Dissecting the Macabre: Heathers (2018)

Hey there, Creepy Peeps! This Dissecting the Macabre post will probably end up being more of a rant than anything – so grab some tea and get comfy! Over on my YouTube channel, I posted a video about Heathers (Michael Lehman, 1988), as the anniversary of the film is at the end of this month. You can watch that video here:

The film is also being adapted into a television show, which was supposed to premiere this week, but has since been delayed until later this year due to the recent school shooting in Florida. While I understand the apprehension about releasing a show about high school kids killing themselves and killing each other, I don’t think the reception for this show will be any better later this year. For what it’s worth, I think something like Heathers, if adapted right, can be a useful social commentary about the treatment of tragedies in the news and on social media. But, again, that’s if the show is done right, which remains to be seen.

The trailer for this television adaptation turned a lot of heads in the horror community, and I only know from what I heard from other HorrorTubers, but it seems people are not that excited about this show. As someone who is pretty fucking tired of seeing sequels/reboots/remakes lately, this new Heathers was already at a disadvantage in my eyes. One thing that really stood out in the trailer (which I will link below, in case you haven’t seen it yet) was Veronica (Grace Victoria Cox) and her wannabe Winona voice. Seriously? I’m not on board for who knows how many of episodes of this Cox girl imitating Queen Winona. And, just for posterity, I looked up video interviews with Miss Grace Victoria and no, she does not sound like that in real life. Shocking, I know.

The other problem I have with this remake is the Heathers themselves. In the exclusive behind-the-scenes promos and interviews (yes, I watched them, because there are no episodes for me to judge yet), the cast and crew seem super pleased with themselves for making the Heathers more diverse. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for diversity, especially in media where straight, white characters reign supreme. But is it really that great to make the villains of the show representative of groups that could be considered minorities in the film/television industry? In the show, Heather Chandler (Melanie Field) is plus-sized/body-positive, Heather Duke (Brenden Scannell) identifies as genderqueer, and Heather McNamara (Jasmine Mathews) is black and lesbian. The thing I, and I think other people, have a problem with is Veronica is a straight, white female in the show. So, once again, the straight, white female is the hero, but sure, bravo to the creators of this show for allowing the Heathers to be diverse.

The meaning of the original film has changed from one girl taking down the mean girls of the school to something more like this: a white girl and her white boyfriend kill their plus-sized, genderqueer, and black lesbian classmates. It appears as though the new Heathers will be just as awful as the original Heathers, so new Veronica is totally justified in hating them and the meaning of the original film won’t really be lost. However, if you’re going to pat yourself on the back for including all these diverse characters in your show, don’t make them the villains.

I think I can wrap this up by saying that I’m not excited, at all, for this new adaptation of Heathers. Did I make that apparent in this post? I hope so. Don’t forget to let me know how you feel about Heathers television adaptation in the comments below! I leave an affiliate link for the original Heathers film right here:

Starring Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty