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Dear Diary, my teen-angst bullshit now has a body count
April 4, 2014 11:50 AM   Subscribe

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Heathers. The hellscape of Westerburg High was the setting for a dark comedy about teenage cruelty, murder, and suicide (or rather, the media glorification of it). While the initial release was a commercial flop, critics praised the film. "Heathers may be the nastiest, cruelest fun you can have without actually having to study law or gird leather products,” wrote Desson Howe, and Janice Maslin likened the film to a “demonic sitcom.”

Writer Daniel Waters originally envisioned the movie as "a three hour Stanley Kubrick high school film." In a recent Oral History, he talks about considering Brad Pitt for the role of J.D., initially rejecting Winona Ryder because she was “just not attractive,” and changing “Fuck me gently with a crowbar” to a chainsaw, because the latter was “more feminine.”

On March 31, 2014, Heather the Musical opened Off-Broadway. The critical response has been less positive, with reviewers faulting the play for being “poorly directed,” having “all the nasty black humor . . . leached out of it,” and more charitably, “a show to see while slightly buzzed.”
posted by bibliowench (137 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite

 
One of the great, great movies.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:52 AM on April 4 [10 favorites]


Being 14 when this movie came out: good age to be or best age to be?

I mean I still appreciate it, but man was it formative in ways I didn't even remotely understand at the time.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:57 AM on April 4 [19 favorites]


1. I still catch myself saying "Teenage suicide- don't do it!" at weird junctures.

2. As much as I love this movie, which is a ton, it's always bugged me that they changed the spelling of Westerberg.
posted by COBRA! at 12:01 PM on April 4 [5 favorites]


Winona Ryder <3
posted by wuwei at 12:07 PM on April 4 [11 favorites]


lessons to be learned and hugs to be shared

Broadway ruins everything
posted by ook at 12:07 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


I think I need a greasemonkey script that blocks every post that mentions any anniversary over 5 years.
posted by JanetLand at 12:12 PM on April 4 [11 favorites]


What's your damage??
posted by bunderful at 12:14 PM on April 4 [22 favorites]


I love JD's father. He is so weird and creepy but in a setting where I could see anyone growing up to be him.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:16 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


While there is so much to love about this movie, my favorite is still how they make the two jock killings look like a repressed homosexual suicide pact. As a high school closet case drama-nerd who feared (yet was attracted to) the football jocks, this was my vicarious revenge.

(And tell me I'm not the only one who kinda wanted the school to actually blow up in the end? Just a little?)
posted by dnash at 12:26 PM on April 4 [13 favorites]


I LOVE MY DEAD GAY SON
posted by spicynuts at 12:27 PM on April 4 [54 favorites]


First saw it on video, at age 17. I think it was the first movie I ever saw that made me really aware of lighting and filming styles. There's still something so stark and perfect about it. And it's still worth watching just for the clothes.
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:27 PM on April 4


...and you and the lion die like one.
posted by ODiV at 12:28 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


Love this movie. Every now and then I end up playing croquet somewhere and I immediately think of it. Reading the NYT review though ... I hate that sort of spoiler review. It's basically a Cliff's Notes synopsis of the entire movie from beginning to end with "I liked the first half but not the second half" thrown in. Come on, (wo)man!! Step up the writing!

Also, does anyone know the origin of the Nicholson shtick? I've never been clear whether that was supposed to be part of the character or if it's just part of Christian Slater.
posted by freecellwizard at 12:29 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Great pate, but I gotta motor if I wanna be ready for that funeral.
posted by Mchelly at 12:29 PM on April 4 [11 favorites]


Our love is God. Let's go get a slushie.
posted by dnash at 12:30 PM on April 4 [7 favorites]


(And tell me I'm not the only one who kinda wanted the school to actually blow up in the end? Just a little?)

Apparently, that was the original ending, with a prom scene set in heaven. The studio nixed it.
posted by bibliowench at 12:31 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


I may be in the minority here, but I think Heathers is mainly a ripoff of Massacre at Central High. J.D. is basically the David character from Massacre at Central High.
posted by jonp72 at 12:35 PM on April 4 [5 favorites]


Come on that was just yesterday. Damn I'm old.
posted by chavenet at 12:35 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


jonp72, no one at MetaFilter is going to let you play their reindeer games.
posted by Beardman at 12:36 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


I was always struck that, in the gold rush of things to blame for Columbine, I heard not a single talking head mention Heathers.

