WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Water-cooler talk on Monday (or Tuesday for those that have off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day) is going to be juicy. The film reboot of V.C. Andrews 1979 gothic novel, “Flowers in the Attic,” is set to premiere on Lifetime on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 8 p.m.
Originally turned into a movie in 1987, the theatrical retelling of Andrews shocking and twisted novel was a box office hit but panned by critics. The film deviated away from the book, changing key plot points and leaving out crucial scenes -- like the sexual relationship that developed between siblings Cathy (Kiernan Shipka) and Christopher (Mason Dye).
The differences between the book and movie(s) have been a main concern for fans, and the director and stars of the remake made sure to ease viewer’s minds. “The script is faithful to the book,” director Deborah Chow dished to Entertainment Weekly. “We stay very true to the book,” Dye added, referring to the incest that takes place.
And it’s true (for the most part)! After watching an advanced screening of “Flowers In the Attic,” we’re breaking down the main differences between the 1979 novel, 1987 film and the 2014 Lifetime reboot:
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The “Flowers in the Attic” novel took place between 1957 and 1960, but the original film in 1987 put the story in modern day. Lifetime’s reboot moves the film back to its original time period in the ’50s.
There are a couple differences with the father of Cathy, Chris, Cory and Carrie. In all three versions of “Flowers in the Attic,” Cathy receives a gift from her father when he returns home from a sales trip. However, that gift differs between the movies. In the original movie Cathy is gifted with a ballerina jewelry box that her grandmother breaks and Chris glues back together. Cathy also receives a ballerina jewelry box in the novel, but is forced to leave it behind at her old home. In the Lifetime film, she’s gifted with a ring that is confiscated by her grandmother.
The second difference with the father can be found in the way that his death was revealed. In the first film the family has been preparing for their father’s birthday when they received news that he had died. The reboot sticks closer to the novel, in which a few people are over for a birthday party when the cops show up to break the news about his death.
The main characters in “Flowers in the Attic” are the Dollanganger children, their mother Corrine and their grandmother, Olivia. However, there is also the small role of John, a butler/caregiver at Foxworth Hall. In the novel, John is unaware that the children were being locked in the attic, but in the 1987 movie, he knows of their existence and partially helps in keeping them detained in the room. The 2014 remake follows the book more closely, with John laying eyes on the children toward the end of the film and realizing that they are Corrine’s.
Cathy’s punished at one point after her grandmother discovers her and Christopher being sinful. The punishment is Cathy having her long beautiful blonde hair cut off, but how it’s done changes between the book and movies. In the novel, Olivia orders Chris to cut Cathy’s hair. When he refuses to do so, Olivia pours tar on Cathy’s hair while she’s sleeping. Chris manages to salvage most of her hair, but Olivia retaliates by refusing to feed all of them, forcing Chris to make Cory drink his blood in order to stay alive. Cathy ends up tricking Olivia into feeding them when she pretends to cut her hair and hides the rest of it under a turban. The 1987 movie takes a different route with Cathy being slapped by her grandmother and held down as she chops her hair. However, the Lifetime movie does a better job at following the novel. Like in the book, Chris refuses to cut off Cathy’s hair. The four children are withheld food, but Cathy and Chris try to ration what they have. Olivia eventually brings them food, but in the middle of the night puts tar in Cathy’s hair, leading Chris to chop it off.
Incest is a major theme throughout the novel. While both movies discussed how Corrine had married her half-Uncle (resulting in being written out of the will by her father), the 1987 movie failed to show the incest between Cathy and Chris. The Lifetime movie chooses to explore the sexual relationship between the siblings, but not as boldly as the book. In the novel their first sexual encounter occurs when Chris rapes Cathy after finding out that she kissed their stepfather in his sleep. The remake shows the kissing scene between Cathy and her stepfather, but decides to make the sex consensual between the brother and sister.
The mouse plays a crucial role in “Flowers in the Attic.” Becoming a pet for little Cory, the child names it Mickey in the book -- something that the Lifetime movie also followed. However, in the 1987 movie they change the name of the mouse to Fred.
While we won’t give away the ending of the Lifetime remake of “Flowers in the Attic,” we will explain the difference between the endings of the novel and the 1987 movie.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. Do NOT continue reading unless you want to find out how the book and 1987 version of the movie end.
In the book Corrine remarries Bart Winslow and spends months away from her children while on her honeymoon. When she returns, Cory becomes so ill that Olivia forces Corrine to take the young boy to the hospital. Cory doesn’t make it, and the kids realize that they need to escape or they’ll die like their brother. Deciding to sneak into their mother’s room to steal some jewelry to pawn, Chris and Cathy find that the room has been cleaned out -- their mother abandoning them with the money she inherited to live a life with her new husband. The three children run away after realizing that their mother was trying to kill them in order to keep her inheritance, and vow to exact revenge for Cory.
The 1987 movie has a very different ending. Instead of finding out that their mother got remarried months earlier, the kids overhear talk about the wedding and that it’s going to be held on the grounds. Furious that their mother is remarrying and that her future husband doesn’t know about them, the three kids decide to use the festivities as a cover for their escape. Beating their grandmother unconscious with a bedpost when she comes in to check on them, the children prepare to leave but first decide that they should reveal themselves to their grandfather. However, when they go into his room they discover that their grandfather had died months earlier and that his will states that Corrine would lose all her money if it was revealed she had children from her first marriage. Furious and realizing that their mother had been trying to poison them, the kids crash their mother’s wedding. Corrine denies knowing the children and dies when an altercation with Cathy leads to her falling off the balcony.
Will you be tuning in? Let us know in the comments section or send a tweet to @AmandaTVScoop.