Five Ways Something Ruined My LifeFive Ways ‘Heathers' Ruined My LifeErin Mallory Long

Today, August 24th, is my 28th birthday. I decided for my birthday that we’re going to discuss Heathers because, well, because it’s my birthday and I can do whatever I want, right? (Happy birthday also to Marlee Matlin, Rupert Grint, Steve Guttenberg, Cal Ripken Jr, Dave Chappelle, Craig Kilborn and Chad Michael Murray!)

Considering I was born in 1984 and Heathers came out in 1988 I can pretty much guarantee I didn’t see it until it had been out for at least 4 years (I realize this was probably somewhat “mature” viewing for an 8-year-old). This was a movie I watched WHENEVER it was on TV. I was just mesmerized by everything happening it. I mean, as a child of the late 80’s-90’s I was completely head-over-heels for Winona Rider so I just loved watching her in…everything. Before Mean Girls taught us about cliques and how awful they can be, and before Clueless totally reshaped my vocab, there was Heathers.

I’d like to think as a kid I was smart enough to get the whole humor of the movie but I’m pretty sure there’s no way that’s true. (Well, actually, wait, I mean, I was aware it was funny and I remember laughing at it so maybe I WAS in on the joke.) When we got a DVD player and I was checking out what movies we could get on DVD at Media Play (yeah.), I remember jumping on a $6 copy of this movie which I watched approximately 100 times and then got stuck in the DVD player of my laptop where it remains to this day. (I’ve held onto that laptop specifically to one day free Heathers from its clutches. And also to watch it on that laptop).

Obviously this movie has altered the name Heather for me in huge ways (sorry, All My Friends Named Heather) and I watched Christian Slater in Bed of Roses specifically because of this movie (and my other love for Mary Stuart Masterson). I also cannot disassociate the song Que Sera Sera from this movie (and I love both versions that appear in it).

So, let’s blow off seventh and eighth, go to the mall, have a calorie fest and see the new Christian Slater…but first, here are five ways Heathers ruined my life:

1. Completely Infiltrated My Speech Patterns

I mean, lots of things they say I can’t repeat here. One of my favorites is about saying “make love to me gently with a chainsaw” which always comes in handy. Even besides the girls and their expletive-filled catch phrases there are just great quotes in this movie.

Here are some:

  • “greetings and salutations!” – definitely tried to make this one happen
  • “I love my dead gay son!” – this is weird out of context but is awesome to use out of context
  • what’s your damage, Heather?” – I recently learned how to play Dungeons & Dragons and was asked “so what’s your damage?” and then we could not stop saying this all night
  • “Well, it’s just like – they’re people I work with, and our job is being popular and sh*t.” – just a great line

2. Still Pretty Sure I Need a Monocle

Please let me at some point in my life be sitting on the floor, writing in my journal, wearing a monocle.

They have some seriously awesome style going on in this movie.

And, of course, by “they” I mostly just mean Veronica aka Winona.

I love the weird thing she’s wearing in the convenience store.

They all rock bright solids like nobody’s business. A style I was very enamored with as a child and then, also, more recently.

But then she goes even further and uses a MONOCLE. A monocle, for crying out loud!

I got glasses from Warby Parker and had the thought, “wait, should I also get a monocle?” ALSO, since my left eye is near sighted and my right eye slightly far sighted, REALLY a monocle would be a cool fashion statement AND a practical eyewear option!

Yeah, my mom didn’t buy it either.

3. Made a Lady on the Subway Think My Halloween Costume Was REALLY Inappropriate

So, like any normal girl I wanted to dress up as Veronica Sawyer for Halloween. Luckily I have someone in my life who (though bald) was equally into dressing up as JD for Halloween in 2009. (He wore a wig).

So obviously the beauty of these costumes is lost on someone who hasn’t seen Heathers a million times. We went to a party with many other 20-somethings (including my bff who was awesomely dressed as Rosemary from Rosemary’s Baby). So our costumes fit right in.

Until we got on the subway to head home.

We’re riding the train home together and this girl who was dressed as a “devil” and a dude who had a bra on over his clothes stuffed with spices (“spice rack”) start whispering to each other and staring at us. Which was really odd since the four of us were holding onto the same pole.

Then I hear her say, “this is just in such poor taste. He’s a SUICIDE BOMBER.”

With the help of a few beers and my intense desire to teach people about pop culture gems I butt in and explain that we’re dressed as characters from the movie Heathers. The girl (who was approximately 6 years older than we are) had never heard of the movie but the dude kind of smiled and seemed to be into it.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t repay the compliment on his costume…

4. I Can Never Trust Shannen Doherty Anymore

I mean, Shannen Doherty’s Heather Duke is pretty wimpy at the beginning. Within the first few minutes she’s literally being forced to be a human table by their leader, Heather Chandler.

But as soon as Heather Chandler is out of the picture, Heather Duke has no problem assuming the role of leader, even donning the Red Scrunchie of Power by the end.

Veronica is NOT happy that she's wearing the Red Scrunchie of POWER

So then when I started watching Beverly Hills, 90210 (I hate that I have to write out Beverly Hills to reference that now) I was like, “sure, Brenda SEEMS nice and innocent but once Kelly is out of the picture she’s going to SNAP!”