Somehow, "Mmm! Mmm! I can't get enough of 'em! Are you satisfied?" has turned into an in-joke with a friend.

"We beat the bitches."
posted by adipocere at 12:38 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


jonp72, why do you have to be such a megabitch?
posted by thelonius at 12:42 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Lick it up, baby, LICK IT UP.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:43 PM on April 4 [6 favorites]


I got insane cred for finding a laserdisc copy of Heathers to give as a gift. It was either that or first pressings of obscure New Order. I go for what is attainable.
posted by jadepearl at 12:43 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


Does Christian Slater have any other schtick besides Nicholson? Every role he plays he channels Nicholson. It got old which is probably why he barely gets work anymore.
posted by spicynuts at 12:44 PM on April 4 [6 favorites]


Eskimo!
posted by gingerbeer at 12:46 PM on April 4 [4 favorites]


My afterlife is SO BORING. If I have to sing Kumbaya one..more...time...
posted by dnash at 12:47 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


I was impressed to see that she made proper use of the word 'myriad' in her suicide note.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:48 PM on April 4 [9 favorites]


Winona Ryder <3

Winona Ryder nutsack?
posted by srboisvert at 12:50 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


I love my dead gay son!
posted by xingcat at 12:51 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Damn you srboisvert. That's supposed to be a heart. I don't think "nutsack" can be unseen, and the web is increasingly plastered with <3
posted by nobeagle at 12:54 PM on April 4 [5 favorites]


Whether or not a teenager decides to kill themselves is the biggest decision of their life.
posted by likeatoaster at 12:57 PM on April 4 [7 favorites]


Heathers is 103 minutes long. The high school class we regularly skipped, including the 2 block walk each way to my friends house, was around 95 minutes long. I probably saw Heathers 6 times before I saw the ending.

My friends parents kept a stash of frozen Cadbury's Cream Eggs in the extra freezer downstairs at all times. I will forever associate Heathers with the taste of frozen Cadbury's Cream Eggs.
posted by feckless at 1:01 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


Calling Heathers-era Winona Ryder, "just not attractive," is perhaps the wrongest statement ever made.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:02 PM on April 4 [22 favorites]


Has anyone done a Westeros/Westerberg thing yet
posted by bleep at 1:03 PM on April 4 [4 favorites]


Also, I need to get myself some shoulderpads bigger than my own head.
posted by bleep at 1:04 PM on April 4


Both the meanest Heather and the nerdy college-bound kid are dead now. Spooky.
posted by jonmc at 1:09 PM on April 4


Killing Heather would be like offing the wicked witch of the west. Wait, east. West! GOD I sound like a fucking PSYCHO.
posted by lalex at 1:13 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


Does Christian Slater have any other schtick besides Nicholson? Every role he plays he channels Nicholson.

The best is when he does it (briefly) in one of the Star Trek Movies.
posted by COBRA! at 1:25 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


save the speeches for Malcolm X, I just wanna get laid
posted by any major dude at 1:30 PM on April 4


I don't think he ever got better than Heathers and True Romance.
posted by spicynuts at 1:30 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


ummmm Pump Up the Volume hellloooooo
posted by lalex at 1:33 PM on April 4 [27 favorites]


Probably three best Jack Nicholson impressions this side of the Hollywood Improv.
posted by any major dude at 1:35 PM on April 4


No love for the chainsaw quote?
posted by Alles at 1:36 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


Maybe I was already too old for it (although that didn't stop me from enjoying Daria when I finally got around to watching the series a couple of years ago), but I was pretty disappointed with Heathers, maybe in part because I'd read a glowing feature on it somewhere and made a point of renting the video. The dialogue comes off as being incredibly affected, the way that people have accused Diablo Cody's script for Juno as being; there's such a thing as being in love with your own cleverness, and I think that Daniel Waters is pretty deep in that territory.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:40 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


The white whale drank some bad plankton and splashed through a coffee table and now it's your turn to take the helm.
posted by munchingzombie at 1:40 PM on April 4


This movie came out when I was headed to high school, and it was a top go-to VHS throughout those years. My friend and I were watching it for the xth time one night around 1992 and noticed that almost every script & visual element is mirrored over the course of the film -- a sort of endless inverted twinning, from the bulldogs in the school logo to the Big Fun noose notes to the heather haircolors to the jock pair to the dad/son dialogue reversal to the lighting cigarettes off a burning lover to the etc etc etc. We filled a few yellow legal sheets with our notes on everything we could find that conformed. I still don't know what it means.

