FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC
This film adaptation of Flowers in the Attic was one sanctioned by Virginia Andrews, who demanded script approval from the producers. At one point, Wes Craven worked on an adaptation but incredibly enough this was rejected by Andrews and the final scripting-directing chores went to Jeffrey Bloom. Previously, Bloom had written a number of tv movies and directed three undistinguished films (see below). Virginia Andrews died just before the film was ever released.
One could at least say Andrews turgid sub-Harlequin prose gets what it deserves on screen. Actually, it gets a good deal worse. In fact, fans of the book usually detest the movie. All the prurience that made the book a best-seller has been trimmed clearly by a studio that was scared of any hint of indecency the incestual relationship between the brother and sister has been left as merely suggestion, while the scene where the brother rapes the sister at the end is entirely missing. However, what is unnoticed in this is that the removal of the taboo elements effectively guts the film of the prurient appeal that was the books selling point.
All that is left emerges as alternately tedious and ludicrously histrionic melodrama. The climactic scene where Kristy Swanson bursts into the wedding ceremony waving a cookie and yelling the prize line Eat the cookie, followed by a ridiculously contrived just desserts ending, is one of those scenes that bad movie fans enjoy. There is a good deal of melodramatically over-the-top bad acting. Neither Victoria Tennant nor Louise Fletcher, doing another variant on her Nurse Ratched typecasting, manage to convince in underwritten roles one, for example, never finds out why the grandmother rejects the children, or why the mother returns to her authoritarian father and so complicity goes along with murdering off her own children. Kristy Swanson is adequate in her role, no more than that her attempts to join in the histrionics are not at all believable and her white hair wig is laughably unconvincing. Jeffrey Bloom has an occasionally nice eye for clean compositions of perfectly mown lawns and sinister luminous avenues of trees that occasionally manage to instill a menacing, foreboding quality a shame he has nothing else.
Jeffrey Blooms other films of genre note have been as director-writer of the monster movie spoof Blood Beach (1980), the script for the horror anthology Nightmares (1983) and writing-directing the alien visitor tv movie romance Starcrossed (1985). Flowers in the Attic was the only highlight of Blooms career and he has since failed to direct another movie. No other Andrews works either hers or Andrew Neidermans have so far been adapted to the screen despite their continuing popularity.
The Virginia C. Andrews novel was later remade as the Lifetime tv movie Flowers in the Attic (2014) featuring Heather Graham as the mother and Ellen Burstyn as the grandmother. This was followed by adaptations of Andrews follow-up books Petals on the Wind (2014), If There Be Thorns (2015) and Seeds of Yesterday (2015). This was followed by Lifetime adaptations of other Andrews works such as My Sweet Audrina (2016) and Heaven (2017).