“Flowers in the Attic” miniseries spices up romance with incest

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“Flowers in the Attic” miniseries spices up romance with incest

A messy romance that should be shocking comes off overdone.

A messy romance that should be shocking comes off overdone.

Image Courtesy of Lifetime

A messy romance that should be shocking comes off overdone.

Image Courtesy of Lifetime

Image Courtesy of Lifetime

A messy romance that should be shocking comes off overdone.

Video Courtesy of Lifetime

Holly Chen, Staff Writer

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Incest has always been a taboo topic. So when V.C. Andrews introduced incestuous siblings, Cathy and Chris, in her 1979 novel, “Flowers in the Attic,” many young girl’s hearts were set aflame. Her novel could be compared to today’s “Twilight,” except her’s was a much more forbidden love story.

When Lifetime announced that it was making a new film series for all four of Andrews’ books and keeping true to the original story line, fans were excited. Many readers were disappointed with the 1987 film adaptation and hoped that this new one would not disappoint.

Cathy and Chris were two seemingly ordinary children who grew up in a loving household. When their father died in a tragic car accident, their mother took them and their two younger siblings to live in her father’s mansion. Once there, the children discovered that not only did their grandfather not know of their existence, but also their grandmother locked them in one room to punish them for their parents’ misgivings. Cathy and Chris learned that their parents were half-uncle and half-niece, (later revealed as half siblings) and had eloped together years before. Things came tumbling down when their grandmother accused Cathy and Chris of being in a relationship, and their mother abandoned them to pursue a young attorney.

After a series of unfortunate events, their mother killed their younger brother, and Cathy and Chris escaped the house, but not their feelings for each other. They were sure to be tested, as Cathy had her mind set on revenge.

This was ultimately a film series about family and love. It taught that revenge is destructive, and that love heals pain. All very cliche messages for a seemingly raunchy topic.

Filmmakers had a lot to work with, given how taboo incest is, but instead chose to play it safe, and created, at best, a weak spin-off of the books. They lightly drizzled on that incest sauce on an otherwise very sloppy ice cream sundae. The actors were pretty and pleasing to look at, but also boring and easily-forgotten. The plot was interesting, but the characters were too black-and-white. Either you’re on Chris and Cathy’s side, or you’re evil. There was no middle ground.

The book played with more dark emotions, and showed how seemingly good and innocent people can commit evil deeds. But the movies glossed over this subject with superficial ease.

The best character in the books was the grandmother, Olivia, because her motives were the most complex and confusing. On the outside, she came off as a religious fanatic, determined to make her grandchildren pay for her daughter’s transgressions, yet on the inside, she was a pitifully sad woman. Her husband didn’t love her, and he raped his stepmother. All her children died in horrible accidents. Yet in the movies, she came off as standoffish and dull. With one permanent scowl, she was a very flat character, who spent her time quoting scripture and punishing her grandchildren.

The relationships in this series were very messy, and everybody was related to each other in some way or another. Rape was a recurring event, and Cathy chose to spend her time getting revenge, rather than caring for her infant son.

All in all, these films weren’t worth the 6+ hours it took to watch and were just easy television garbage. If interested, you can purchase all four films in a DVD box set from Walmart for $21.64.

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