I loved Mean Girls when it came out but the script seemed like a particularly toothless retread of this, one of my all-time favorites.
posted by damehex at 1:40 PM on April 4 [5 favorites]


I don't patronize bunny rabbits.
posted by dontoine at 1:41 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


damehex:
I loved Mean Girls when it came out but the script seemed like a particularly toothless retread of this, one of my all-time favorites.
Fun coincidence: Daniel Waters' younger brother directed Mean Girls. Daniel Waters used some of the money from the sale of the Heathers screenplay to put him through film school.
posted by whittaker at 1:45 PM on April 4 [7 favorites]


"Will somebody please tell me why I __________?"
"Because you're an idiot."...
is a recurring theme in conversations with friends to this day.
posted by ApathyGirl at 1:46 PM on April 4 [4 favorites]


*sticks bomb up lion's butt*
posted by jonmc at 1:49 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Heathers was Mean Girls with teeth.
posted by evil otto at 1:49 PM on April 4


Something that screams at me as an adult and went over my head as a teen, how freaking WASPy/Preppie the milieu is, from the obvious things like croquet to the too-clever speaking patterns and dry sangfroid.
posted by The Whelk at 1:51 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


Like I just imagine this was the high school most of the characters in The Secret History went to.
posted by The Whelk at 1:52 PM on April 4 [14 favorites]


I really have nothing but this movie to thank for my bleak-as-fuck sense of humor.
posted by naju at 1:52 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


I've gradually developed a fondness for Mean Girls, but when you put it next to Heathers, it feels like you're watching Thomas Bowdler stage a production of The Revenger's Tragedy.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 1:52 PM on April 4 [5 favorites]


I also play guitar, by the way.
posted by petebest at 1:52 PM on April 4


You were nothing before you met me. You were playing Barbies with Betty Finn. You were a Bluebird. You were a Brownie. You were a Girl Scout Cookie.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:55 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


Does Christian Slater have any other schtick besides Nicholson? Every role he plays he channels Nicholson.

The best is when he does it (briefly) in one of the Star Trek Movies.
posted by COBRA! at 4:25 PM on April 4


You mean the one where his mother was the casting director?
posted by McCoy Pauley at 1:56 PM on April 4 [7 favorites]


Thank god the nepotism only got him a few lines.
posted by COBRA! at 1:58 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Mean Girls is in many ways a response to Heathers. You can't tell me Tina Fey et al did not glom onto that movie as much as the rest of us.
posted by furiousthought at 2:00 PM on April 4 [4 favorites]


Like I just imagine this was the high school most of the characters in The Secret History went to.

Yeah, especially Empress Theodora. She's a total Heather.

Wait, what?
posted by General Tonic at 2:07 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


I also play guitar, by the way.

Wrong movie, Pete Best. However, as much as I love Heathers, that one in many ways was more real, and more resonant.
posted by jonmc at 2:07 PM on April 4


Weird, I just watched Heathers last weekend, for the first time in 25 years I guess. It was good enough I suppose, but the dialogue is a bit precious, and it's definitely time-stamped 80s in its art direction and rather intrusive soundtrack. This weekend, to complete the high school satire trilogy we're watching Mean Girls, which I've never seen, and something else apparently in the same vein called Jawbreaker, which I'd never even heard of.
posted by Flashman at 2:08 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Does Christian Slater have any other schtick besides Nicholson? Every role he plays he channels Nicholson. It got old which is probably why he barely gets work anymore.

Also the fact that he couldn't act his way out of a wet paper bag with giant EXIT signs might be a factor just saying.

and something else apparently in the same vein called Jawbreaker, which I'd never even heard of.

You are going to love the shit out of this movie.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:10 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


A couple years ago, I was curious to see how Heathers would play now that I don't think killing all jocks is a reasonable response to high school. Turns out it's *even better*. The biggest difference was how prominent the scenes with J.D.'s Dad became; the grown-up world went from merely clueless to actively malevolent, and the target of the satire seemed much broader. And now that I understand film better, the decisions Waters makes are much more prominent: what some people call "affected", I call "stylized", and I always like it when movies get aggressive about their own style.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 2:11 PM on April 4 [14 favorites]


Such a fun, delightfully dark movie.

