I can’t make up my mind: does the trailer for Terry Gilliam’s Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas laugh with you, luring you into a sense of “hey, you can totally read Hunter Thompson’s book as a buddy comedy about the Sixties”, or does it laugh at you, in a grand, evil plan to suck money out of unsuspecting moviegoers?
The trippy ambiance is laid out for anyone to see, except for the more explicitly disturbing bits (White Rabbit, anyone?), and there is a sense that larger things are at play here - see the gorgeous “bat county” sunglasses shot, or poor little Christina Ricci being (we assume) left alone to fend for herself. On the other hand, compared to what happens in the movie, the score is cut and used in a drastically different way: same tracks, opposite situations. Everything sounds so much raunchier, and so harmless here, it might even work as a recut trailer.
Three Dog Night pops up at 1’ 12”, and that’s probably the moment of truth.
Random wisdom from YouTube commentators: “I love this movie. It appeals to all generations.”
“And you… are the Devil’s spawn… evil from the moment of conception!”
Truth be told, I’ve been wanting to see Flowers In The Attic for a lo-o-o-o-ong time, i.e. since it came out in 1987. But my usually loose cinematic morals came to a a yet-to-be-explored grinding halt, and I couldn’t work out the courage to ask any unsuspecting babysitter and/or relative as a companion.
Back to the now - I honestly have no idea how V.C. Andrews’ neo-Gothic saga (that went on and on and on even beyond the grave) was ever deemed a “sure bet” at the box office, given that “incest”, “captivity” and “borderline non-con” were the novel’s biggest draws: much like Valley Of The Dolls, the trailer is built as a collection of money shots (Bible-thumping Grandma! Attack dogs! Blonde ingénue! Child abuse!), while the Ominous Voiceover informs us that, yes, way more oh noes lie ahead. But everything would be revealed as watered-down Andrews, much to the fans’ dismay.
On a lighter note, I suspect that Kristy Swanson’s ubiquitousness in the mid-Eighies could be connected to her passing resemblance to a cheap, discount-ready Barbie doll clone - they sure came in handy when it was time to fool around with experimental hair treatments.
Somebody must own the DVD somewhere. Make me a copy and win my trashy, no-good heart.
Random wisdom from YouTube commentators: “When I first saw the house in the trailer it reminded me of the home described in FITA I’m like! OMGSH FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC BECAME A MOVIE!”
This might explain why the theatrical trailer looks like a collection of money shots: contemporary audiences, one assumes, were already aware of the main characters’ struggles, quirks and eventual fates, so the marketing plan must have sounded like “hell, let’s just get down with the sleaze and call it a day”.
The infamous restroom catfight between Neely O’Hara and Helen Lawson pops up, as do some lines that would eventually make the history of camp (I gotta get up at 5 in the morning, it’s “sparkle, Neely, sparkle!”).
Patty Duke never recovered from this, and neither did TV bad girl Barbara Parkins.
Camp value notwithstanding, it’s a pretty boring, subdued affair - skip it and go straight to Russ Meyer’s parody. Or, you know, read the book.