Heathers is 30 years old this year and it is fascinating how its popularity has never faded. On the contrary, what was a dangerous little B-movie has now become chillingly relevant; released before school shootings in the United States became a tragic regularity, Heathers may still be a brazen fantasy for teenagers, but it leaves an indelible mark for everyone now. A proposed original ending that might have rendered it even more of a cult hit then would have been a step too far now, so maybe it’s happenstance that it’s pitched so perfectly. Whatever the reason, it’s a must-see.
It is violent. So much so that director Michael Lehmann has said he regrets some of it. Well, we all mellow as we get older, but I’m glad there isn’t an attempt to retrospectively change it. We need Heathers. It had a welcome theatrical re-release in August for which Becky and Lauren both did brilliant reviews. Have a look at the links below.
Arrow Video have released the new 4K transfer with a boat-load of extras, many of which have come from the Anchor Bay edition of a few years ago, but there’s enough new stuff to warrant an upgrade, even if the film hadn’t been given a fresh transfer.
The story in Heathers hasn’t dated. Some of the jokes have and maybe you’ll find yourself adjusting for time passed, but the fashion is definitely of the 80s, all garish suits with shoulder pads so sharp they could draw blood. The new transfer is from the 35mm negative and the film has never looked so good. Those colours pop more than a contemporary film would choose to, but it’s a choice to be embraced. Just like the comedy.
One improvement from previous releases is the inclusion of the original mono audio. For a film like this, you might think it counter-intuitive to ignore the fancy surround track, but that mono is perfect for a dialogue-heavy film and equally suits Winona Ryder’s narration and Christian Slater’s snarky rants. If you do insist on using all your speakers, stereo and 5.1 tracks are included.
Star of the show is still the original commentary with Michael Lehmann, producer Denise Di Novi and writer Daniel Walters, but we also now have Lehmann's student film, The Beaver Gets a Boner. The rest of the features are thorough and paint a detailed picture of the small elements that came together, but the one-sided interview technique and separated footage of several pieces make it less watchable. The screenwriting piece is possibly the best one simply because the three guys have a fun conversation, much like the audio commentary achieves.
Lehmann’s Terms (15m)
Pizzicato Croquet - Composer David Newman and director Michael Lehmann discuss the music of Heathers (11m)
How Very: The Art and Design of Heathers - Production Designer Jon Hutman, art director Kara Lindstrom and director Michael Lehmann discuss the look of Heathers (15m)
Casting Westerburg High - Casting director Julie Selzer discusses the casting process for Heathers (12m)
Poor Little Heather - New interview with actress Lisanne Falk (18m)
Scott and Larry and Dan and Heathers - New interview between screenwriting team Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski and Heathers screenwriter Daniel Walters (38m)
The Big Bowie Theory - New appreciation by writer, actor and comedian John Ross Bowie of The Big Bang Theory (35m)
Return to Westerburg High (21m)
The Beaver Gets a Boner - Michael Lehmann's student film from 1985 (20m)