ESKIMO
posted by rmd1023 at 2:12 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


I always assume Heathers was very influential on a young Wes Anderson but with wistful whimsy replacing arch murderous manners.
posted by The Whelk at 2:28 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


This film is amazing. I also highly recommend this book by John Ross Bowie (who some may know from the Los Angeles comedy scene but many more know as Kripke on the Big Bang Theory).
posted by cnanderson at 2:36 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


You're beautiful
posted by lalex at 2:36 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


My sister and I both will still look at each other and say "Jesus, Heather!" at points when one of us has devolved into pure bitch mode.
posted by dejah420 at 2:38 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


what some people call "affected", I call "stylized", and I always like it when movies get aggressive about their own style.

Exactly. I don't think the dialogue was ever supposed to be graded on a realism scale. It's as deliberately overdone as the costumes and the story.
posted by dnash at 2:40 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


Mean Girls is in many ways a response to Heathers. You can't tell me Tina Fey et al did not glom onto that movie as much as the rest of us.

True. I mean, obviously, Heathers came first. But Mean Girls, despite its darker elements, appears nearly lighthearted next to Heathers. Heathers, as a movie, is very much not fucking around.
posted by evil otto at 2:41 PM on April 4


This movie, Clueless, and my Mom's verbal tics* are all part of the reason why I have a huge soft spot for the Southern California 80s "As IF" accent.

I've always wanted an excuse to just talk like that for a whole scene.

* a professional woman of five decades who will tell you to "take a mental margarita already!"
posted by The Whelk at 2:42 PM on April 4 [5 favorites]


Heather my love, there's a new sheriff in town.

Heathers is a great movie, and the fact that I was in high school when it came out just made it even better.
posted by medusa at 2:49 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


This is great!

Winona Ryder <3
A heart? Duh. I thought it was like a whistle or steam.

"I don't think he ever got better than Heathers and True Romance."
Sailor and Lula not dark enough for you? haha
posted by xtian at 2:52 PM on April 4


Corn Nuts!
posted by Muddler at 3:05 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


I must say I was very surprised that such a relentlessly dark comedy came out of Hollywood. I was shocked and amused and shocked and amused etc.
posted by asok at 3:05 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


From the oral history, Shannen Doherty says:

Most people still come up to me about 90210 or Charmed. So when people do stop me about Heathers, I think I give them extra time because I’m so proud of the movie.

(emphasis mine)

This feels like information that is super valuable and I'm really not sure why I am so excited to someday get to test this out. But I totally am.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:12 PM on April 4 [14 favorites]


The dialogue comes off as being incredibly affected

I also think that this was a conscious choice of the director.

I remember a lot of non-mainstream movies at the time using similar slightly unnatural-sounding dialogue; Blue Velvet and Hairspray both come to mind.
posted by kanewai at 3:37 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


I saw the prom scene ending awhile back (it's an extra on the DVD), which I thought was great, but after reading the oral history, I really wish they had at least shot this version

The ending I should’ve fought harder for is where Martha Dumptruck pulls out a knife, stabs Veronica, and says, “F— you, Heather.” And Veronica’s on the ground laughing, with a knife in her stomach, saying, “My name’s not Heather. My name’s not Heather.”
posted by likeatoaster at 3:40 PM on April 4 [4 favorites]


Actually, now that I think about it, I think it just the script of the prom scene ending that they released?
posted by likeatoaster at 3:46 PM on April 4


My friend, (also Mefis own) Alan wrote about the anniversary for the Atlantic recently. He loves it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:55 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


We watched this at my bachelorette party and played the Heathers drinking game.
posted by limeonaire at 3:57 PM on April 4 [4 favorites]


I saw Heathers for the first time during an odd era in cable television where somewhat racier or edgier movies were played specifically during the day, as opposed to a night time watershed, because that is when kids were in school. The first time I saw it, I was in sixth grade and so sick the whole thing came off almost as a fevered dream. I couldn't believe a movie like that that spoke so specifically to my view of teenage life in that era existed.

