Initially intended by screenwriter Daniel Waters as a vehicle for Stanley Kubrick (the opening cafeteria scene is a homage to Full Metal Jacket), Heathers took a grenade to the rose-tinted high school movies of the 1980s, crafting a bitter black comedy about teenage suicide, and the totalitarian rule of three teenage girls all called Heather.
The Heathers are three pompous, pretentious prom queens from Westerburg High School in Ohio who set the social standards for power and popularity among the other students.
Winona Ryder is their new protégée, Veronica Sawyer. She’s also rich, arrogant, and beautiful – but she’s a rebel.
After falling for the school outlaw JD (scruffy weirdo Christian Slater channelling his inner Jack Nicholson), she decides the cruel and abusive Heathers and the dumb jocks they hang out with are expendable.
So they feed one girl a bottle of liquid Drano, blast the football heroes with bullets, and justify each murder with “well, football season is over – they had nothing else to offer.”
By the time Veronica realises you can’t kill people just because they’re creeps (or “Swatch Dogs” or “Diet Coke Heads”), JD has become a real psycho hell-bent on blowing up the entire school.
In the end, what begins as a neat satire on moronic teenage movies ends as another horror flick gross-out and the black comedy backfires.
Needless to say, the movie absolutely could not be made today.
Jason “JD” Dean