LIFETIME to Air Movie that Highlights Incest


Ahead of the new Lifetime movie adaptation of V.C. Andrews 1979 cult classic, we explore why incest plotlines are so enduring in popular culture

Lifetime’s Flowers in the Attic, the movie adaptation of V.C. Andrews’ sordid and soapy tale of family dysfunction, will air tomorrow night, and for millions of American women in their 30s and 40s, it’s sure to be mandatory viewing.

The 1979 novel is remembered as the book that was passed beneath desks and read under covers—the raunchiest pages frayed, dog-eared, even highlighted by countless teenage girls.

Though 1987’s campy, unfaithfully rendered film version was generally considered a spectacular failure, Lifetime’s reboot is promising fealty to even the dirtiest details. And with a glittering cast of Kiernan Shipka, Heather Graham and Ellen Bursytn, the network is clearly banking on living-room premiere parties, replete with wine spritzers and butter-free popcorn. In fact, Lifetime is so confident that it’s already announced a sequel.

The plot of Flowers in the Attic is itself is a delicious assault on family morals, with details considered so lurid and depraved that a Vocativ employee, in her girlhood, recalls furtively reading it piecemeal in the magazine aisle as her mother shopped for groceries.

Thematically, one could argue that it’s a story about child abuse and its devastating effects. Four children are locked away in the attic of their puritanical grandma’s mansion, where they are tortured and abandoned. But that’s not why a generation of 14-year-old girls went gaga over it. The giddiness, as most remember, was all about the incest.

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