Sorry Emily, the Newest Wuthering Heights Sucks


Today would have been Emily Brontë 200th birthday. The middle of the surviving Brontë sisters, she’s known for her one great novel Wuthering Heights, published in 1847, which has been made into several movie and TV versions. Alas, another one is headed to screen later in 2018 (at least in the U.K.), and the promotional pictures are fucking tragic. And not wandering-the-moors, hand-staple-forehead, gothic novel tragic. We’re talking, I can’t wait until Snark Week, you gotta see this now fucking TRAGIC. To wit…

Wuthering Heights (2018)

The principle cast in front of the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth. HOW COULD THEY?!?! I am aghast.

Wuthering Heights (2018)

The Byronic hero, Fabio, er, I mean Heathcliff (Paul Eryk Atlas), he of ridiculously flowing hair.

Wuthering Heights (2018)

The heroine, Cathy (Sha’ori Morris) of course, without a hairpin to be seen, and yes, we’ll see more of that hideous dress, just you wait.

But let’s go through the story somewhat chronologically, because that’s the kind of literary nerd I am. So we flashback to Cathy and Heathcliff as kids.

Wuthering Heights (2018)

Lookee, she’s wearing a crappy Holly Hobby dress! He has a stick!

And we meet the fam.

Wuthering Heights (2018)

Cathy’s mom (Claire Cooper-King) seems like she might have an OK dress for the late 18th-c., when this part of the story is set … maybe? kinda? if I squint real hard?

Wuthering Heights (2018)

Except her whole outfit looks like it’s made of cheap cotton, with no linings, much the less corset or petticoats to provide structure, and, oh yeah, that clunky-ass floral isn’t at all historically accurate. Also, nothing appears to fit her.

Wuthering Heights (2018)

Mr. Earnshaw (Henry Douthwaite) apparently shops at the local army-navy surplus store, and I guess they’re too poor / don’t give a shit, so little Heathcliff doesn’t wear stockings.

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Ah, no, Heathcliff was taking after his adopted dad, who thinks stockings are for losers. Hard to tell, but I think Cathy’s dress is recycled from a Tudor production.

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Cathy’s brother Hindley (Marcus Churchill) is, like dad, definitely Team No Tights.

Wuthering Heights (2018)

Mr. Earnshaw dies, and he’ll be damned if he’s buried wearing tights. Heathcliff honors his memory. #HairyLegsForDays

After dad dies, Hindley is master of Wuthering Heights, and he gets himself a bride.

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Frances Earnshaw (Anne Scherliess) brings on the fug with this velvet number. What historical period is it supposed to be? Any idea?

Wuthering Heights (2018)

JFC, this hat! I know exactly how they made it, because I did crap like that back when I was in high school and college, when I didn’t know shit about actual millinery, much the less historical millinery.

In every Wuthering Heights adaption, Cathy and Heathcliff are contractually obligated to wander the moors.

Wuthering Heights (2018)

But what the frock is Cathy wearing?!? I’m almost glad I couldn’t find a better picture because what I can see is hideous. Heathcliff is probably glad all that hair is covering his face.

Wuthering Heights (2018)

+1 for posing at Top Withens, Yorkshire, the area that inspired Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. -100,000 for all that fucking hair blowing around.

How about a love triangle, eh? Gives a chance for more shittastic costumes! (Oh, have I mentioned that doesn’t list a costume designer credit for this movie? Yeah, nobody wants to take credit, and I don’t blame them.)

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Edgar Linton (Richard Dee-Roberts), supposed to be Mr. Fancy-Pants, but here, he’s just Mr. Poorly Tailored Drapery Fabrics.

Wuthering Heights (2018)

Yet for some reason, Cathy picks him. And for some equally mysterious reason, she picks this fucking awful dress. The hoopskirt, the bright blue, the machine embroidered poly baroque satin, the clunky mitered trim, obviously no corset, everything about the shape and cut, the total lack of hairstyling. WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA? ARE THEY TROLLING ME? His outfit isn’t so hot either — is that orange velour? Because it looks like a bathrobe, plus the floral reminds me of a Hawaiian print.

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Well, she could have had Heathcliff on a horse in a random white coat (what, is he a Disney prince now? da fuq?).

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In case you were wondering how cheap of a production this was, it looks like they just picked up some shirts at H&M. Nobody will notice pop-snaps, right? HAH.

