Flowers in the Attic

After her husband is killed in a car crash on his thirty-sixth birthday, mother of four Corrine Dollanganger (VICTORIA TENNANT) falls on to financial hard times. Rather than take a secretarial position or even a cashier job at the local food store, Corrine packs up her alliteratively named brood, Chris, Cathy (KRISTY SWANSON), and twins Cory and Carrie and returns to the mind-boggling mansion of her estranged parents. One of the caveats of the flaxen-haired family’s stay is that the ailing Grandfather must never know of the children’s existence, so that Corrine may work her way back into his good graces. The children are kept locked away in a room with twin beds and attic access, and Corrine assures them that it will just be a temporary housing solution, as her father is not much longer for this world. What Corrine neglects to tell her kids is that their late father was actually her uncle (awkward!), however their austere, Bible-banging Grandmother (LOUISE FLETCHER) is quick to inform the children that they are nothing more than the Devil’s spawn in her judgmental eyes. The kids try to make the most of their house arrest situation and transform the cobweb-riddled attic into a pretty sweet playroom complete with a ballet bar so Cathy may practice her dance moves. The passage of time is marked by the changes of the leaves on tree outside the attic window, and as visits from Corrine decline, the violent cruelty of the Grandmother escalates. Due to lack of sunlight, the siblings develop a heavy pancake makeup pallor, and the twins’ health seriously declines. It takes the death of Cory to finally get the “We really should devise a solid escape plan and get the hell out of here before we end up dead too” fires burning under Chris and Cathy’s assess. On their way out of the mansion, they learn that their Grandfather has been dead for almost two months, and although their mother was reinstated into his will, she will be re-disinherited if there is any proof of offspring from her first marriage to her uncle. It just so happens that their mother is getting remarried in a ballroom on the ground floor of the mansion, and the surviving Dollanganger kids raise their objections rather than hold their peace.When it comes to turning novels into feature films, it’s standard operating procedure that certain elements of the text will be lost in the adaptation. One of the key themes to V.C. Andrews best-selling novel was the incestuous yearnings between the older siblings which culminated with Cathy’s rape by Chris. Aside from a furtive glance of Cathy in the bathtub by Chris, FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC turns a blind eye to the brother-on-sister action, and ends up feeling more like a watered-down made-for-tv movie.


  • Grandmother is rather handy with a bull whip, and forces Corrine to show the kids the deep lash wounds on her back
  • Cathy gets a haircut from Grandmother, and follow-up trim by Chris
  • As the groundskeeper buries Cory, the camera pulls back to show three pre-dug graves for the other of the Dollanganger kids
  • Cathy bitch slaps Corrine so hard that she topples over a balcony and ends up being hung by her wedding veil
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
rubensian rose
rubensian rose
13 years ago

What can I say? I pitied the weak, selfish mother more than the kids!  This is hardly a story of sleazy, hard-hitting realism, and basically V C Andrews was agist toward everybody over 25…

13 years ago

This movie needs a remake…stat!  But THIS time keep the sex in it!