One thing though, and its a minor point at best. But I very specifically remember there being a scene that seems to have been cut from every home video release for some reason. But when it was on television, I remember there being a scene of two police officers smoking a joint. The two officers who discover the homosexual suicide pact jocks. In every release that I have seen, you see the second part of a scene where one of them says "Hey, I heard it that time.", but I remember there being a first part of the scene where the officers are smoking a joint and think they hear something but ignore it. Does anyone else remember this?
posted by mediocre at 4:30 PM on April 4


I love this movie beyond words. The first time I saw it I was tripping on two hits of acid, which I'm sure intensified the experience, but I seen it at least a few dozen times sober as well and enjoyed it just as much. "Heathers" became something of a test of compatibility movie for me (or at least it should have been - my freshman year of college girlfriend hating it was a warning sign I probably should have heeded - she sort of *was* a Heather and I imagine didn't know who she was supposed to be rooting for).

Many of the film's great quotes have already been mentioned here. I always liked, "Well, it's just like - they're people I work with, and our job is being popular and shit."

Both the meanest Heather and the nerdy college-bound kid are dead now. Spooky.

The sad irony being that the "Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast" Heather actually died of a brain tumor.

posted by The Gooch at 4:36 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


Question: Why does Veronica write SO BIG? She's wasting soooooo much paper.
posted by limeonaire at 4:41 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


I always thought the large handwriting and monocle were a nod to James Joyce..
posted by mediocre at 4:52 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


For mine, this and Risky Business are THE eighties teen movies. Far more insightful and interesting than anything John Hughes was involved with.
posted by smoke at 5:14 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


Now that you're dead, what are you gonna do with your life?
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:43 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Btw kids, on netflix streaming.
posted by evilDoug at 6:06 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


When I was doing my first post-doc, about 10 years ago, I had a couple of college kids do summer studentships with me. One Friday afternoon, we had run out of labwork and were mooching around waiting for happy hour, when I remembered that I had my Heathers dvd in my bag (who knows why). Asked the kids if they'd ever watched it. Nope, too young when it came out, and it was never on their radar.

Best Friday afternoon in lab ever. I blew their minds. One of them still emails me occasionally, signing off "fuck me gently with a chainsaw". Heh.
posted by gaspode at 6:18 PM on April 4 [4 favorites]


Wow the whole thing's on the Interweb

Wrong movie, Pete Best. However, as much as I love Heathers, that one in many ways was more real, and more resonant.

Augh! Ich luga bullets! How could I have been so stupid!
posted by petebest at 6:43 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Spoiler Alert

Say what you will about Christian Slaters acting chops, but the scene when JD lights his cigarette on Veronicas searing flesh transcends funny in the dark comedy genre.
posted by vozworth at 7:43 PM on April 4


Petebest: Wow the whole thing's on the Interweb

Damn you.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:55 PM on April 4


also a joke you miss as a kid, Veronica's drinking going up in a blast when she downs a match in it.

Jesus christ this is waaaay darker than I remember and it was pretty dark from what I remember - also super into girl's experience of socialization, also again, SUPER WASPy/Prep like OH MY GOD

this is totally the high school prequel for The Secret History and like, American Psycho.
posted by The Whelk at 9:17 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


HOW AWFUL ARE ALL THE MEN IN THIS MOVIE A) THE WORST OR B) THE SUPER WORST

no wonder they go on a murder spree.
posted by The Whelk at 9:18 PM on April 4


AU CONCEPT, Vanessa becomes Marla from Fight Club it totally fits
posted by The Whelk at 9:20 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


The Whelk, more like The Rules of Attraction. Both set in Camden, after all. Mentioned in Less Than Zero.
posted by adipocere at 9:28 PM on April 4


DEAR ONE SECOND JON LENNON-LOOKING COUNTER CULTURE LADY YOU ARE A DELIGHT
posted by The Whelk at 9:31 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


adipocere, it's pretty much a shared universe between the two of them.
posted by The Whelk at 9:32 PM on April 4


er Veronica, like Betty and Veronica.

wow I missed so many upper class parody notes when I saw this as a kid

The preacher! I choose to believe this is in the Beetlejuice universe.

