Ask pretty much anyone who was a teenager in 1980, and they’ll tell you that the V.C. Andrews novel Flowers In The Attic was that year’s must-read. And ask any of those same devotees about the highly-anticipated, universally despised 1987 big screen version of the tale, and… well, settle in, because they’ll have a lot to say. So the stakes are high where Lifetime’s upcoming take on the tale — set to air in January — is concerned. Done right, the network can expect a big audience who will eagerly anticipate them adapting the book’s sequels and other Andrews projects. So as longtime fans of the gothic chiller, what advice do we have? So glad you asked!
Keep It In The Family. It may be a taboo topic, but you simply can’t do this story and ignore — as the movie did — the incest factor. It is at the very heart of not only this story, but the sequels.
Don’t Mess With The Ending. The big-screen adaptation ended (spoiler alert!) with Corrine — the mother who locks her child away in the titular attic — dying. And while that provided newbie audiences with a bit of satisfaction, it ticked off fans of the series, who know that the second book (Petals On The Wind) is largely focused on daughter Cathy’s revenge plot against her mother!
Location, Location, Location. Over the course of the story, Cathy and her older brother, Christopher, transform their prison — as best they can — into a home-turned-playground for their younger siblings, Cory and Carrie. One thing the movie did get right was the huge, creepy mansion in which the story unfolds, including the massive attic.
Casting. Honestly, this one, Lifetime has clearly gotten right already. Ellen Burstyn is the perfect pick to play Corrine’s creepily controlling mom, Olivia. (To be fair, the original flick also did a great job in this department, with Louise Fletcher playing Olivia opposite Victoria Tennant’s delicate-yet-manipulative Corrine.)
Details, Details. You don’t mess with a classic, and for millions of fans, that’s exactly what Andrews’ novel is. Several scenes — either eliminated from or rewritten for — the original movie are practically iconic to readers. Olivia demanding that Christopher cut his sister’s hair… and the awful consequences of his refusal. Corrine’s jealousy of her daughter. And did we mention the incest? Be loyal to the source material, and fans of it will sing your praises. Disrespect the book, and… well, just look at reviews for the original movie!