Euthanasia and Crazy Aunts

I did a dumb thing last week–I attempted to watch an old Cary Grant film, Arsenic and Old Lace. I say “dumb” because if I had been completely honest with myself, the premise was against my better judgment. But I’d heard so many people say, “It’s so funny!” “Cary Grant makes such great faces!” “I laughed my head off!”

I like to laugh as much as the next person. I like black-and-whites. So I thought I’d try it. Which shows I’m just as easily influenced as anyone, and I must be more on my guard.

If you’ve never seen the movie, the premise is Cary Grant’s character, Mortimer Brewster, visits his brother and two old-maid aunts in the old family home. Everyone thinks the aunts are sweeter than sugar-syrup, the kindest little old ladies you ever hope to meet. But Mortimer discovers his aunts have a warped sense of kindness.

They have developed a habit of poisoning old men who have no family left because they feel so sorry for the lonely old men. At least, that’s the reason they give Mortimer when he demands to know why there’s a dead body in the windowseat. I didn’t watch the whole movie, so I never discovered if they had another underlying reason.

I admit, the first part of the movie, before we got to the poisoning part, was quite funny. And I agree that Cary Grant makes spectacular faces. Excellent actor.

Yet I couldn’t laugh, uninhibited. I sometimes have a morbid sense of humor, but this went beyond morbid. Crazy old ladies who have now poisoned twelve men is not funny.

These two were insane. Obviously. Some insanity results from chemical imbalance in the brain, trauma to the brain, or deterioration of the brain.

And some insanity is the direct result, or the partial result, of demonic oppression. Serial poisoners are demonically insane.

So I’m watching these two cute old ladies defend their actions to their nephew, apparently convinced that their multiple first-degree murders are perfectly fine. A good deed, in fact. And I’m supposed to laugh at Mortimer’s shock and horror?

I could laugh at Mortimer’s brother who believed he was Teddy Roosevelt. I could laugh at one of the first scenes where the poster-child for bachelordom is getting a marriage license.

Or if the movie had been an exploration into human nature, perhaps I could have watched, albeit in horror, and learned from it what I could. I’ve read the movie’s synopsis, and I think some of the underlying themes do make a good point.

But I was expected to laugh at demonic insanity and the havoc it caused. And I found that slightly horrifying.

All that said, I liked one line in the movie very much.

Mortimer Brewster told his aunts that their “kind deeds” were not only illegal, but also wrongWhich shows you a great deal about society then compared to society now. Our current society seems to believe that if we can just get something legalized, it will change from being wrong to being right.

If the majority decides what’s right and what’s wrong, then the Holocaust wasn’t wrong in Germany because the majority believed it was right. (Or at least said they did, perhaps out of self-preservation.)

And the movie begged the question: Is it ever right to kill a human to save them from suffering?

A child who will be born into an Indian slum–abortion would mean he never has to live in misery.

A girl trapped in sex slavery–the easiest way to “release” her would be to give her enough pills for a fatal overdose.

A soldier rendered a quadriplegic in battle–maybe he wouldn’t want to live without the use of his arms and legs.

An old woman dying from terminal cancer–why bother with sufficient morphine? Just give her too much and let her die.

What those two demonically insane aunts were doing in the movie–we call that euthanasia these days.


We humans–who openly admit that “nobody’s perfect,” who constantly affirm that “everyone makes mistakes”–we think we have the knowledge and wisdom to decide when a person should live or die.

Stupid? I think so.

But maybe those who believe euthanasia is okay can’t help themselves. If serial-killing for the sake of kindness is demonic madness, then supporters of euthanasia must be deceived by the devil. So cold logic, however convincing, may never change their minds.

Their mental eyes have to be opened first. And only one Person can do that. Jesus.

I never thought of that before. I didn’t think of human euthanasia much at all, except to think it’s wrong and “How can people do that?” It never dawned on me as strongly as it did after watching Arsenic and Old Lace that the only way to stop euthanasia is to pray.

To pray God will bind Satan’s deception. To pray God will open people’s eyes so they can truly understand the reasoning against euthanasia. To pray God’s Truth will blaze so brightly it shines through even the blackest of Satan’s deceptions.

-Miss Darcy

5 thoughts on “Euthanasia and Crazy Aunts

  1. Well written, Darcy. I agree with you 100%. The only thing you left out was something that wasn’t actually in the movie.

    Long ago, I watched this movie…once. I didn’t like it then.

    When you say Cary Grant was a fine actor, I agreed. However, I stopped watching his movies once I found out that he was queer. That’s another sin that people have decided is acceptable. The Bible is very clear on that subject, and I no longer watch any of his movies. Not even the ones I enjoyed so much when I was unaware. I can’t help it. The moment I see his face, it shouts to me just like the “mercy killings” shouted to you.

    The only hope for people who don’t see these things is prayer. Thanks for this blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d never heard that Cary Grant was homosexual. I read a little about him, and apparently he sued for slander when someone accused him of it on public television. But who knows. He was not a godly man, for sure.

      Thank you for commenting! I’m so glad this post blessed you. ❤


  2. Someone invited me to watch this movie once too. I knew I probably wouldn’t like it when they described it to me as “it’s about these two old ladies who poison people because they feel sorry for them; I know it sounds weird, but they’re so sweet about it, and it’s hysterical!” Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed either. Maybe it just doesn’t seem as dark to some folks because of the lighthearted way old black and white films were written…..but I just couldn’t understand the humor either. Especially in our modern world where euthanasia is much more prevalent than when the film was made. Good thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I looked up the Wikipedia page for the film, the film after the revelation is said to be the attempts of Mortimer (Cary Grant) to get his insane brother out of the house and into an insane asylum so that the brother couldn’t be used for the aunts’ schemes. The humor in the film is about how Mortimer is trying to fix things without raising the suspicion of his fiance, not the horror of this immoral act. Euthanasia is about using drugs to painlessly kill when the patient’s life is filled with so much pain, it seems too cruel to let them stay in that state. It is also used on animals in terminal conditions. So, the reality of legalized euthanasia and the aunts’ serial murders are not a one-to-one scenario. If the aunts tried to use their reasoning in court, they would be shamed as euthanasia is not used on those with loneliness, but those in situations in painful and hopeless situations.


    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Cassie! I definitely got the feeling they were capitalizing at least some on the aunts’ schemes to develop part of the humor, but perhaps that wasn’t the real intent of the film. As I said, I didn’t watch the whole thing, and some say the overall morals of the story are quite sound. It just seemed that such serious morals ought to be treated more seriously. Maybe it was because it was sold to me as a comedy that my negative reaction was so strong.

      The point I was trying to make about euthanasia is that humans who readily admit we can never know everything have a lot of nerve thinking we know when it’s appropriate to end a human life. What, after all, truly defines hopeless? And what makes pain something that should be avoided? (Not trying to be callous here; heaven knows I hate pain as much as anyone, particularly when someone I love is suffering.) Actually, those questions are part of the whole “who defines good and bad?” question, which is a topic for another day, and probably one for better heads than mine. 😉

      Once again, thanks so much for your thoughtful comment!


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