Betty White is a treasure. Her work on Golden Girls alone was substantial and a blaring bright spot. The comedian had always managed to bring levity and light to each of her roles. She was one of those actresses that made films or TV series’ better just by her addition. Director, Steve Miner’s animals attack horror outing, Lake Placid was an enormous hit in 1999. While, it was filled with stars like Oliver Platt, Bill Pullman and Bridget Fonda, the real shining star of the whole film was definitely White’s innocuous chracter.
If you recall, Lake Placid was about a rogue killer alligator that was making folks disappear all around Black Lake. Everything about the gator and the disappearances are unprecedented. While investigating the ordeal one of the lake’s residents is introduced – an old-fashioned, sweet old lady, Mrs. Delores Bickerman.
Of course, Bickerman is only acting old-fashioned and sweet. She is harboring a gigantic secret in the form of a behemoth of a killer alligator. It turns out that lil’ old Mrs. Bickerman has been keeping the gator fed by blindfolding poor moo-cows and leading them toward the giant hungry beast. Since, the gator has been fed really well its entire life, it has grown to record size with a substantial appetite.
Bickerman is later revealed to be a little bit murdery. Possibly due to empty nest fallout, she has gone a little bit batty. It turns out that Bickerman hasn’t just fed cows to the gators. Hint-hint, she has fed the gator a bit more man-sized.
White shines through in her role as Bickerman. Every part of her personality is present. The sweet side, with the prickly and naughty side that she was famous for in her early comedy. She steals the show. Not an easy task considering the film is filled with stars and a giant gator to boot. White also totally made audiences gasp and heartily laugh when her true character is revealed and she lets loose a volley of curse words. Something about seeing old women curse like a sailor has always been hilarious and beyond entertaining.
White’s character even goes out on a huge note. She is eventually eaten by the gator that she fed all those years. Its a bittersweet ending to a character that fans loved to death.
Lake Placid is a film that manages to hold up. There are a lot of 90’s films that do not hold up, but this one does. In particularly, White’s character holds up and is almost a bigger treasure than it was during its release. White’s Bickerman has aged like wine. A wine that curses like a sailor and feeds gators the goods.
White’s body of work was entirely entertaining and constantly hilarious. A body of work that raised the bar on everything she did. Lake Placid was a better film due to Delores Bickerman. I truly believe like a lot of other films that White graced with her presence, stood out and became more than the sum of their parts simply due to her and her smile.
Betty White may be gone, but her incredible film and TV work is still here for us to laugh and cry to. I suggest by starting with Lake Placid everything White does in the venture into gore and horror was substantial. Long live Mrs. Delores Bickerman.
Its a perfect time to revisit Lake Placid. Order your copy right here.