Heathers (1988) Poster



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Two stars of the movie died at an early age in ways which were eerily prophesied by the script: Jeremy Applegate (Peter Dawson, whose character prays he will never commit suicide) committed suicide with a shotgun on 23 March 2000, and Kim Walker (Heather Chandler, who had the line "Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?") died of a brain tumor on 6 March 2001.
Christian Slater has stated that his performance was heavily inspired by Jack Nicholson. He claims that he wrote a letter to Nicholson asking him to watch the film but did not receive an answer.
Brad Pitt auditioned for the role of J.D., but was rejected because he was considered "too nice" for the part.
Australian electro-rock/pop-punk band The Veronicas took their name from Veronica Sawyer, specifically from when Jason Dean asks her "Are you a Heather?", to which she answers "No, I'm a Veronica".
The role of Heather McNamara, the cheerleader, was originally offered to 17-year-old actress Heather Graham. Heather's parents decided against letting her do the role because of the dark subject matter.
Originally, the book that suicidal students supposedly underline "meaningful" passages from was "The Catcher in the Rye". The producers could not get clearance from J.D. Salinger, a notorious copyright stickler, to use this book and it was changed to "Moby Dick" instead, as Herman Melville's works are in the public domain.
Friends Veronica Sawyer and Betty Finn are named after other fictional friends Veronica and Betty from the comic strip "Archie", and Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
The bedrooms of Heather MacNamara and Veronica were built in the gym of the school they used in the film.
The role of Veronica was intended for Jennifer Connelly who turned it down.
The name Heather is said 90 times throughout the film.
The film's first scene was actually the last one to be shot. By that time, Lisanne Falk had cut her hair and had to wear a wig.
Lying on top of the glass table through which Heather Chandler fell were a copy of the Cliff's Notes for "The Bell Jar" (which was written by Sylvia Plath, who committed suicide) and a magazine with a cover story "The Fall of the American Teenager."
Drew Barrymore auditioned for a role in the film.
Daniel Waters originally wanted Stanley Kubrick to direct, citing that "He's the only one that can get away with a 3 hour movie."
Filmed in 32 days in July and August 1988.
Shannen Doherty was raised in a conservative upbringing and thus had problems saying the profanities in the script. She couldn't keep a straight face. As a result, when she says, "Veronica, why are you pulling my d--k?" you can see her smirking.
In 2014, a musical theater adaptation of Heathers opened at the off-Broadway theater New World Stages. In a completely unrelated coincidence, the movie had been released by a film production company called New World Pictures. The play is tenatively set to appear on Broadway in 2016.
The closeups of Veronica's legs was filmed with a body double.
Jennifer Rhodes plays Veronica Sawyer's mother. She later plays Shannen Doherty's grandmother in Charmed (1998).
Heather Duke's kitchen in the dream sequence was also the kitchen used for Heather Chandler's house. They just switched the colors and lit it differently.
Ranked at #5 on Entertainment Weekly's 50 Best High School Movies (2006)
Considered one of the most controversial movies ever made, certainly one of the most controversial movies about the high school experience, the movie was a political hot potato when it came out because people thought it was making fun of suicide. Now it's controversial because of its uncomfortable similarity to Columbine and the school shootings.
The high school is named "Westerburg High". Winona Ryder's favorite band at the time was The Replacements, whose lead singer is named Paul Westerberg. Another reference to the band occurs when J.D. says "Color me impressed", which is the title of a song from The Replacements' album "Hootenanny".
The TV footage of a hotel being imploded is the Hotel King Cotton in Memphis, Tennessee, filmed 29 April 1984.
A 2014 Entertainment Weekly retrospective revealed that the original read-through of the script with the producers was held with Dana Delany playing Veronica Sawyer and Brad Pitt as J.D. During subsequent casting, Shannen Doherty was first interested in playing Veronica but Winona Ryder had already been cast. Producers wanted Doherty to audition to play Heather Chandler but Doherty preferred the part of Heather Duke and was eventually cast in that role.
