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Lifetime Remakes ‘Flowers In The Attic’ and It Is Just as Horrible as You Would Think

James Dittiger

I like to think of myself of a well-read individual who enjoys literature from various genres.

I enjoy historical fiction, books with lots of satire that try to make some sort of profound statement about the folly of man, and occasionally what I like to call “fluff books,” which are ones that I can easily breeze through in an afternoon while lounging on the sofa.

I’ve always been this way, and I believe that fact (coupled by the fact that I was a pre-teen/teen in the early ’90s) is what led to me reading (and loving) V.C. Andrews’ “Flowers In The Attic” when I was younger.

The book was adapted into a movie back in 1987, and it was never something that I really felt the need to see. I mean, I knew that the graphic and frankly grotesque incestuous love story that was portrayed in the book couldn’t really be shown on the big screen. But it turns out no one else wanted to see it either, and it was a huge flop at the box office.

Fast forward to 2014. Lifetime has remade the movie. Of course. And I decided I needed to watch it.

Why? Because, it seems, that I’m a glutton for punishment. 

Now, the original 1987 film adaptation of ”Flowers” starred Kristy Swanson, Victoria Tennant and a bunch of other actors no one these days have ever even heard of as a group of creepy, Aryan, incestuous kids; a mentally disturbed and quite selfish mother; and a grandmother, who I can only describe as being completely bat**** crazy.

The 2014 version actually scored some A-list celebs which is surprising both because this is a TV adaptation of “Flowers In The Attic” and because it’s a Lifetime movie. This version stars Heather Graham as the selfish mom, Ellen Burstyn as psycho grandma and Kiernan Shipka (best known for playing Sally Draper on AMC’s “Mad Men”) as eldest daughter Cathy.

Here are some of the plot points I found particularly interesting and/or terrible:

  • All of the kids’ belongings fit in one small suitcase. How is this even possible? It’s not like they were destitute. Up until the point at which they go to live with their crazy-ass grandma, they lived a relatively normal life. I would assume they had all of the belongings that normal kids have. Maybe they’re just light packers?
  • I get that this is a movie, but how is it possible for someone to possess so few motherly qualities? “Hey kids! Your dad just died. Now’s our chance to move in with my sadistic psycho mom!” “Hey kids! How about I lock you in this dumbwaiter so that you can spy on your weirdo grandma? Cool?” Well done, Heather Graham.
  • I shouldn’t be surprised that Heather Graham was so good at playing the part of a terrible mother, I suppose. I mean, she did leave her baby with those dudes in the movie “Hangover”.
  • It’s as if the directors read the book, watched the original film adaptation, and thought, “We should tiptoe lightly around the subject of incest and maybe no one will even notice that it’s happening!”
  • Except, you know, when they had Cathy MAKE OUT WITH HER STEPFATHER!

Here’s the trailer for the Lifetime version of the film, so you have some sort of an idea of what I’m talking about:

(First comment on that YouTube video? “Just watched this with my mom. Really good movie.” There’s so much wrong with both of those sentences.)

Anyway, basically what this whole blog boils down to is that if you read the original V.C. Andrews book, you might get a kick of out watching this movie and reliving the feeling you had when you were a kid reading the book, even though you were pretty sure you weren’t supposed to. But probably only while drunk.

In fact, just go ahead and turn the viewing of this movie into a drinking game. Every time someone says “demon seed” or has inappropriate relations with a family member, take a drink!

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