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Entertainment & Arts

How ‘Heathers’ survived the test of time to become a cult sensation

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Winona Ryder, from left, Kim Walker, Lisanne Falk and Shannen Doherty in 1989’s “Heathers.”
(New World Pictures)

When the movie “Heathers” was shown at the 1989 U.S. Film Festival, now known as Sundance, the Los Angeles Times film critic Sheila Benson wrote: “No amount of production sheen or acting skill seems excuse enough for the film’s scabrous morality or its unprincipled viciousness.”

In the New Yorker, Pauline Kael wrote that the script for the black comedy “promises that the picture will lift off into the junior division of Blue Velvetland. But layers of didacticism weigh it down.”

But “Heathers” has survived the test of time to become a cult sensation, and is now being celebrated on the 30th anniversary of its theatrical release.

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With its big hair and big shoulder pads, the film took on the nasty high school caste system in a way that was ahead of its time. “Heathers” turned the common cruelty of most teen films of that era on its head. In a conversation with LA Times film writer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus ), the movie’s writer, director and one of its Heathers explain that the film was designed as an antidote to John Hughes movies.

And later, “Fosse/Verdon” fans won’t want to miss Olsen’s talk with Steven Levenson, the Tony-winning writer of “Dear Evan Hansen”, and a writer and executive producer of the miniseries on FX.

“Fosse / Verdon” Footage Courtesy of FX Networks. “Heathers” trailer provided courtesy of Lakeshore Entertainment.

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