THAT RIGHTEOUS DUDE, JESUS CHRIST.
posted by The Whelk at 9:36 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


NO I TAKE IT BACK THE PERFECT DOUBLE FEATURE WITH THIS MOVIE IS DEATH BECOMES HER.
posted by The Whelk at 9:37 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


LOOKIT THE NERDS
posted by The Whelk at 9:41 PM on April 4


DEAR ONE SECOND JON LENNON-LOOKING COUNTER CULTURE LADY YOU ARE A DELIGHT

Yeah, the stoner-crowd bits were my favorite part of the movie the last time I saw it.
posted by furiousthought at 9:42 PM on April 4


oh god, all the hairspray, all the combing, all the layers, these girls must've spent an hour before school
posted by The Whelk at 9:43 PM on April 4


HOMOSEXUAL ARTIFACTS

mascara and a candy dish

MINERAL WATER
posted by The Whelk at 9:45 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


another upper class tell, Veronica's whole thing in the plot is that she can mimic people's writing cause she's so educated and learned

also

:"hould I just whip it out?"
posted by The Whelk at 9:46 PM on April 4


this movie paris very nicely with Hannibal yes like a fine wine
posted by The Whelk at 9:49 PM on April 4


also something you don't get as a kid, the stoner cops
posted by The Whelk at 9:51 PM on April 4


Grow up Heather! Bulemia is so '87
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 9:51 PM on April 4


THE QUARTERBACK BUGGERING THE LINEBACKER

what a waste
posted by The Whelk at 9:53 PM on April 4


adults are smoking indoors

so weird
posted by The Whelk at 9:57 PM on April 4


aw poor betty
posted by The Whelk at 10:02 PM on April 4


holding the pen in the hand is again, some Hannibal shit.

ESKIMO.
posted by The Whelk at 10:04 PM on April 4


Corn Nuts!

Plain or BQ?
posted by makonan at 10:08 PM on April 4


A WOODSTOCK FOR THE 80s!


I should've let you take that job at the mall!
posted by The Whelk at 10:09 PM on April 4


so many horror movie shots.
posted by The Whelk at 10:13 PM on April 4


this is straight up horror movie
posted by The Whelk at 10:14 PM on April 4


babe
posted by The Whelk at 10:14 PM on April 4


sexual orientation: the ash-filled kiss Veronica gives Heather on the cheek
posted by The Whelk at 10:18 PM on April 4


I was not-quite-16 when Heathers came out, and it was pivotal for me.

(I don't really like your friends either.)
posted by desuetude at 10:19 PM on April 4


... ... from the IMDB Heathers trivia page:

J.D. tricks Veronica into killing the jocks by claiming to use "ich luge" bullets, which he claims only pierce the skin. "Ich lüge" is German for "I'm lying".

The original screenplay had a different ending in which Veronica kills J.D. by shooting him and then straps the bomb (a much larger and more complicated piece of equipment, described as being "a cylinder as large as a television set") to herself, blowing up as J.D. does in the final ending. What is placed in the final ending as JD's boiler-room speech about "imagine I blew up the school, imagine I blew up all the schools" is contained in a suicide note found in Veronica's locker by Heather McNamara and Betty Finn. The movie ends with an eerie prom sequence set in Heaven, tying into JD's assertion that the only place everyone will truly get along is in Heaven. The prom begins with students dancing within their social cliques, then switching partners in odd pairings like metalheads dancing with Heathers and one of the murdered jocks getting his prom picture taken with a tipped cow; the punch being served is the drain cleaner used in the first murder scene, and "Dumptruck" is singing onstage as the entertainment for the evening. This was intended to be shot but the studio thought it was too dark for the target teenage crowd and opted for a lighter ending.
posted by Auden at 11:26 PM on April 4




at filming (1987), Westerburg High School Juniors were:

Heather (Kim Walker): 19
Heather (Shannon Doherty): 16
Heather (Lisanne Falk): 22
and Veronica (Winona Rider): 16
...
J.D. (Christian Slater): 18
posted by Auden at 3:37 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


"Heathers" is a good double feature with "Parents" for remarkably dark wtf-ery.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:12 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


My dad wanted to take me to see this when it was in the theatre.

I was eleven.

(In his defense, I don't think he quite realized exactly how dark it was.)
posted by pxe2000 at 6:33 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


MINERAL WATER

Yeah, but this is Ohio. If you don't have a brewski in your hand, you might as well be wearing a dress.
posted by dnash at 7:00 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


To this day, I still use the line: "I gotta motor if I wanna be ready for that funeral."
posted by valkane at 7:29 AM on April 5


Jesus.. I never really realized that the second half of the cow tipping scene has a Heather straight up getting raped in the background..
posted by mediocre at 5:33 PM on April 5


I saw this for the first time when I was 11 or 12 and I think I was a bit young, since I didn't really get that it was supposed to be a black comedy. I think I thought that it was actually supposed to be a teen cautionary tale with some funny parts. And I really did not like it - I thought it was super-cheesy, which it is, if you're taking it at face value.

