Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, August 24, 2007

Bad Movie Month books you a reading room that has Flowers In The Attic

Many of us fondly remember those first guilty pleasures of our youth such as the cartoon shows that you swore that you weren't really watching but just happen to be on because your younger brother or sister was "really into" them,the sadly romantic movie that you joked about with your friends yet tears come to your eyes during the big climatic moment(and not tears of laughter either)and the soap operas that your "mom" was so into but you knew the complete genealogy of the entire cast of characters better than the writers of the show did.

V.C. Andrews' tales of the Dollanganger family were my first taste of Gothic potboilers(which prepped me quite nicely for Anne Rice and later Laurell K. Hamilton)and I was addicted to those books like Amy Winehouse is to Tanqueray. I further indulged my jones for Andrews by devouring My Sweet Audrina and the first two volumes of her Casteel series,Heaven and Dark Angel.

Andrews passed away in 1986 and was such a popular writer that her publisher continued to put out similar series titles under her name(Andrew Neiderman,who is still doing that to this day). I outgrew the Andrews books,but when the movie version of the one that started it all,Flowers in the Attic,arrived at theaters,I was interested enough to want to check it out.

I didn't see it until it made it's debut on cable,which saved me from wasting good money on this hokey horrorshow of a film. Kristy Swanson starred as Cathy,the eldest daughter of the doomed quartet of children,and her performance here makes her work in Buffy The Vampire Slayer look like Academy Award winning material. Louise Fletcher co-starred as the evil grandmother,which was yet another opportunity for Fletcher to grab a quick buck by channeling her old Nurse Ratched routine:

One of the major flaws of the film is the dialogue,which is the kind that sounds fine when you're reading it but hearing it actually spoken aloud makes you cringe. Listen to this scene,where big brother Christopher explains to his little brother and sister about how the bible teaches us about there's a time for everything,even having ice cream,so they shouldn't mind being locked up in an attic while Mommy waits for Grandpa to drop dead and inherit all of his money:

One of the major changes in the storyline from book to film was the downplaying of the very intimate relationship between Cathy and Chris,which ticked off alot of fans of the book. Yes,incest is not the most tasteful of subjects but it was a key element of the plot and if you're going to make a film version of a really controversal book like this,why not go for it? It's like adapting Gone With The Wind and making it look like Scarlet O'Hara only saw Ashley Wilkes as a good friend of the family. The most we got of Cathy and Chris's forbidden love were scenes like this:

There are folks out there who are demanding that FITA be remade into a film that does the book justice but maybe it's best to let sleeping dogs lie here. Or better yet,hope and pray for a Broadway musical version that will sweep the nation! Okay,that didn't work for Carrie or Lestat, but you don't know until you try,right? It might even go a little something like this:

1 comment:

Pop Culture Diva said...

I remember when these books were so popular back in high school.