A more scathing and trenchant teen movie has rarely been made than Heathers. Packaged and sold as a film about a group of wanna-be Valley Girls, it turned out to be a deadly examination of cliques and teenage vengeance, a black comedy comparable in its own way to Lord of the Flies. Screenwriter Daniel Waters and writer-director Michael Lehmann took audiences by surprise with smart, telling dialogue and a diabolical plot. Playing the only member of an Ohio high school's ruling clique not named Heather, Winona Ryder did much to launch herself into stardom. The film also cemented the bad-girl reputation of TV star Shannen Doherty and featured Christian Slater in his first major starring role. Heathers was too dark to be as popular with mass audiences as it was with many viewers and critics.