The piece below was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the art being covered in this piece wouldn't exist.
Mike Myers shines in this black comedy classic
There was a time in the later 90s where Mike Myers reigned supreme. His quirky characters and offbeat comedy fueling beloved films like Wayne’s World, Austin Powers, and Shrek. Amidst all this was a cult favorite, on that showed a less cartoonish level of creativity, and a tilt into darker tone, So I Married an Axe Murderer. A black comedy starring Myers as Charlie MacKenzie. A jazz performance poet who is unlucky in love, but has the good fortune to eventually find someone he thinks he can spend the rest of his life with. The lady in question is Harriet (Nancy Travis), smart, witty, intelligent, and a butcher, something that becomes more concerning as he starts to suspect she might also be a serial killer. Harriet’s past seems to align closely with reports in the Weekly World News of a serial “Honeymoon Killer”, leading Charlie, along with his cop friend Tony (Anthony LaPaglia) to begin their own investigation. uncovering more indications that Harriet could be a killer, as the pair inch ever closer to the altar.
One part romantic comedy, the other an thriller/mystery feature, together, and entertaining and thoroughly charming feature. The investigative aspect largely fuels more neuroses (and subsequent entertainment) from Charlie himself, a man on a collision course with commitment, experiencing al the fears and anxiety that come with it. It’s a smart leveraging of this aspect of relationships into something as comedic and dark as a serial husband killer. Throw in a few twists and turns, red herrings and odd-ball characters, and the film is pretty satisfying, for both genres it draws from. The film is replete with tremendous supporting talents, notably a delicious turn from Amanda Plummer as Harriet’s sister Rose, and Phil Hartman stealing the whole damn movie as an Alcatraz tour guide. Myers even gets a chance to cut loose with the comical depiction of his character’s family, notably playing his own father Stuart after adopting aging makeup and a thick(er) Scottish brogue. Myers infuses his off-beat poet lead with an affable charm that pairs superbly with the natural ease of Nancy Travis. There’s a genuine spark coming from their repartee and sometimes it’s delightfully easy to get a little lost in their courting before the madcap nature of the film reasserts itself.
So often studios put out pretty run of the mill transfers when it comes to the current wave of 4K re-releases. Thankfully, this treatment of So I Married An Axe Murderer is surprisingly solid. Detail is the standout, showcasing the environments, people, and textures of the film well. Exterior sequence are most notable in this regard. Blacks are deep, contrast range is solid too. Colors are natural, with a healthy pop, with a cinematic grain preserved. It certainly freshens up the look of the film from the dingier presentation I remember on initial release, nicely done.
Extra features are limited to theatrical trailers, and the well advertised 30+ minutes of deleted scenes. Apparently never before released, and they were certainly new to me. Around 30 scenes total, ranging from 30 seconds in length, up to a few minutes long. Most have no particular significance in altering the film, mostly alternate takes, extra jokes, etc. There is an clip that shows an alternative opening that suggests a more dark/violent tone for the film was once planned though.
The Bottom Line
So I Married an Axe Murderer isn’t as well known as some of Mike Myer’s other films, but it has a devoted cult following. One well earned with its blending of romance, black comedy, absurdist moments, and focused work from Myers himself. A 4K facelift is a great reason to revisit this killer comedy, while those deleted scenes are little gems for longtime fans.
So I Married an Axe Murderer is available on 4K-UHD now