Crazy Childhood: Heathers

Killing off a high-school clique? And I thought my high-school years were tough.
September 22, 2010

Heathers (1989)

Directed by: Michael Lehmann

Starring: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk, Kim Walker, Penelope Milford, Glenn Shadix

Who had all that time to write all that crap on the chalkboard?

This is probably the first time I've ever said this for a film that I watched in it's entirety...

I cannot comprehend this film.

I'm not kidding. I have NO idea what to say about this movie. This is one of those movies that actually require research. I saw this little bugger sticking out like a sore thumb at my local Blockbuster. It looked like a sweet and simple John Hughes rip-off with a dirty mind and a heart of gold. I figured I'd buy it (it was only available to buy) and give it a try.

What I got was completely different.

Winona Ryder auditions for Rambo.

What I got was a supposed "black comedy" where two teenagers start killing off a bitchy high-school clique and claiming them as suicides. That's the plot! Is that the thing John Hughes would do in his carrer? I mean, they never even explained this plot AT ALL on the DVD cover! Here's the description in it's entirety:

"It made overnight stars of Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, shocked uncool film critics everywhere and became one of the biggest cult classics of the '80s. Twenty years later, Heathers remains the only brilliantly black comedy about peer pressure, malicious croquet and having a brain tumor for breakfast. At Westerburg High where cliques rules, jerk jocks dominate and the most popular girls are all named Heather, it's going to take a Veronica (Ryder) and the mysterious - and possibly psychotic - new J.D. (Slater) to give teen angst a body count. Shannen Doherty co-stars in the most cruelly hilarious high school movie ever made, featuring a new, high quality tranfer. The extreme always seems to make an impression: Heathers is back like you've never seen or heard it before!"

Granted, they do mention the plot a little bit in the sentence "give teen angst a body count", but I don't think that was a detailed description enough for me. They put more detail into what the high-school clique does to it's victims rather than what the heroine does to them!

That's what I wrote when I found out they're making a sequel to Sherlock Holmes.

"I love my dead gay son! What? What did I say?"


Heathers is set at a high school where a bitchy clique (all named Heather) reign supreme. The group's leader (Walker), is the one that sets plans to humiliate anyone who fails to meet her standards. However, one of the members named Veronica (Ryder) feels remorse for the clique's victims and wants out.

She decides to team up with her insane boyfriend J.D. (Slater) to kill all the members of the group and claim them as suicides. Once suicides start to become popular in the school, Veronica starts to think if her plan for revenge was worth it....

Uhhh, the camera's over here, honey.


There's some pretty good one-liners sprinkled around here and there. My favorites include "Did you have brain tumor for breakfast?" and "Well, f**k me gently with a chainsaw!"

Though Winona Ryder was good, Christian Slater was the best actor in the movie. Anyone who can pull off a Jack Nicholson impression is awesome.

The movie bills itself as a "black comedy", though to be honest, I rarely laughed at all. I was both depressed and intrigued instead of laughing my head off. There's plot twists galore and I was always on the edge of my seat at every one of them.

"Hi! I'm Veronica Nuttamurderer!"


What's good about it is also a curse. Again, it's billed as a black comedy, but nary a laugh came out of my mouth. Teenage suicide is a touchy subject, and I think would've worked better as a teen drama. It would've been more powerful and easier to feel sympathetic for the characters. You know, the movie I was hoping to see!

David Newman's score is kinda weird in this movie. I'm used to hearing his run-of-the-mill epic orchestra, while in this movie, it feels like a music score for a stoner film like Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure or UHF. It's like John Williams going sythesiz---

Ugh...never mind.

Are we in Dick Tracy all of a sudden?

"Oh, don't mind me! Just getting back from murder--I mean from a monster truck rally!"

Oh my God! They killed Heather! You bastards!


This movie is weird. Just weird. It's both fun to watch and hard to watch at the same time. I think that's the point of this film, to feel uncomfortable about this kind of subject, so I guess it succeeds, though I'm still puzzled to find what's funny about it.

As for my rating on this movie, I don't think a rating will do it justice. It's not a godawful crap fest, I assure you. Does a rating really matter? It gets it's job done by making you think twice about teenage suicide, and that's all that matters. If you dare, see this movie sometime and decide for yourself.

See Ya!
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