Flowers in the Attic first came out in 1979 as the novel every teenager had to own. It tackled topics that were taboo by then and had a creepy, eerie plotline that sent chills down the readers’ spines. After finishing Flowers in the Attic, readers were left with a bitter aftertaste, especially after rumors spread that the novel was based on a true story. Soon the novel became a hit and a sort of campy thriller that people passed along at slumber parties. With 40 million copies sold, V.C. Andrews’s first installment in the Dollanganger Series claimed teenager’s hearts and their parents’ criticism. The teenage favorite is now a Lifetime remake that will recruit more fans after it airs next year.
The main topic in Flowers in the Attic that sent parents and school principals up in arms was surprisingly, incest. A sexual relationship forms between an adolescent brother and sister as they face isolation, abuse and neglect from their own mother. Catherine Leigh “Cathy” Dollanganger and Christopher “Chris” Dollanganger, Jr. find solace in each other. Through awakened feelings and responsibilities beyond their ages, Cathy and Chris stand by their messed up family in which they play Mommy and Daddy to their younger twin brother and sister: Carrie and Cory. Their mother abandons them to the mercy of her own abusive mother; and the four Dollangangers are locked in their grandparents’ attic for three-and-a-half years. During those years they suffer starvation, torture and abuse at the hands of their religiously fanatical grandmother.
Andrews provides detailed description of what Cathy, Chris and the little twins go through; and the novel creates an eerie atmosphere of family secrets, abuse and fear. Due to a harrowing ending and equally suspenseful sequels, Flowers in the Attic‘s cult following remained faithful to it even 34 years later, as their excitement showed on social media amid news of the remake.
The novel is a horrifying example of how sins of the father -in the novel, the mother- are visited upon the children. A haunting narrative provided by Cathy, the eldest daughter of the Dollanganger family, the novel grabs its readers from the first page. It captures the emotions and evokes sympathy through the story’s main protagonists, Cathy and Chris; by the time they actually do it, the reader finds himself rooting for them.
The novel was adapted for the screen in 1987. Flowers in the Attic, the movie starred Victoria Tennant, Louise Fletcher, Kristy Swanson and Jeb Stuart Adams; and it was missing one very important plot twist: the incestuous relationship between Cathy and Chris. There were other, “taming” changes made to the novel; the movie was released and proved to be a huge disappointment to fans and critics alike.
The Lifetime Network’s remake of the classic novel, one can only expect the best. Flowers in the Attic director, Deborah Chow has promised to delve into the novel’s darkest places and themes. Viewers won’t be spared the most flinching moments of the novel; and they will get to connect with the characters just as they did back in the early eighties.
The new movie will star Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka as Cathy; Secret Diary of an American Cheerleader‘s Mason Dye as Chris; Heather Graham as their negligent mother Corrine; and Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn as their horrifyingly abusive grandmother Olivia Foxworth.
The movie will air on Lifetime on January 18th, 2014.
Check out the haunting Lifetime trailer below:
Written by: Jaylan Salah
Flowers in the Attic Lifetime remake releases new trailer