Flowers in the Attic (1987) from Tuna

Flowers in the Attic (1987) is based on a powerful book by Virginia C. Andrews, full of murder, incest and other terrible things. The movie version is Gothic lite.  
Right off the bat, we begin with endless voice-over to set the stage. Seems Mommy, Daddy, Older brother, and the twins were in the process of happily-ever-aftering with Cathy (Kristy Swanson) our narrator, when Daddy dies. The family is broke, and Mommy decides to move in with Grandma, and win dying Grandpa's affection, and with it, a place in his will. 


Kristy Swanson appears in a thin bra. 
Grandma's house is a mansion, and Grandma gives everyone a cheerful welcoming speech. "Your mother has come home after seventeen years to repent for her sins and for her crime. Not only against your grandfather and me, but against God! Your mother's marriage was unholy! A sacrilege! An abomination in the eyes of the Lord! She did not fall from Grace! She leapt! Into the arms of a man whose veins pulsed with the same blood as hers! Not a stranger, but her own uncle! And you, the children, are the devil's spawn! Evil from the moment of conception!"

The children are locked in a single bedroom while Mommy is given 17 lashes with a wicked bullwhip, one for each of the 17 years she lived in sin. So much for the light childsplay. Momma does tell them about an attic accessible from a secret panel in their room, where the two older ones are to entertain the twins. That helps somewhat, until Grandma stops feeding them for a while, Momma is becoming scarcer and scarcer, and one of the twins gets VERY sick. 

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • no meaningful features

I suppose the second most impressive thing about this film is the amount of crap two mid to late teenage young adults take from Grandmother, Mommy, and a nearly dead Grandfather, before they get even. The most impressive thing is a scene with Cathy in a thin bra. This is the only flesh to be seen. 

Young Kristy Swanson did a good job in the role, and won a young performer award for her effort. That makes the film nearly worth fast-forwarding through. 

The Critics Vote

  • Maltin 2/4

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 4.8 
  • With their dollars ... it took in $15 million domestic 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description,  I will score this a D+.

Return to the Movie House home page