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Movie Name: The Little Shop of Horrors
Release Date(s): September 14, 1960
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Seymour Krelboyne (Jonathan Hays) is a guy down on his luck. He’s klutzy, goofy, and lives with his overbearing mother (Myrtle Vail). By day, Seymour works as a shop boy in the Skid Row flower shop of Gravis Mushnick (Mel Welles) and moons over Audrey Fulquard (Jackie Joseph). When Seymour finds a strange Venus flytrap plant, he learns that it needs more than water and sun to survive. Audrey Jr. (voiced by Charles B. Griffith) can talk and has a high demand for blood.
Directed by Roger Corman and shot in three days, The Little Shop of Horrors was ridiculed for its poor production value, but spawned an off-Broadway hit musical and a musical remake which also became a cult classic.
The Little Shop of Horrors is kind of clever at points. It is a comedy, not a horror (despite the title and subject matter), but since it isn’t a straight forward comedy, it has a lot of different styles of comedy. Seymour is a slapstick style comic with a lot of pratfalls. The detectives play the complete straight men (like a precursor to Frank Drebin of The Naked Gun). While other characters deliver almost play-like one-liners.
What jumps out about The Little Shop of Horrors is it cheapness. The movie was shot in record time. In typical Corman style, the sets are cheap, but stylistically, the film is good for what it had to work with. Audrey Jr. is weak through all of the designs used for the character. The plant is pretty much just two sides on a hinge that opens up.
The story when compared to the musical paints the characters very differently. Seymour kills more people (all accidentally), but doesn’t seem too torn up about it (he likes the success). Mushkin is played more sympathetic…he does benefit from the crime but seems more eager to stop it. Seymour’s mother was a thankful edit and the scenes with her in them just crawl. Dick Miller (who plays the hungry flower eater) was reunited with Jackie Joseph in Gremlins as the Futtermans.
The ending of the original film is closer to the ending of the original musical. In the musical Audrey II (not Audrey Jr.) succeeds in world domination. Here Audrey Jr. does end up getting Seymour (who climbs into the plant…I don’t really know what he was attempting there). I like how the blooms take on the form of the victims. That is a nice touch to the film.
The Little Shop of Horrors is a bad movie, but still fun to watch. If you want to see a B-Movie that ended up having some influence, check it out. The most famous aspect of this film is that it marks the film premiere of Jack Nicholson as the masochist dentist patient. It goes to show with Jack Nicholson that all actors have to come from somewhere. Jack later went on to star in other Corman films which helped him get Easy Rider made…so The Little Shop of Horrors was selling something good!
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)