More murder this week as we look at Heathers the musical. This vicious teen "comedy" set the template for softer films like Mean Girls, but also shares DNA with the horror of Carrie. Westerberg High School is a battlefield filled with violent bullies and clueless teachers, honing students for the cruel world of the late 1980's.
Veronica, the anti-hero protagonist, dances on a knife edge. The film never quite tells us how aware she is of J.D's schemes and the musical pushes her further into ignorance. By the end of the story she's seen and done too much to be truly innocent but the right actress can still maintain audience sympathy.
Much ink has been spilt about the escalation in high school violence in the past decade. High schools may perform West Side Story but it will be some time before they feel comfortable producing Heathers. Neither the 1988 film, nor the 2014Off-Broadway production had commercial success but both have established loyal cult followings who remember the world it portrays.