Now, Brenda is no princess, obviously, but she also never reaches Heather Duke levels of crazy, so I should probably forgive Shannen Doherty for this now (especially because she’s doing those awkward online degree commercials now).

What’s odd is this is the total inverse of Tiffani-Amber Thiessen’s progression from Saved by the Bell to Beverly Hills, 90210, where I would always try to convince myself everyone should trust Valerie. Sigh.

5. Thought a “College Party” Was Like, the Epitome of Cool

Obviously this isn’t unique to Heathers but this was the first movie that I remember thinking about the importance of a mystical “college party.” I mean, I wouldn’t want to mess up at the Remington party and have to go to “keggers with kids” all next year!

But the time I was actually in high school, I don’t think anyone even went to college parties (or maybe I just wasn’t invited). It would be more like “oh, my friend in college can chalk your ID” or “my older cousin can buy some wine coolers” and less of a “let’s go try to get hit on my frat guys” kind of thing. At least at the two high school “parties” I actually attended.

I mean, how rad does this college party look:

Okay, maybe not.


I hope no one has to send their SAT scores to San Quentin instead of Stanford…

(Images screengrabbed by me)
  • Lisa Murphy

    This movie is on my “To Watch” list, because I know it’s kind of a classic and I don’t know how I haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet.

    Happy belated birthday! :)

  • Korrin Spalding

    I LOVE Heathers! It’s one of my all time favorites. I was WAY too young to watch this movie when it premiered on HBO, but my dad let me watch it with all of my sisters. We taped it and watched it over and over all summer. The entire movie is inappropriate for kids, but I watched it A LOT and loved it. I didn’t even know what it was really about until I was older.

    I’m 30 and I still quote it as much as possible :)

  • Wendy Flynn

    This has just made me laugh …a lot and i will have to break out the DVD tomorrow, I loved this movie so much, i remember the day i bought the video i think i was about 16 and my friends and i would quote the whole “gently with a chainsaw” bit over and over! so many genius parts, ah such a great movie thanks for reminding me :) oh and i hope you had a happy birthday

  • Liz Haebe

    I watched this movie WAY too many times when I was, like, 12. I still quote it all the time. And, I still love Christian and Winona because of this movie!

  • Jen Silvas

    I enjoyed Heathers so much growing up and now as an adult!! I just came across this really cool collectable that you may like.

    It is a limited edition locker that has a Heathers Yearbook,stickers,Bluray,Dvd and a Heathers T-shirt!

  • Claire Thornley

    And now I need to watch this movie again. I may throw a party when I reach viewing number 500….

  • Brian Stanley

    How very.

  • Leigh Koenig White

    Just wanted to say, that I too was born today! Although today is my 40th, so truth be told I saw this movie MULTIPLE times in the theater and loved it dearly. Along with Pretty in Pink, which not subversive like Heathers, pretty much shaped my entire late teen years. I do remember thinking when I watched Heathers, “you know JD is still SO freaking cute….who cares if he’s a murderer!” Oy! Happy Birthday!

  • Leigh Koenig White

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  • Leah Byrnes

    Holy shit. I love you so much. I didn’t think there was anyone out there as obsessed with Heathers as I am! Also, I was going to be Veronica for halloween but my Heathers and I procrastinated and couldn’t make our costumes and find our JD in time xD and you’re right about the vocab infesting lives. I can’t go a day without quoting Heathers. Oh and have a very birthday! :3

  • Trina Bazzell

    This movie was so far ahead of its time! Totally obseesed with some young Winona! Happy birthday!

  • Kimberly ‘Roddy’ Jimenez

    My 20yr old LOVES this movie. I made sure to expose her to all of my favorite 80’s movies and I feel that makes her a more well rounded human being. :)

  • Nikki Prowse

    ahahahaha. “I don’t patronize bunny rabbits”

  • Rebekah L. Askren

    I quote this movie waaaay too much, and my love for Christian Slater, to this day, knows no bounds. Heathers didn’t ruin my life, it just gave me a better vocabulary.

    “Our love is God, let’s go get a slushie.”

  • Bill Gauthier

    Happy birthday from another Aug 24ther! Does that make sense? Whatever. Glad to be able to share a bday with you.

    • Bill Gauthier

      Oh, and great post, too.

  • Lucy Cox

    I love this film so much, it’s weird you posted this as I only just watched it last night :P This film is one of my favourites and has the best line! Also Happy Birthday :) xxx

  • Logan Ashley Peters

    I freaking love the Heathers and I’m glad someone else appreciates it like I do. Though I have to admit, it kind of freaks me out a little bit.
    Your halloween costumes? Freaking. Awesome. This whole post is just great.

    • Erin Long

      Thanks! :)

  • Gabrielle Marie Trollinger

    Your Halloween costumes are so very!

  • Gabrielle Marie Trollinger

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  • Jessica Townsley

    I’m fairly certain I saw this for the first time long before I was emotionally mature enough to handle the material, but I have always had a soft spot for this film (and also the occasional “Heathers” related nightmare). It must be where my Christian Slater obsession began and why I, too, probably watched “Bed of Roses” (which I love) and subsequently developed a love of MSM (exacerbated after seeing “Fried Green Tomatoes” for the first time my freshman year of college). I’m rambling. I’ll stop. Have a fantastic birthday!

    • Erin Long

      YES TO ALL!!!

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