J.D. is named after Winona Ryder's favorite author, J.D. Salinger.
Christian Slater's catchphrase "Greetings and Salutations" was used by co-star Genn Shadix in the 1993 film Demolition Man.
Winona Ryder and Glenn Shadix who played Veronica Sawyer and Father Ripper both appeared in Beetlejuice (1988).
Westerburg High in reality is John Adams Middle School.
The first scene that was filmed was the croquet game that took place after J.D. fires his gun in the cafeteria.
While Christian Slater beat out Brad Pitt for the role of J.D. in Heathers, Pitt later returned the favor by winning the part of another character named J.D. in Thelma & Louise (1991).
J.D. says that the bullets to the gun that him and Veronica shoot the jocks with are German bullets called "ich luge" and they don't really kill the people you shoot them with, "ich luge" is German for "I lie".
Winona Ryder's agent begged her not to be in the movie, stating her "career would be over."
The radio call-in show "Hot Probs" featured in the movie is a version of the now nationally famous KROQ radio show "Loveline", and the radio DJ in the movie is James 'Poorman' Trenton, the creator and original host of "Loveline".
The police officers are named Milner and McCord, after Kent McCord and Martin Milner, who played police officers in Adam-12 (1968).
Justine Bateman was considered for the lead.
This film is the basis for the popular Off-Broadway musical of the same name, which is scheduled to run on Broadway in 2015.
Mid-1990's-era ska/punk band 'Edna's Goldfish' named their song "Veronica Sawyer" after the main character in Heathers. The song's theme of alienation among suburban teenagers reflects the themes of the movie. Reel Big Fish covered the song on their 2009 album "Fame, Fortune and Fornication."
When Heather Duke gathers signatures for the Big Fun petition, one of the students stamps his name: Dennis Di Novi. This is a reference to the film's producer, Denise Di Novi.
In one version of the script, Veronica had a tabby cat named J.F.K. that she almost tested the "ich lüge" bullets on; J.D. stopped her, claiming it wouldn't work on small animals.
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Christian Slater and Winona Ryder dated during the filming and promotion of this film.
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The same week Winona Ryder received the script, a student from her high school committed suicide, which only inspired her more to do the film.
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3 of the leads went on to giant careers in movies and television. Christian Slater, Winona Ryder, and Shannon Doherty
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In the theatrical trailer, Shannen Doherty's name was spelled "Shannon Dougherty".
It was Tori Spelling, who had seen Shannon Doherty in Heathers, who recommended to her father Aaron that Shannon be cast in his new show about high school " Beverly Hills 90210."
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With its shared themes of vicious girl cliques and murderous outcasts getting revenge, Heathers was described by many critics as an 80s version of Carrie.
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Judd Nelson and Jason Bateman were considered for the role of J.D, which went to Christian Slater.
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Jim Carrey was considered for the role of J.D.
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Several characters sardonically use the phrase "Oh, the humanity." This phrase was first coined by the American radio reporter Herbert O. Morrison during his May 6, 1937, on-the-spot description of the explosion of the Hindenburg in New Jersey. Morrison started his broadcast with a calm report of the zeppelin starting to dock after its transatlantic flight, but he quickly became panicked and horrified as he started to relay the disaster: "It's starting to rain again; it's-the rain has slacked up a little bit. The back motors of the ship are just holding it just, just enough to keep it from-It burst into flames! It burst into flames, and it's falling, it's crashing! Watch it, watch it! Get out of the way! . . . It's fire-and it's crashing! It's crashing terrible! Oh, my, get out of the way, please! It's burning and bursting into flames, and the-and it's falling on the mooring-mast and all the folks agree that this is terrible, this is one of the worst catastrophes in the world. . . . It's-it's-it's the flames . . . oh, four- or five-hundred feet into the sky and it ... it's a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen. It's smoke, and it's flames now ... and the frame is crashing to the ground, not quite to the mooring-mast. Oh, the humanity and all the passengers screaming around here. . . . Honest, it's just laying there, a mass of smoking wreckage. Ah! And everybody can hardly breathe and talk, and the screaming. . . . Honest: I-I can hardly breathe. I-I'm going to step inside where I cannot see it. Charlie, that's terrible. Ah, ah-I can't. I, listen, folks, I-I'm gonna have to stop for a minute because I've lost my voice. This is the worst thing I've ever witnessed."
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The gun J.D. fires near the beginning of the film is a .44 Magnum. An alternate name for the gun is the Remington Magnum. The college party Veronica and Heather attend is held at Remington University.
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Kim Walker and Lisanne Falk both appeared in Say Anything.
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Heathers was a reunion of sorts for Little House on the Prairie alumns Patrick Labyorteaux and Shannon Doherty.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

J.D. tricks Veronica into killing the jocks by claiming to use "ich luge" bullets, which he claims only pierce the skin. "Ich lüge" is German for "I'm lying".
The original screenplay had a different ending in which Veronica kills J.D. by shooting him and then straps the bomb (a much larger and more complicated piece of equipment, described as being "a cylinder as large as a television set") to herself, blowing up as J.D. does in the final ending. What is placed in the final ending as JD's boiler-room speech about "imagine I blew up the school, imagine I blew up all the schools" is contained in a suicide note found in Veronica's locker by Heather McNamara and Betty Finn. The movie ends with an eerie prom sequence set in Heaven, tying into JD's assertion that the only place everyone will truly get along is in Heaven. The prom begins with students dancing within their social cliques, then switching partners in odd pairings like metalheads dancing with Heathers and one of the murdered jocks getting his prom picture taken with a tipped cow; the punch being served is the drain cleaner used in the first murder scene, and "Dumptruck" is singing onstage as the entertainment for the evening. This was intended to be shot but the studio thought it was too dark for the target teenage crowd and opted for a lighter ending.
One alternate ending had Martha Dumptruck stabbing Veronica. Martha shouts "Fuck you, Heather!" Veronica, lying on the ground with a knife in her stomach, replies "My name's not Heather! My name's not Heather!"
Writer Daniel Waters said in an interview: "I did come up with this crazy, cockamamie "Heathers 2" where Veronica becomes a page for a senator named Heather, played by Meryl Streep. The ending is her assassinating the president and getting away with it - and it's a good thing." Winona Ryder has heavily supported the idea for a sequel, but as of 2014, nothing has come out of it.
Winona Ryder claims that she has many favorite moments from the film. The one that usually comes to mind is when she is walking up the hill after seeing JD in the cow-tipping scene. In the background, just barely visible, Heather McNamara is being date raped by one of the jocks. Ryder says the scene is so subversive and dark that once you notice it, you can't stop thinking about it.
The original ending involves Veronica killing herself with JD's bomb, quietly saying "bang" and the school being destroyed. Keeping true on JD's words about how different social types can only get along in heaven. The scene then would cut to black and it would show a prom in heaven with Martha Dunnstock singing to a crowd of different social types dancing together. This was rejected for being too dark.
When J.D. asks Veronica if she takes German, she replies that she doesn't, but instead takes French. He then tells her the bullets they're going to use for their "prank" are German ones called "Ich Lüge" bullets. "Ich lüge" directly translates to "I lie" from German to English.
After they kill Kurt and Ram, J.D. says: "Football season is over." This line was used in 2005 by Rolling Stone magazine for article about Hunter S. Thompson's suicide note.
Body count 4: Heather Chandler, the jocks and J.D.
Winona Ryder claims that this is her favorite movie. She also says that she gets asked about Heathers 2 more than anything else, although a sequel seems unlikely. The filmmakers have suggested that they would like to do the project. One of the plot lines includes JD being a CIA agent before his death. The CIA would then blackmail Veronica and the story would end with Veronica assassinating the President.
When Kurt Kelly and Ram Sweeney are found by police they are each holding the same gun they were shot with.
Veronica's line, "Dear diary, my teen angst bullshit has a body count" was used by Sonny Moore a.k.a Skrillex in his old band 'From First to Last' in the song 'Ride the wings of Pestilence'.

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