Flowers in the Attic (1987)

flowers in the attic poster 1987 movie
2.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 2/10
Visuals: 2/10

So bad it is good

Weird story, bad acting, looks cheap

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Flowers in the Attic

Studio:  New World Pictures/Fries Entertainment

Genre(s):  Horror/Drama/B-Movies

Release Date(s):  November 20, 1987

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

flowers in the attic dollanganger cast victoria tennant kristy swanson jeb stuart adams ben ryan ganger lindsay parker

You’ll never leave this place…I mean…you’ll never want to leave this place

The Dollangangers live a perfect life.  Their father Christopher (Marshall Colt) and their mother Corrine (Victoria Tennant) have the model family with twins Cory and Carrie (Ben Ryan Ganger and Lindsay Parker) and their older children Chris (Jeb Stuart Adams) and Cathy (Kristy Swanson).  When their father is killed in an accident, the only way they can financially survive is to return to Corrine’s estrange family.  The children learn that Corrine was disowned for scandalous reasons, and Corrine’s only chance to get back in her father’s good graces is to hide the existence of Chris, Cathy, Cory, and Carrie as he clings to life.  Cory, Carrie, Cathy, and Chris are forced to live in hiding and deal with their cruel grandmother Olivia Foxworth (Louise Fletcher) who sees them as abominations.  When they are given access to the house’s large attic, the children make a world of their own and wonder how long they will remain hidden.

flowers in the attic olivia foxworth louise fletcher

Maybe you shouldn’t keep your favorite keepsake precariously perched on a mantle where your psycho grandmother goes

Directed by Jeffrey Bloom, Flowers in the Attic is a psychological drama.  The film is an adaptation the first book in the popular series by V. C. Andrews first published in 1979 (Andrews got approval of the script and the movie).  The movie was met with a lot of criticism by critics and fans and a proposed adaptation of Petals on the Wind never developed.

Flowers in the Attic was one of my sister’s books.  As a desperate reader, I read the whole Dollangangers series of Andrews’ novels.  They were very trashy but reveled in their trashiness which jumped between gothic horror and romance novels.  Flowers in the Attic for the most part captures the novels but tones them down a bit to make them more palpable.

flowers in the attic dollangangers jeb stuart adams kristy swanson ben ryan ganger lindsay parker

This attic blows…next year Disney World

The book has a lot more sexual tension (and sex) between the brother and sister.  The movie does have some of it, but it smartly probably took away some of icky incest storylines that factor heavy into the story.  If they had gone for all out trash, it might have been more successful…but it was a crapshoot.  Instead a PG-13 rating was achieved, and it ended up a pretty bland script (original Wes Craven was tapped to direct but Andrews allegedly didn’t like his more horror based take on the story).

Be it the script or the casting, but the acting for the film is awful.  Louise Fletcher is a long way from her Oscar winning turn as Nurse Ratchet in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and it really feels like she’s just reading her lines.  The kids (including Kristy Swanson) were mostly just beginning actors.  Jeb Stuart Adams had done some TV and appeared in The Goonies in a minute role, but this was his first role where he really had any big screen time.  With such a weak script, stronger actors were needed if the movie had any chance of working.

flowers in the attic ending wedding kristy swanson jeb stuart adams lindsay parker

Man….nothing ever happens at the weddings I go to…

The movie in addition to the acting seems to play up the soap-opera feel.  While it is supposed to be a bit of a melodrama, the movie doesn’t seem to be able to land on one feeling.  The film is shot with a rather lackluster style and it feels like the claustrophobic nature of the imprisonment should have been played up…and more of the fantasy land of the attic might have helped.

Flowers in the Attic is in the so-bad-its-good category.  It teeters on the edge of just bad, but it has a bit of a kitschy feel.  I could see it being made into a play or something, but it just doesn’t work in this outing.  It’s kind of like A Series of Unfortunate Events…with incest and physical abuse.  The story was adapted again in 2014 for the Lifetime Channel and the film did finish out the entire Dollangangers series.

Related Links:

Flowers in the Attic (2014)

Petals on the Wind (2014)

If There Be Thorns (2015)

Seeds of Yesterday (2015)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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