Taglines: Best friends, social trends and occasional murder.
The dominant clique at Westerburg High School in Sherwood, Ohio, consists of three wealthy and beautiful girls named Heather: the leader, Heather Chandler, the quiet, bookish and bulimic Heather Duke, and the weak-willed cheerleader Heather McNamara. Though they are the most popular students, the Heathers are both feared and hated. They recently invited 17-year-old Veronica Sawyer to join their group, by association making her a very popular girl as well. But, Veronica has had enough of their behavior and longs to return to her old life and her nerdy friends.
At school, a rebellious outsider named Jason “J.D.” Dean pulls a gun on school bullies Kurt Kelly and Ram Sweeney and fires blanks at them. Veronica finds herself fascinated by him. When Veronica embarrasses Heather Chandler at a frat party by refusing sex and then vomiting, Heather vows to destroy her reputation. Later, J.D. shows up at Veronica’s house and they end up having sex after an impromptu game of strip croquet. Veronica tells J.D. she wants to make Heather puke her guts out.
The next morning, Veronica and J.D. break into Heather’s house. J.D. serves Heather a liquid he claims is a hangover cure but is actually drain cleaner, killing her as she falls through a glass coffee table. Although initially shaken by their act, J.D. regains his composure and urges Veronica to forge a suicide note in Heather’s handwriting. The school and community look on Heather’s apparent suicide as a tragic decision made by a popular but troubled teenager.
Several days later, Kurt and Ram spread a rumor about Veronica giving them oral sex. To get even, J.D. proposes that Veronica lure them into the woods with the promise to “make the rumors true”, then shoot them with what he promises are nonfatal “Ich lüge” (“I’m lying” in German) bullets that only break the skin but do no real damage. Afterwards they would humiliate Kurt and Ram by writing a fake suicide note explaining that the two were secret lovers, and planting gay paraphernalia alongside their unconscious bodies.
At the rendezvous in the woods, J.D. shoots Ram but Veronica misses Kurt, who runs away. Seeing Ram dead on the ground, Veronica realizes that the bullets are real. J.D. chases Kurt back towards Veronica, who panics and shoots him dead. J.D. plants the paraphernalia and suicide note beside the boys. At their funeral, the boys are made into martyrs against homophobia.
Due to J.D.’s betrayal and increasingly murderous behavior, Veronica breaks up with him, but he says he knows she’ll come back. J.D. then shows Heather Duke old photographs of her and Martha “Dumptruck” Dunnstock when the two girls were friends. Since Martha is an obese and very unpopular student, Heather Duke doesn’t want the photos to be seen. J.D. says he will give her the negatives of the photos if she does him “a favor”. J.D. then persuades Heather Duke to step into Heather Chandler’s former role, which Heather Duke gladly embraces.
Duke begins wearing the red scrunchie that had belonged to Heather Chandler, and starts acting as badly as Chandler had acted. Once Heather Duke establishes herself as the school’s alpha female, J.D. tells her to start a petition to get the band Big Fun to play at the school pep rally. In return, he gives her the negatives.
Heathers is a 1988 American cult black comedy film written by Daniel Waters and directed by Michael Lehmann. It stars Winona Ryder, Christian Slater and Shannen Doherty. The film portrays four teenage girls—three of whom are named Heather—in a clique at a fictional Ohio high school.
The film brought director Michael Lehmann and producer Denise Di Novi the 1990 Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature. Daniel Waters also gained recognition for his screenplay, which won a 1990 Edgar Award. Despite its high critical praise, the film was not a big hit in the box office but went on to become a cult film, with high rentals and sales business. In 2006, it was ranked number 5 on Entertainment Weekly’s list of the “50 Best High School Movies” and in 2008, it was ranked number 412 on Empire’s list of “The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time”.
Directed by: Michael Lehmann
Starring: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk, Kim Walker, Penelope Milford, Glenn Shadix, Renée Estevez, Phillip David Lewis, Jeremy Applegate
Screenplay by: Daniel Waters
Production Design by: Jon Hutman
Cinematography by: Francis Kenny
Film Editing by: Norman Hollyn
Costume Design by: Rudy Dillon
Art Direction by: Kara Lindstrom
Music by: David Newman
Distributed by: New World Pictures
Release Date: March 31, 1989