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Anchor Bay presents

Flowers In The Attic (1987)

"Grandmother's house. Though it's been many years since I last saw it, I'll always remember that even my first impression of it was one of fear and wonder."- Narrator (Clare Peck)

Stars: Louise Fletcher, Victoria Tennant, Kristy Swanson, Jeb Stuart Adams
Other Stars: Ben Ryan Ganger, Lindsay Parker, Marshall Colt, Nathan Davis, Brooke Fries, Alex Koba, Leonard Mann, Bruce Neckels, Gus Peters, Clare Peck
Director: Jeffrey Bloom

Manufacturer: Crest National
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (Scary grandparents, incest)
Run Time: 01h:31m:38s
Release Date: 2001-04-10
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- C+A-B+ D+


DVD Review

With over 85 million copies of her books in print, the late Virginia Cleo Andrews, better known as V.C. Andrews, was an extremely prolific author of gothic, horror and fantasy. She had completed nine novels and twenty short stories before her breakthrough novel, Flowers In The Attic (the first in her Dollanganger series), was published in 1979, and became an instant bestseller. Originally titled The Obsessed, this fictionalized tale, based on a true story, would launch a career continued even after her death in 1986. Ghostwriter Andrew Neiderman, who has published work under her name, continues to reach a wide audience, and two of which, Pin (1988) and The Devil's Advocate (1997), have themselves been made into motion pictures. Although she makes a cameo appearance as a window washer in the film version of Flowers In The Attic, she died before it was released, never seeing the finished work.

They had a happy home life until their father unexpectedly died. Now, with their home being repossessed, and their mother unable to support them, the only chance for their future lies with their mother's estranged and extremely affluent parents. Cathy (Kristy Swanson), Chris (Jeb Stuart Adams), and their younger twin siblings Carrie and Corrie are carted off by their mother (Victoria Tennant) to the estate of their grandparents, whom they have never met due to events of long ago that left their mother disowned. Now, as the heiress to a huge fortune, she must make peace with her sickly father in order to be put back in his will. The only catch is that the children must never be seen by him. They are met by the servant and their grandmother, a mean old woman who expects the children to remain quiet and subservient to the rules of her household. The kids are taken to the room they will share, with only two beds for the four of them and a single bathroom. To make sure they are not wandering about the house, they are routinely locked in this room, with only infrequent visits from their mother. On one occasion, they're shown a secret doorway to the attic where they are allowed to play, though bars on the window keep them from ever venturing outside. As the months go by with even less sight of their mother, the children begin to wonder what their fate will be. When they decide to finally venture outside their prison, what awaits them may be too shocking for them to take.

The film does a good job of keeping up the suspense, and the performances by most of the cast are pretty good, especially Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest) as the grandmother, The younger children, though, don't really make the cut, in my opinion. One major point brought out in the novel is not addressed well in the screenplay, and that is the incest that plays a significant role in the story, as well as in the character development of both the mother and her children. While we do see the older children sleeping in the same bed, and see the grandmother's reaction, this aspect is fairly glossed over. As is the case with many screen adaptations, Flowers In The Attic does not live up to its literary counterpart, but it is still above average for the genre. Interestingly, the poster replica that is included credits A Nightmare On Elm Street creator, Wes Craven, with directing the film, instead of Jeffrey Bloom.

I wouldn't recommend this for younger children, as you may find they develop an aversion to visiting the grandparents after watching this.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Anchor Bay presents Flowers In The Attic in an anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer. As another of their New World Pictures releases, this has a similar image quality; natural, slightly soft, with realistic and well-rendered film grain, which only seems excessive in a few scenes. Colors look saturated, dirt and dust are minimal, and edge-enhancement is virtually nonexistent. Another nice looking disc.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The 2 channel mono track is clean with barely perceptable hiss, and no other anomalies present. Dialogue is easily discernable with no distortion. Christopher Young's score is well preserved here.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+ 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 27 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Alpha
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Poster replica
Extras Review: The disc features nice animated menus featuring Christopher Young's freaky theme music. The film's widecreen trailer is presented in an anamorphic transfer. A poster replica is included on the heavy cardboard insert card (crediting Wes Craven with directing).

Extras Grade: D+

Final Comments

Certainly worthy of a viewing for its twisted storyline, though fans of the book may come off feeling cheated. As the only V.C Andrews novel to make it to the screen, Anchor Bay has delivered an above average presentation of Flowers In The Attic.

Jeff Ulmer 2001-06-29