I think I need a lay-down after the horrors of those last costumes. UGH. How about some of the minor characters then?

Wuthering Heights (2018)

Dress the Servants in Shit, Part 1: Nellie Dean (Helen Fullerton) may be the novel’s narrator, but this movie just gives her some old renfaire crap to wear. And fuck sleeves.

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Dress the Servants in Shit, Part 2: One of you has to wear a garbage bag with an apron, the other wears an old blanket as a cape.

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Dress the Servants in Shit, Part 3: Did I mention fuck sleeves?

Alright, let’s move this story along, time for the second generation…

Wuthering Heights (2018)

Young Linton takes after his uncle and rocks the poorly fitted drapery fabrics.

Wuthering Heights (2018)

Since her mom had no hairpins to hand down, I guess you can’t blame young Cathy Linton for not doing shit with her hair. But her dress is still pretty tragic.

Wuthering Heights (2018)

Haerton just looks grumpy in his striped shirt from TopShop, while Cathy doesn’t mind wearing a Zara blazer because she could use it after the movie shoot.

Finally, I don’t know what character this one is, but the photo was on the movie’s Facebook page

Wuthering Heights (2018)




Can you hear Emily Brontë rolling over in her grave too?

84 Responses

    • Frances Grimble

      Well I can now save the price of the DVD, since I doubt the script or acting are any better. BTW, I read awhile back that the actress who plays Cathy used her pet dogs as the ones who bite Cathy’s ankle, but all they wanted to do was play kissy-face with her. But be fair, that’s kind of a nice flowered sheet Cathy’s mom is wearing.

  1. thedementedfairy

    Oh my god! That looks WORSE than most school productions of anything, ever. Unbelievably awful. Maybe all the costume people walked off in disgust when they saw what they had to work with. I can’t. Even. Start.

  2. toranut97

    NONONONONONO! Are you sure this isn’t a Community College project? (Not to be cruel to community colleges!) So horrible and reeks of lousy acting! You can smell it right through the screen. Oh, spare us! THE HORROR!

  3. LydiaR

    I’ve never liked the story of Wuthering Heights, but I surely needed the laughs you gave me this morning!

    • MoHub

      Also not a fan of Wuthering Heights, but the novel certainly doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment.

  4. Daniel Milford-Cottam

    Ye Gods, Goddesses and sundry deities, its like everything bad in costume design was aborted copiously and at great length all over this film.

  5. Saraquill

    It doesn’t seem right to call the hair and clothing half-assed. Cheekless?

  6. Jill

    This has made my Monday morning start very badly. Emily Bronte deserves better. I cannot believe a British company actually did this. I winced so much I’m hyperventilating.

  7. Jenny

    Little Heathcliff is so cute–shame he grows up to become an edgelord.

  8. Elizabeth Mahon

    This looks like some local amateur theatre production of Wuthering Heights, not an honest to god film production. The whole budget looks about $200 if that.

  9. Susan Pola Staples

    I’m now running across the moor screaming hysterically and shouting ‘effing horrid and this is the worst piece of crap to be seen. You get better clothes at Ren faires and Dickens faires. Shoot it now!!

  10. Jana Hill

    Setting aside the costuming, let us address health and safety concerns. I am legit concerned over the picture where they are lolling about with loose fabrics and hair in the midst of candles.

  11. broughps

    Good grief our community theater productions had better costumes than this. shudders

  12. picasso Manu

    OMG! Kill that thing with fire NOW! And I dunno about you, but just looking at those, you can sort of tell the acting is shitty too: That death scene? I’d bet just about anything it must be something for the books! (of horrors)

  13. Olivia McNeely

    This cannot be real. It cannot be real. TELL ME THIS ISN’T REAL.

    Real talk though, I worked in youth theater for legit half of my life, and I was tight with the head costumer and her apprentices. And we’re not talking a theater in a city, we’re talking a rinky-dinky lil’ place in a small town, albeit with a goddamn massive collection of costume components and props. That being said…we did better than this. Waaaay better. With almost zero money/time/formal costuming experience on the part of most of the staff.

    There’s no excuse for this crap.

  14. Frannie Germeshausen

    This is from The Onion, right? This can’t be real.

