The blockbuster Gothic young adult novel began the infamous Dollanganger family saga, which includes Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows. (All of the books in the series hit number one on the New York Times Bestseller List, by the way.)
Since the late 1970s, Andrews's Flowers novel has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, has been translated into 22 languages and was banned by schools across the country – all while being passed from bunk to bunk at sleepaway camp.
For those who didn't read the book while hidden under the covers as a pre-teen, the story revolves around the perfect blond-haired, blue-eyed Dollanganger family: father Christopher Sr., mother Corrine, and their four perfect "Dresden Doll" children – Chris Jr., Cathy and younger twins Carrie and Cory. When Chris Sr. dies in a car accident, Corrine decides to move back into her parents' sprawling Virginia mansion despite the fact that her children must be locked in the attic. According to her cruel, ultra-religious mother, Corrine's dying father cannot find out that she sired devil spawn with her dead half-uncle husband. Yikes!
As they waste away in the attic, the children are ignored by their weak-willed mom, who is determined not to be written out of the hefty Foxworth will. Meanwhile, they are abused by their wicked grandmother for years on end, with only each other for company. And by company, we do mean intimate company.
If you aren't sufficiently creeped out by the description above and the Flowers in the Attic trailer below, be sure to flip the channel to Lifetime at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 18.
The book was previously adapted (for the big screen) back 1987, when it was turned into a campy horror flick starring Kristy Swanson and Louise Fletcher. However, that version glossed over one key element of the original story: the intimate relationship between siblings Chris and Cathy. The reboot stars Heather Graham as Corrine, Ellen Burstyn as the evil grandmother, and Kiernan Shipka as Cathy – and it does not skip the details.
We asked Shipka – best known for her role as Sally Draper on Mad Men – about the awkwardness of kissing her character's brother. She laughed, explaining it was all in a day's work.
"I just looked at their relationship as a dependence on each other, because they have no one else," Shipka said. "It was more than that storyline-wise. It is how it's written and how it was done ... it felt like how the characters would be."
If the story of the Dollangangers leaves you wanting more dark, twisted Gothic family dramas, here are a few more V.C. Andrews novels that are just waiting to be made into movies:
My Sweet Audrina