The cult of Heathers, the 1988 black comedy about two high school students who unintentionally make suicide popular, has grown so much in 25 years that it’s now gotten that ultimate niche-classic coronation: adaptation as a Broadway musical. Early notices for the stage production, which opens Monday—the anniversary of the film’s release in the U.S., where it flopped—says it “aims to strike a more hopeful, optimistic tone by the end” than the movie did.
To which any diehard Heathers fan might answer something like, “fuck me gently with a chainsaw.”
Optimism, see, has no place in Heathers’ appeal. The film is often mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Mean Girls and Clueless due to its subject matter and snappy dialogue, but Heathers features a dark streak unmatched by its descendants. Seen today, it deserves to be celebrated as an early, scathing critique of a culture that celebrates mediocrity and is indifferent to suffering.
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