keeps making everything worse. Who is the real victim of this film and who is the actual Lady Killer? What happened in the original ending and how has audience reaction to the film changed in the 36 years since its release? What do we think of Alex’s aggressive look and why does the entire Gallagher family run around in tighty whiteys? They’ll explore answers to these questions and more while also discussing the legacy of “crazy woman” films that followed this salacious feature film.

So, hop onto the kitchen counter and prepare yourself for a nuanced discussion on this classic tale of lust gone terribly wrong. Because we aren’t going to be ignored. Subscribe now via Apple Podcasts and Spotify for future episodes that drop every Thursday.

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