  15. EAG46

    I’m pretty sure my high school had better costumes for various Shakespeare productions THIRTY YEARS AGO. And why no stockings for the men? Was all the money spent on location rental? At least the horse looks nice.

  16. Becky Nankivell

    The hat: I am consoling myself imagining those buttons as googly eyes. :-) Oh, and look, they appear on Edgar Linton’s drapery fabric outfit, too! Yay!

  17. yosa

    Oh my word, that is terrible! I hope this is just a high school production, never to be filmed.

  18. Rosaerona

    This has to be a joke, right? I can’t unsee it sadly… Emily must be spinning in her grave!

  19. Sharon In Scotland

    Is this for real? it just doesn’t ring true. I don’t find WH wildly romantic and tragic, just deeply tedious and maddening. All that thwarted, energy sapping emotion, such a waste of time………get together, stay together, (or not) then Cathy doesn’t have to die and Heathcliff doesn’t have to be utterly vile to all and sundry.

  20. Christy Jenkins

    OMG The yellow/gold velvet! Flashbacks to my childhood when we had a ton of this stuff in my mom’s fabric box, leftover from my dad’s attempt at making a fancy conversion van (it was the 70s, ok?) with the skills learned from my retired-upholsterer grandpa. I had so many doll clothes, pillows, etc. made out of that stuff!

    • picasso Manu

      If more than 200 of that went in the costuming for the whole cast (horses included) someone is lining their pockets. To call or not to call the IRS, that is the question!

  21. Lynne Connolly

    Where do I start? The floppy hair is there in abundance, just like the average romance novel cover (sorry, I’m bitter right now). That orange velvet monstrosity was made for somebody much bigger. It might have a better chance of fitting Brian Blessed, for instance, but there is absolutely no buckram stiffening in it.
    My guess is that somebody ran amok in the furnishings and bedding departments. Then they looked at a few romance novel covers, and went – I want that. But they forgot to stop at the lace counter. There are no lace ruffles, no lace trim on the necklines, no fichus…
    That hooped gown – omg. That style went out decades before. Even a backwater like Haworth would have picked up on that and had it refashioned. And that draping? Erg.
    Why all the lapels?
    The poppers on the shirt – ungh.

  22. hadabuck

    My first thought is that the costume designer is an intern from a high school drama club. Same with the still photographer.

    Hoping, with crossed fingers, that they are just punking everyone with these photos and the reality is much, much better.

  23. Black Tulip

    What in the name of all that is holy is this?! I kept scrolling down, thinking that it couldn’t get any worse, and . . .

    There is no drink pink enough to aid my recovery.

    • Susan Pola Staples

      I’m going to mix several alcolhic beverages once I get back from my running insanely across the moor. Maybe it will help me forget this travesty. Hmm.?

  24. Sharon In Scotland

    Just had a look at the trailer………………not good, lots of Heathcliffe flinging his hair around like a startled pony, Nelly Dean is clearly wearing a bra, not a corset, under her costume, the sound is awful and H and C seem to actually be getting it on, (which is just as annoying as endlessly NOT getting it on). It looks and sounds like a student production

  25. avantgarbe

    Oh sweet Jebus. I’m just going to assume that the costumer desginer is actually a huge fan of Frock Flicks and wanted to give you ample material for Snark Week, as that’s the only possible explanation.

  26. Missy

    I agree I’ve seen better costumes at Ren Faires, and decade appropriate as well. That was a real mish mash with not one dress looking like it came from 1847. I used to volunteer at a Historic home and our costumes were MUCH better! (1820-1850).I could have done much better if I do say so myself.

    • India Edghill

      To be fair — and being fair about the time period still won’t help, because the costumes are still gawd-awful — none of the dresses need to look as if they’re from 1847. The first part of the story takes place in the 1790s, and then there’s a generation down from that (about 1834?) still mucking up each other’s love lives and committing adultery and/or incest. I’ve always thought that the novel had the world’s most convoluted story structure ever. That poor traveler must have wished, by the time the housekeeper at the Heights had gotten 15 minutes into her interminable tale — which she tells to a random stranger, you understand — that he’d taken his chances with the storm on the moors. I can’t wait to see this because it looks almost as bad as POMPEII. (But I bet they STILL leave out the novel’s subtext of Total Kink: it’s reasonably clear that Heathcliff is actually Cathy’s half-brother, and I’ll bet most of the readers back in the Victorian period picked up on that.) But these costumes make those in THE WHITE PRINCESS look almost good. I wouldn’t have believed it. Can’t wait to see this WH version now. With snark in hand, of course! Boy, when I consider the Olivier version, and the Dalton version…just for starters — oh, this one is TOO GOOD. (Did mention I adore truly awful movies and miniseries?)

