Fatal Attraction is a movie in which a woman is repeatedly physically assaulted by her married lover, slut-shamed by him and verbally abused for refusing to get an abortion at his behest. And in 1987, it was the second-highest grossing movie in America, having spent eight weeks at the top of the box office. In the end, Fatal Attraction grossed $156,645,693 in the U.S. ($320 million worldwide) and was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It also left a permanent mark on pop culture by introducing the term "bunny-boiler" into the lexicon.
At its core, Fatal Attraction was a deeply unsubtle metaphor about professional women's destruction of the traditional family unit. It was also part of a blatant cinematic backlash against career women that sent the message that women were obsessive creatures, utterly incapable of having casual sex, leaving men alone or handling rejection. It was "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" writ larger than ever before.
Critical reception was mixed at the time—The New Yorker noted: "The film is about men seeing feminists as witches, and the way the facts are presented here, the woman is a witch”—but audiences absolutely reveled in watching the destruction of Alex (Glenn Close). Movie theaters famously reported that some viewers were engaged to the point of shouting "Kill the bitch!" at the film's climax.
While Fatal Attraction was ultimately designed that way, it only happened during the very final stages of the project. When Glenn Close was first cast as Alex, the script was significantly different. Close initially saw the character as a fundamentally flawed woman who had been damaged by sexual abuse and was now suffering from erotomania. Before filming, the actress consulted with mental health professionals to get the nuances of Alex's personality and psychological problems just right.