Flowers in the Attic : Revealing 1987 article about the film's original cut

Revealing 1987 article about the film's original cut

This is an extremely interesting article, published a few days before the film's release. There are quite a few references as to how the original cut was like, before it was cut to ribbons.

No Rose Garden
November 15, 1987 | Sheldon Teitelbaum

Teen-age girls can handle the graphic depiction of incest in a book--but not in color on the big screen. That's what producer Chuck Fries and distributor New World found out in tests for their gothic thriller, "Flowers in the Attic," due out Friday with critical re-cutting.

The movie's based on the 1979 best-seller by the late V. C. Andrews that involves the erotic awakening of a brother and sister locked away in an attic by their insane mother. But its path to film has been rocky. Consider:

An early cut of the film was screened last December for Valley fans of the book--primarily adolescent females--and test cards indicated they were revolted. "I don't know whether this was conscious teen-age hypocrisy or what," writer-director Jeffrey Bloom told us. "Maybe young girls just don't want explicit sexual titillation. If a boy takes his shirt off, that's cool. But if it goes any further, they get uneasy."

An executive source at Fries added that the book presented the sex as a natural outgrowth of a relationship developed under duress over several years. The movie condensed that into a period of months. "And what may have seemed reasonable over the course of four years seemed dirty over the course of a summer."

The Valley girls also gagged on a scene in which Victoria Tennant, playing the mad mother, disrobed in front of her father, to be whipped by Louise Fletcher, her fanatical mother. "We dropped the skin," said the exec.

Bloom's original ending--one not even the Valley girls got to see--showed the children discovering they could merely walk unopposed out of their attic prison, into the sunshine. To symbolize growing up, Bloom said, with "the way to freedom clear."

But Fries thought it lacked drama and tried a new finale: Fletcher attacks her grandchildren with a meat cleaver. When that proved too horrific for Valleyettes, it was toned down. But a new version screened in January--Tennant falling from a window to her death entangled in a trellis--met with hoots of derision from an older audience in West L.A., according to Bloom and others close to the picture, who said that Tennant herself refused to do the scene (a double was used). So a March release was scratched.

Bloom, unhappy with the continued editing, was allowed out of his contract with Fries, although his name remains on the credits.

More previews in San Jose and Ohio with yet another ending (we'd never tell) were more successful, said a Fries source, and "Flowers" will bloom in 1,100 theaters Friday.

All the above confirm the following:

1. The original ending (though preceded by a different ending, but it's not made clear whether it was filmed or not) went like this: "Briefly, the surviving children interrupt the wedding ceremony and dramatically confront Corrine. All in attendance are horrified by what the children say about how their mother locked them up and poisoned them. The groom is shocked speechless. The grandmother is outraged. The grandfather is there, in his wheelchair, to hear it all. Corrine denies everything, but it doesn't matter; it's too late. The children's story is bolstered by the fact that they look half dead. They leave the wedding, but before leaving the house the grandmother tries to attack them [with a big knife]. They're saved by John Hall, the butler. The grandmother is subdued by him and the children leave". (Source:

2. There WERE some 'sexy scenes' which were eventually trimmed/removed. In the words of Kristy Swanson (January 2014): "[...] back in 1986, because there’s a lot of incest in the book, and in the script there was. We shot it and then when they tested it in the movie theaters, it didn’t test well and it made people very uncomfortable and so they pulled it out of the movie. It wasn’t in the movie. They pulled it out". (Source:

In addition, judging from the above comment by the "executive source at Fries", it seems that there was nudity as well, at least in the scene where Corrine undresses in front of the grandfather ("We dropped the skin").

Re: Revealing 1987 article about the film's original cut

Damn, nice find sir. I just saw the movie for the first time but i did heard lot of rumors about original cut etc... I hoped that some fans might have mentioned something about missing scenes here on IMDb boards but i didn't expect something good as this.

I did read couple of reports online from people who said they saw original cut (at that first test screening) and they did mentioned that there was some more nudity in it but they said it was in a different scene/part of the movie.

I'm looking for any other info about original cut at the time so if you know more or find more please let me know. I made the board about what i found out so far here;

Re: Revealing 1987 article about the film's original cut

Hey Normal, i found this article and i thought that you might find it interesting. It's an response from producer Charles Fries on the article you posted about cuts made on Flowers in the Attic following negative test screenings. He also mentions that they planned to do the sequel to the movie;

Movie Testimony

December 05, 1987

Sheldon Teitelbaum's article on "Flowers in the Attic" indicates an unprofessional and uninformed knowledge of contemporary film production (Outtakes, Nov. 15).

Since the beginning of the film-making process, producers have previewed their films and today practically all films are subjected to in-depth preview evaluation so that general audience reaction to a film can be clearly established.

To give the impression that "Flowers" is a flawed film because we took out the overt incest and made other changes is unfair.

When a substantial majority of the audience, 75% of whom have read V.C. Andrews' book, object to incest on the screen, I think we have to deal with those scenes, and we did.

The first weekend gross of $5,020,317 on 1,051 screens proves we have a good film that folks want to see. And when we do the sequel, "Petals in the Wind," we will preview it and deal with the audience reaction to the choices made in that film, also.

We do not , however, consider a preview response to be a dictum. We use it only as one tool in the final process. We must develop and create a film. No one other than the writer, director, actors and producers, along with exceptional, professional, technical staff, can do that.


Fries Entertainment Inc.

Los Angeles

Re: Revealing 1987 article about the film's original cut

Thanks for posting this information. I would love to see the original cut. Hopefully it will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the near future.

Re: Revealing 1987 article about the film's original cut

Oh God just make the movie for fucks sake. Fuck test audiences.

Re: Revealing 1987 article about the film's original cut

Pandering to the teens for box office, yet who cares what Valley Girls think. Teen girls are some of the most unpleasant creatures on this planet.

Norman! What did you put in my tea?

Re: Revealing 1987 article about the film's original cut

Teen girls are some of the most unpleasant creatures on this planet.

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