  27. Mary

    I found an interview with the director and two leads on YouTube. About two-thirds through (10:20), the director says something about costumes in the midst of a discussion of relying on local resources. She said Sha’ori Morris, who plays Cathy, had a hand in costume design, and they used local seamstresses and local haberdashery shops. “It would have been much cheaper to order costumes from abroad to spec rather than use local people.” But they felt it was right to use local resources.

    • Jill

      All well and good, but who hires an ACTOR to do the costuming? Giving a REAL costume professional a job would have been every bit as socially responsible as hiring locals to do the sewing. I don’t think I’m even going to watch this “high moral ground” costume clusterfuck mess. It’s almost as dreadful as the latest version of Little Women.

    • MoHub

      Sorry. I was totally distracted by the writer’s cleavage.

    • Nzie

      That’s good that they tried to make them locally and ethically. But that doesn’t fix bad design choices (not suggesting that you’re excusing it on that basis). To me it’s kind of like every annoying religious movie or fiction book where people think that A Good Message = Good Art, which is simply not true.

      • Mary

        Exactly! Why couldn’t they give those local seamstresses something reasonable to sew?

  28. Jilly

    I think the pictures were taken with one of those cardboard disposable cameras. With flash.

  29. picasso Manu

    Next time they should hire a costumer to play the lead, it sure won’t be worse. I hate those people who think they can do others job at the drop of a hat, usually because it’s manual labor, and, you know, if it doesn’t require a University degree, anybody can do it… I wonder what is the excuse for the hair? A horse did it on the side for more pasture time?

  30. India Edghill

    PS — by the way, I owned a hat just like that, er, creation. I bought it at Disneyland. In 1969. In New Orleans Square. It was pink and yellow. And I was 19. What is THEIR excuse in this production for any such thing??

  31. Donnalee

    I kept wanting Heathcliff to turn into Michael Praed and to know how to sit a horse. Oh well–yeah, this looks tacky and dreadful. Good luck to everyone. Some very high very ugly men boots did nothing for the charm of some photos either, in my opinion–

  32. A

    Never mind hairpins, whatever happened to combs??? They have definitely been invented by then, but maybe in the director’s vision they haven’t been introduced to Yorkshire yet. Couple of millenia is not enough to win Yorkshiremen over.

    That last picture is something less. I have never seen a hooped bedsheet before.

  33. karena333

    HAHAHAHA I can’t stop laughing…or is it crying? I HAVE to see that death scene. It looks priceless.

      • Susan Pola Staples

        Or the Musical? Heathcliff isn’t going to ‘Throw his shot’ and Cathy sings ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’?

  34. Lulu

    That shiny blue dress and the on-remainder upholstery fabrics make me wonder, did the costumer of North and South come out of retirement for this mishegoss?

  35. M.E. Lawrence

    I thought it must be a really cheap and horrible production until I came across the still of Cathy Linton looking like Vicky Pollard from “Little Britain.” Then it looked like a really, really fucking cheap and horrible production. Happy birthday, Emily, and please forgive what passes for 21st-century culture. We love you, we won’t watch it, and if we do, we’ll mock it relentlessly.

  36. Richard Harper

    Jesus, gods…this must be taken from the worst bus-and-truck high school production ever. No wonder there is no costume credit — the weasely coward is probably trying to avoid being drawn and quartered.

  37. Nzie

    I would, of course, rather they do a great or even just good effort job, but if they’re not going to care, it’s more fun when they fail spectacularly rather than just blandly. I cannot get over that horrible hoop dress and jacket combination… It’s not just not historically accurate; it’s also really not pretty. Jury is still out on who will win the race to the bottom, this or Robin Hood, but that dress and the snap shirt may just do it.

  38. Kayre Morrison

    There are no words that do this hideousness justice! Worse than the most clueless community theatre. Oh! That last shot…could that be ghost Cathy?

