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This review appears direct to the web courtesy of THE CINEMA LASER.

HEATHERS

HEATHERS ($50) was one of my film favorites from the 1980's, and finally receives some long overdue recognition, thanks to a Letterboxed Collector's Edition from the folks at Lumivision. HEATHERS is a film that is dark, satiric, nasty, brutally funny and it captured America's teenagers as they really are- not the way Hollywood (or their parents) usually perceives them. While HEATHERS paints a realistic portrait of teens, it does depict adults as the self absorbed idiots that most teenagers perceive them. This depiction is certainly funny, and if memory serves, it isn't so far off the mark.

HEATHERS explores the microcosm of high school life and the social cast system contained within. The Heathers of the title are the three coolest, most popular and powerful girls at Westerburg High School. These three girls who share a common name are at the center of the clique that determines the pecking order at Westerburg. The latest member of the Westerburg’s most influential clique is Veronica. Veronica is attractive, intelligent and she absolutely hates her new friends. Like many teens, Veronica compromises her principles for popularity by being part of the clique. To break the monotony of her popularity, Veronica becomes involved with JD. JD is a new student at Westerburg, and a rebel with a cause. When Veronica runs afoul of the head Heather, she and JD plan to take a bit of vengeance on Westerburg’s resident bitch/goddess. Unfortunately, the innocent revenge doesn’t turn out as Veronica intended- especially since her former "friend" lies dead at her feet. Quick thinking JD turns things around when he devises a plan to make it look like a suicide. Here's where HEATHERS switches gears and becomes a black comedy about teen suicide and the media frenzy that surrounds it. Things go from bad to worse when JD goes around the bend, and starts offing the most popular teens at Westerburg- taking Veronica along for the ride.

Winona Rider was only 15 when she took on the role of Veronica. Ryder's performance is funny, winning and real. She certainly deserves a great deal of the credit for making HEATHERS into the cult classic that it has become- quite an accomplishment for the young actress. Christian Slater is terrific as JD. Slater's performance is right on the money, but it almost seems as if he were channeling a deranged Jack Nicholson. Shannon Doherty also does a good turn as the queen bitch in waiting. The rest of the cast of HEATHERS features Lisanne Falk, Kim Walker, Penelope Milford, Glen Shadix, Lance Fenton, Patrick Laborteaux, Jeremy Applegate, Jon Matthews and Carrie Lyn.

Lumivision’s new Letterboxed transfer was supervised by cinematographer Francis Kenny and it restores HEATHERS proper 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The image is well balanced and the colors look super. Like many films from the eighties the original cinematography seems to rely upon smoke machines and diffusion lenses to give the film a certain look. That certain look doesn’t allow for a pinprick sharp transfer, but the image remains nicely detailed. The digitally encoded monaural soundtrack has a crisp and well focused sound, which is well worth amplifying. The Pioneer pressing had a modest amount of speckling, but it remained within the acceptable range. Supplements include an audio commentary featuring director Michael Lehmann, producer Denise Di Novi and writer Daniel Waters. The commentary is down to earth and entertaining. It goes into a good deal of detail about the production without sounding studious. Other supplements include the original theatrical trailer, a number of TV commercials, a promotional trailer for HEATHERS and an attractive gatefold jacket with an essay by writer Daniel Waters on the inner spread.

Thanks to their terrific looking Letterboxed transfer and nice batch of extras, the Lumivision edition of HEATHERS is an absolute must have for Laserdisc fans!

 
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Laserdisc reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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