Some other drama geek actually set me straight when I was 14 and I was oh god so embarrassed to have not gotten it (pretty sure there's nothing more embarrassing to a teenage drama geek than missing camp or dark humor). I rewatched it a few years later and enjoyed it a lot more, but I think I've never been able to un-see the cheese.
posted by lunasol at 6:37 PM on April 5


I was fourteen when it was released. Not sure if it was ever at Australian cinemas, so I first saw it on VHS. I borrowed a copy from a guy at school, who in my hazy memory is kinda J.D. like - and it felt illicit watching this film, and sharing it among my friends and enjoying this bleak comedy about high school while I was in high school.

Also, my mother's name is Heather - so I had to keep it from her. What would she think?
posted by crossoverman at 3:52 AM on April 6


My daughter is named Veronica - officially, after her great-grandmother's middle name - but unofficially, after both Veronica Sawyer and Veronica Mars. She is 5. In the future, when she's ready, I will hand down my copy of "Heathers" on VHS, and after we will laugh about obsolete technology, we will watch it online and she will be amazed.
posted by candyland at 4:55 AM on April 6 [3 favorites]


Kind of surprising that Michael Lehmann's post-Heathers directing career ended up being, essentially, that Janeane Garofalo romcom, a bunch of garbage, and a bunch of journeyman tv episodes. I'd have felt confident predicting great things for him 25 years ago. And while 25 years of steady employment in Hollywood is nothing to sneeze at, it sort of seemed like a given he had more great movies in him. And unless you're a contrarian with a weird hard-on for Hudson Hawk, it'd be hard to argue that ever materialized.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:27 PM on April 6


*discreetly covers his crotch ... with a hat*
posted by adipocere at 7:01 AM on April 7


From the oral history link.
WATERS I did come up with this crazy, cockamamy Heathers 2 where Veronica becomes a page for a senator named Heather, played by Meryl Streep. The ending is her assassinating the president and getting away with it — and it’s a good thing.

RYDER First of all, I don’t know what their problem is with not wanting to make a sequel. I mean, I get that it’s a special movie, and the pressure of a sequel, and it’s a moment in time that you can’t recapture. But my theory was: There are Heathers after high school. And there are Kurts and Rams. Dan came up with: It’s Veronica, years later, she’s in Washington. She’s somehow erased her past. And she’s being blackmailed, there’s like men in suits who know about the Westerberg murders. And I’m like, “What if Christian comes in as the Obi-Wan guy and explains to me…” And I remember the First Lady was Meryl Streep. I’m like, “Guys, this is genius!” Every time I [mentioned it to] Michael and Dan and Denise, they would snicker! Like, “Aww, that’s so cute.” I’m like, “Guys, this is genius! This is such a good idea!”

WATERS I told Winona the idea without any more elaboration than I’m giving you, and a year later I hear from her: “So I talked to Meryl. She’s in!” I’m like, “What?!”

RYDER I was working with Meryl on The House of the Spirits. I was pitching her the whole thing in the makeup chair one day. She was very sweet about it, and she was like, “Oh, that sounds really great!” But what else are you going to tell a panting 19-year-old? She could’ve been just waiting for me to shut up. [Laughs]

posted by zarq at 7:42 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Michael Lehmann's post-Heathers directing career

I think Meet The Applegates is a cult classic waiting to happen. Hudson Hawk isn't great or anything, but it's not the total pile of shit that everyone seems to think it is. And Airheads, well, I was a teenage metalhead so it's an automatic win for me.
posted by mediocre at 2:25 PM on April 7


Not sure if it was ever at Australian cinemas

It was! I saw it with my best friend the day after our Year 10 formal, so that would've been late November or early December 1989. I have no idea how I heard about it. I must've read a review somewhere, probably in the paper.

We really liked it, but I don't think we appreciated just how groundbreaking it was. American high school culture seemed so distant from our own experiences that the world of Heathers could've been just as real as the world of Sixteen Candles.
posted by Georgina at 6:57 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


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