If you are at all familiar with V.C. Andrews’ Dollanganger stories, you know that the author’s wildly popular five-book series are basically readily consumable insanity. Andrews’ sensibilities ran towards the “Gothic” and the “family saga,” and that’s never been clearer than in her wackadoo Dollanganger series, which doesn’t require reading for people to have familiarity with it. Let’s put it this way – do you remember a creepy film from your childhood in which Kristy Swanson and her siblings were locked in an attic by their evil grandmother and weak-willed mother and she eventually banged her brother in said attic? Yup, you’ve got familiarity with Flowers in the Attic, which means you’ve got familiarity with Andrews and the Dollangangers and now you quite keenly realize just what type of “family saga” Andrews liked to write about.
Despite her prolific and bestselling writing career, only two Andrews books have ever been brought to the big screen – Flowers in the Attic came first with the 1987 Swanson-starring outing that also featured Louise Fletcher and Victoria Tennant, with the lesser-known Rain following in 2006. Flowers in the Attic is basically a curiousity – the attic incest film – but it’s a prime example of the taboo smut Andrews liked to peddle to the masses. It probably should have spawned at least a pair of sequels, considering the depth of material that Andrews wrote, but it’s instead a wacky footnote in film adaptation history. Until now! Flowers in the Attic is now on the receiving end of a relatively star-studded remake over at Lifetime (hey, it’s got Ellen Burstyn, Heather Graham, and Kiernan Shipka), and it appears that the TV movie might be a rarity – a remake better than the original.
At least, the new film’s trailers are a fair bit better than their predecessor.
Flowers in the Attic Original Trailer
The original trailer really plays up the Gothic elements of the feature and just how terrifying Foxworth Hall itself is (read: very terrifying, like the house from Richie Rich was possessed by the Devil) and doesn’t shy away from showing grandma’s flashing whip. It scans as a horror film (and it certainly sounds like one, too), and while that’s sort of true, it doesn’t exactly get to the heart of the matter. Also, from this trailer alone, could you guess the true nature of mama Corrine’s personality? (Yes, that’s a hint.) Could you guess what will happen with Cathy and Chris? Are you embarrassed for Kristy “Random Scream” Swanson? Do you want to maybe take a shower? You ain’t seen nothing yet.
Flowers in the Attic Remake Teaser Trailer
For some horrifyingly sad reason (everything related to this story is horrifyingly sad, FYI), the official Lifetime YouTube is only touting a 33-second teaser trailer, when we (read: just me) know that there’s a long-form trailer in existence that is so much better. But let’s at least give the teaser a perusal before getting to the good stuff. A true tease, this little looksie clues us in to the musical stylings we can expect from the full trailer (Taken By Trees’ haunting and, in this case, extremely creepy, cover of “Sweet Child O’ Mine”), how totally bonkers Ellen Burstyn’s character is (“I execute the punishment!”), and doesn’t totally back away from showing some totally inappropriate inter-sibling affection.
It does, however, give some firm nods to the original – including glimpses of Graham swanning around at fancy event, a terrible haircut for Shipka, and plenty of awkward shirt removal.
It still pales in comparison to the full trailer.
Vulture posted the full exclusive trailer yesterday, but that one will no longer load on their page (the video now only plays the 33-second teaser), which is a real bummer, because the longer trailer is incredible. All the stuff that stands out in that slim teaser is still here – covers, crazy, and kissing – but the long-form look at the feature really goes there when it comes to laying out backstory and piling on the incestuous pinings of the Dollanganger kids (if there was anything vague about the first film, that’s been firmly excised here). There’s also a lot more slapping and still more hair-cutting and even some dancing. There are, sadly, no flowers. Here’s hoping this longer look pops back on the web soon, because it’s slam-dunk marketing for both old fans of Andrews’ works and newbies who are still wondering what is going on with those Dollanganger kids (you have no idea).
Flowers In the Attic will debut on Lifetime on January 18th.