Friday, May 12, 2017

Episode 40: Flowers in the Attic (1987)


“I will give you food and shelter, but never kindness or love, for it is impossible to feel nothing but disgust...for what is not wholesome.”

On November 14th, 2016, when this episode was originally recorded, Alan Thicke was alive, well, and doing the publicity rounds for a partially scripted reality show cheekily titled Unusually Thicke. On December 13th, just one month later, he suffered a fatal heart attack. Had I known he were to depart this mortal coil so soon after I digitized my nonsensical ramblings...well...I probably would’ve done it anyway. I didn’t trash the Canadian-born actor and television personality for the sake of shits and giggles. He allegedly committed what I consider some pretty deplorable acts around the time Flowers in the Attic was in production and though these things took place three decades before, it still turns my stomach to think about. “What the shit is the correlation between Alan Thicke and Flowers in the Attic?” you may ask. Well, you’ll just have to listen to the commentary to find out.


I’m not at all surprised that recording this episode triggered so many pre and post-adolescent memories, as Flowers in the Attic, both the novel and the original film, have been among my favorite thrillers for quite some time. The book was one of the first I’d read that explored such adult themes as rape, incest, and child abuse. Though much of the material in Flowers in the Attic, not to mention V.C. Andrews’ other works, was more appropriate for a much older audience, it was young adults who embraced them more than any other demographic. It comes as no surprise that the film was given a PG-13 rating by the MPAA and was marketed for a teenage audience. It is that same audience who, to this day, hold this low-budget thriller near and dear.


As novel adaptations often do, this incarnation of Flowers in the Attic strays from the original material in many capacities, which upset V.C. Andrews’ more dedicated fans. I think, however, most of those devoted readers have since come to appreciate the film for what it is and, most of all, appreciate Louise Fletcher’s dead-on portrayal of the evil and sadistic grandmother (as I say during the commentary, her performance frightens me to this day).


As always, you’re free to watch along, should you so desire. For the purposes of this commentary, I used the Image Entertainment Blu ray edition, which runs 1:31”33. On a small sidenote: During the recording, I wonder aloud if there is any online proof of my Alan Thicke anecdote and, having recently searched YouTube, I’m pleased to say there is. Have a look and hear the story straight from the horse’s mouth—so to speak, of course.


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