Maybe there’s still time to stop this crazy thing: A “Flowers in the Attic” TV movie is a very bad idea.
In case you’re not familiar with the trashy 1979 novel, let me give you a thumbnail sketch; it’s been burned into my brain since adolescence. In V.C. Andrews’ “Flowers in the Attic,” recently widowed Corrine abandons her four very blond, alliteratively named children to their cruel grandmother Olivia. Olivia soon locks Catherine, Christopher, Cory and Carrie away in the attic, where they get blonder and paler, eat doughnuts they shouldn’t and all but waste away. One of the children is murdered by a caretaker.
Oh, and the eldest brother and sister develop an incestuous relationship that includes a rape.
The book was controversial when it was published, being banned in some places -- and passed around avidly among schoolchildren in others. It was even a movie before -- in 1987, it was made into a film starring Victoria Tennant as Corrine and Louise Fletcher as Olivia.
That, apparently, is not enough for Lifetime, which has decided to produce another on-screen version. The Wrap reports that Heather Graham has signed on to play mom Corrine, and Ellen Burstyn will play evil grandmother Olivia.
Sure, Burstyn has an Oscar (so did Fletcher) -- it can’t redeem the material.
When reading about adolescents locked in an attic, it’s hard not to think of Anne Frank’s famous memoir, in which she openly wrote about her crushes and attractions. That’s one of the most disturbing things about “Flowers in the Attic” -- it’s not just a tawdry, fetishistic book, but one that contains echoes of a huge tragedy. Why the compulsion to put it back in front of viewers again? Why can’t it just die a quiet paperback death? Who knows? Maybe after the success of “Game of Thrones,” producers see a new enthusiasm for incest stories (blech).