So I Married an Axe Murderer

(Thomas Schlamme, USA, 1993)


So I Married an Axe Murderer is eminently watchable, precisely because it is so odd and out of control.


It received a brief theatrical release, but the advance press on it had a killing effect. Here (so the reports said) was a project doomed from the start: a romantic comedy vehicle for Mike Myers (of Wayne's World [1992] fame) plagued by frantic script rewrites and "creative disagreements" between the star and his director Thomas Schlamme (Miss Firecracker, 1989).


Forget the nasty gossip. The film has a fascinating premise, one that is almost an exact male inversion of the Female Gothic stories of the 1940s (like Hitchcock's Rebecca, 1940).


Charlie (Myers), a ‘performance poet’, is absurdly paranoiac about every woman he becomes attracted to – mainly because he is so scared of commitment. He puts aside his fears for the sake of Harriet (Nancy Travis). But soon every available piece of trashy media (Weekly World News, Steve Dunleavy) convinces him that she is in fact a notorious serial killer on the loose – and that he is her next victim.


The film is a wild pot-pourri of elements – thriller, romance, parody, broad comedy with memorable cameo appearances from Michael Richards (Seinfeld) and Charles Grodin among others.


As a leading man Myers is completely charmless, and this is for a very specific reason. Whenever he opens his mouth he cannot restrain himself from making a smarmy joke about 1970s disco, Hollywood B movies or TV cartoons.


He is, in short, a completely alienated, walking pop culture nightmare – a true man of our times.

© Adrian Martin April 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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