I was flipping through Hulu trying to find a reason to keep paying my monthly subscription and saw that they had “Heathers”. It was a movie that I didn’t see when it first came out, but like many cult movies something I found on VHS years later. During my high school years I wasn’t really involved in the social circles as it didn’t really interest me, but as I grew up and saw the movie I enjoyed it. Seeing it again as an adult in post Columbine and terror America I am glad that the movie was made when it was.
“Heathers” is a black comedy released in 1988 and helped launch the careers of both Winona Ryder and Christian Slater as some of the go to teen and young adult actors of the 80s and 90s. It’s a movie that studios wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole today mainly because of some of the themes involved such as teenage suicide and violence in schools. A movie where the climatic ending is blowing up the local high school probably wouldn’t be too palpable for today’s PC crowd.
The central theme of the movie is actually about peer pressure and the “popular” clique in an Ohio high school. Veronica (Winona Ryder) is brought into the powerful group of Heathers, the dominant clique of the high school. Even though she doesn’t really feel that she belongs in the group as they are the typical ‘mean’ girls shown in pop culture, ridiculing and treating everyone badly including Veronica’s old nerdy friends.
Veronica: “Heather, why can’t you just be a friend? Why do you have to be such a mega-bitch?”
Heather Duke: “Because I can be.”
In today’s world I’m curious to see how things have changed in high schools. I think peer pressure and trolling have moved on to the Internet as friends are no longer measured by the clique that you hang out with at school but how many followers you have on Twitter and Instagram.
Heather Chandler: “They all want me as a friend or a fuck. I’m worshiped at Westerburg and I’m only a junior.”
A new student J.D. (Christian Slater) comes to the school and with his rebellious image catches the eye of Veronica. While be bullied on by two members of the football team J.D. pulls out a gun in the cafeteria and shoots blanks. Again a scene that would not work in modern America as even pulling a toy shaped chicken nugget would most likely result in the police becoming involved (http://dailycaller.com/2013/03/02/second-grader-suspended-for-having-breakfast-pastry-shaped-like-a-gun/).
Veronica after having a false rumor spread by the football players enlists the help of J.D. who comes up with a plan to humiliate them. Veronica plays along, but J.D. has more lethal intentions and helps lure the two players into the woods to murder them and make it look like a fake suicide. The story snowballs from there as the body count starts to pile up and suicide becomes a way for people to gain even more fame.
Veronica: “If you were happy every day of your life, you wouldn’t be a human. You’d be a game show host.”
If you haven’t had a chance to see it, “Heathers” is currently available on Hulu and a great way to look back on America when it was still innocent and peer pressure was the boogieman of American high schools. It’s interesting to see how the mood of everything that we take so seriously now was in the 80s. From views on suicide, school violence and also the need for people to gain their 15 minutes of fame.
Originally posted 2017-01-18 23:57:01.