Movie Article

That's the Afterlife

Life after death -- A look at movies that deal with being dead, including ''Ghost,'' ''Defending Your Life,'' and ''Jacob's Ladder''

Moviegoers, do not go gentle into that good multiplex seeking answers regarding life after death. But if you do, be aware that Hollywood's version of the hereafter, as revealed in a recent spate of spirited films, may not be reliable. With the release of Switch (as well as the upcoming Truly, Madly, Deeply, a British version of Ghost), there's yet another take on what it's really like when you finally buy the farm. Here's a cinematic guide to that uncharted territory as shown in four recent films.

Defending Your Life

Thumbnail Cosmology: Judgement City: Reincarnation and est meet Disneyland

Worst thing about being dead: Shirley MacLaine holograms

Best thing about being dead: The food is great and you can eat all you want

Afterlife fashions: Comfortable flowing white robes

Sex after death?: Yes, but only if you ''overcome your fears''

Greatest discovery from beyond: When you're alive, more than 95 percent of your brain is unused

Ghost

Thumbnail Cosmology: Well, there's a good place and a bad place...

Worst thing about being dead: Only Whoopi Goldberg can hear you

Best thing about being dead: Mastery of New York Subway System is yours

Afterlife fashions: Whatever you died in, but it never get dirty

Sex after death?: Yes, but you can only make whoopee via Whoopi

Greatest discovery from beyond: Picking up a penny isn't as easy when you're alive

Jacob's Ladder

Thumbnail Cosmology: Zen Buddhism meets A Nightmare on Elm Street

Worst thing about being dead: Danny Aiello is your angelic chiropractor

Best thing about being dead: Elizabeth Pena is your girlfriend

Afterlife fashions: A postman's uniform

Sex after death?: Elizabeth Pena is your girlfriend

Greatest discovery from the great beyond: Macaulay Culkin can do drama as well as comedy

Switch

Thumbnail cosmology: Purgatory meets Let's Make a Deal and Love Connection

Worst thing about being dead: You really are punished for your sins

Best thing about being dead: You come back as Ellen Barkin

Afterlife fashions: A never-ending parade of sexy outfits

Sex after death?: No way to avoid it

Greatest discovery from the great beyond: High heels are painful to wear

Originally posted May 17, 1991 Published in issue #66 May 17, 1991 Order article reprints