  39. Gillian Stapleton

    There is a huge amount of local costuming talent near Haworth – Huddersfield University runs one of the best costume degree courses in the country, there are plenty of historical costume specialists within 30 miles, and hiring accurate stuff isn’t difficult – York Theatre Royal and West Yorkshire Playhouse have excellent wardrobe hire facilities. It’s a huge shame that the production team didn’t use their budget with more wisdom. There is no excuse at all for such low standards.

  40. Kim

    Oh my goodness…. I just feel so sorry for them! Particularly as they are probably all thinking they are in wonderful costumes and patting themselves on the back! Yikes.

  41. Aleko

    It’s not just the costumes. Everything we see about this production is terrible – the script, the acting, the direction. The scene shown on the TV interview starts with the actor playing Heathcliff making a feeble pretence at spreading hay over a stable floor at Acton Scott historic farm with a pitchfork (well, actually just tossing it repeatedly in the same place about a foot to one side of the bale), but within seconds he gives up even that pretence and just repeatedly prods the bale pointlessly while emoting. Come on, you say you had the whole staff at the farm keen to help you – you only had to ask ‘what can I do with this hay and this pitchfork that looks credible?’ and they could have shown you!

  42. Janet

    This must be an elaborate joke/hoax around Emily Brontë’s Birthday celebrations, right?! This can’t be real, right?! I can’t “unsee” this!!! My brain hurts!!! =,(

  43. Heidi L.

    Wow,this is a truly impressive level of bad costuming! Did they literally have NO budget? This looks like the kind of thing we did as kids in the 80’s making home movies with the dress-up box. Or like Trey Parker and MAtt Stone’s early movei”Cannibal the Musical”. At least that was funny.

  44. Rori

    This is seriously giving me some grandma erotic novel vibes – with all the long hair men, ladies in unauthentic dress, posing in what looks like a bad photo shot.

  45. Aleko

    I’m appalled to find that this am-dram disaster is being publicised by the British Council! See here:

    I can only hope that when they actually see this dreck they will drop it from their listings, and not push it at unsuspecting foreigners around the globe as a sample of British culture…

  46. themodernmantuamaker

    Until about halfway through this post I was cringing. And then I just burst out laughing over and over again until the end! Omg, that awesome in its awfulness!!!

  47. pandaemonaeum

    The production has been pushed around the north east of England (where I am located) and has latched onto goth/ steampunk events. I believe they were trying to sell off some of those dresses for ridiculous sums at one point too.

    I have several friends who live in the area where this was produced who are costume designers who could have done this effectively, and cost-effectively. I mean, there are re-enactment groups who would have loaned them stuff! This isn’t my period of expertise but even on an off day I could have done better than this.

    Anyway, I look forward to Snark Week and would like to apologise – the film industry in the NE has now produced this travesty, and that terrible version of Beowulf, we’re sorry, we will try to do better.

  48. Erica

    Not to be inappropriate … but some of these pictures look like they’re from the set of an “adult” film. Pictures 8,9, and 10 especially.

  49. Roxana

    Dear God. What’s with the flowing hair and bare legs on the men? And no eighteenth century gentleman would allow a lady, even a close relative, see him lounging in his shirt and no stockings. It would embarrass them both enormously

    • Constance

      ALL the hair, omg, on everyone. It should be against a law to have loose flowing messy hair on period ladies…it did not happen! Even if they were “free spirits!” And all those bare hairy legs are gross. I hate WH anyway…this seals it…

  50. OcarinaSapph1r3 -24

    Isn’t the story depressing enough, without weeping over the costume & hair styling??
    I’ve hardly gotten over the last one- & that had nothing to do with a PoC being cast as Heathcliffe… I just think ‘Wuthering Heights’ is a garbage depressing story, largely populated with garbage people – sorry, not sorry – I felt I had to watch it, because it isn’t right to judge something without knowing about it- so I watched it, & by the time I finished I felt I had to Google ‘Wuthering Heights’, sure that I was missing something, or that it was just a dark & ‘gritty’ version of the classic story… but no – other than not showing the younger generation, it was just about what happened.
    I’m glad I only ever read ‘Jane Eyre’, & never saw the appeal of this – give me Gaskell & my girl Austen any day.

  51. Alexandra Quintanilha

    The last picture is the actress who does Isabella in the movie.

  52. saffireblu

    If I didn’t laugh, I’d cry – how in the name of all that’s holy, did this not send every costume person’s BS meter flying off in a rage?!