The reviews are in, and they’re predictably awful: the new TV remake of Heathers is every bit as misguided and reactionary as its infamous trailer suggested it would be. So if you'd rather not watch pretty cis white teens scheme to murder an overweight girl, a Black lesbian, and a genderqueer teen—and if you're reading Geeks OUT, we'll assume you wouldn't—here are four alternatives in the spirit of the 1988 classic.
Batman Returns (1992)
Heathers screenwriter Daniel Waters co-wrote my favorite Batman movie ever, the dark and gleefully bizarre Batman Returns. This might be the Tim Burton-iest movie Burton ever directed, with sumptuous production design, score, costumes and makeup, and inspired performances from Danny DeVito as the Penguin and Christopher Walken as the sociopathic corporate tycoon Max Shrek. But the movie belongs to Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman, the first Strong Female Character I idolized and a hypnotic vision whether she’s fumbling as Selina Kyle or getting her S&M on as Catwoman. Meow, indeed.
Gay director Darren Stein's underrated black comedy owes a huge debt to Heathers, but it’s plenty of fun on its own. Problematic sexual abuse crusader Rose McGowan is terrific as the evil leader of a clique of popular girls. When the squad accidentally kills their bestie on her birthday, they go to extreme lengths to conceal the crime. The colorful supporting cast includes Pam Grier, Judy Greer, Buffy and Angel’s Julie Benz, and Marilyn Manson (McGowan's then-boyfriend). For added value, Greer’s two dads gush about the time they took her to a Tiffany concert(!).
Mean Girls (2004, 2018)
The best known Heathers takeoff was actually directed by Daniel Waters's brother Mark, and written (of course) by the divine Tina Fey. Besides scene-stealing gay bestie Damien (Daniel Franzese of Looking), the whole damn thing is pretty gay, with the sort of back-stabbing and gossip any queer man can relate to. Lindsay Lohan gives her last great performance before tumbling into TMZ oblivion, while Rachel McAdams reigns supreme as the appropriately named Regina George. Man candy Jonathan Bennett (Aaron Samuels), meanwhile, has since come out. With so much gay appeal, it’s no wonder Mean Girls has been adapted for the Great White Way, with Fey providing the book and Jeff Richmond (30 Rock) and Neil Benjamin (Legally Blonde: The Musical) providing music and lyrics. Though we didn’t get the lesbian Janis Ian we would have liked, early reviews suggest Damien gets more of a chance to shine, and Lacey Chabert’s Gretchen is portrayed by Asian American actress Ashley Park. Park's previous credit? The well-received Heathers musical. Previews begin on March 12.