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The Little Shop of Horrors

1960

Seymour is picked on by everybody in his life until he discovers a strange plant that makes him a media sensation. Only the plant has unusual dietary needs--human blood. You can find out more about this movie on its IMDB page. You can download an avi of the movie here.

Little Shop of Horrors}}


The Little Shop of Horrors is a 1960 American comedy horror film directed by Roger Corman. Written by Charles B. Griffith, the film is a farce about an inadequate florist's assistant who cultivates a plant that feeds on human flesh and blood. The film's concept is thought to be based on a 1932 story called "Green Thoughts", by John Collier (writer), about a man-eating plant.</> The film stars Jonathan Haze, Jackie Joseph, Mel Welles and Dick Miller, all of whom had worked for Corman on previous films. Produced under the title The Passionate People Eater,< name="Corman"></>< name="Gray"></> the film employs an original style of humor, combining black comedy with farce< name="Graham"></> and incorporating Jewish humor and elements of parody film.< name="Weaver-Tamborini"></> The Little Shop of Horrors was shot on a budget of $30,000 in two days utilizing sets that had been left standing from A Bucket of Blood.< name="Ray"></>< name=BucketFunFacts></>< name="Peary"></>< name="Corman2"></>
The film slowly gained a cult following through word of mouth when it was distributed as the B movie in a double feature with Mario Bava's Black Sunday (1960 film)< name="Ray"/>< name="Weaver"/> and eventually with The Last Woman on Earth.< name="Ray"/> The film's popularity increased with local television broadcasts,< name="Hogan"></> in addition to the presence of a young Jack Nicholson, whose small role in the film has been prominently promoted on home video releases of the film.< name="Pearce"></> The movie was the basis for an Off Broadway musical, Little Shop of Horrors (musical), which was made into a Little Shop of Horrors (film) and enjoyed a Broadway revival, all of which have attracted attention to the 1960 film.

Plot

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On Skid Row, Los Angeles, California, penny-pinching Gravis Mushnick (Mel Welles) owns a florist shop which is staffed by him and his two employees, the sweet but simple Audrey Fulquard (Jackie Joseph) and clumsy Seymour Krelboyne (Jonathan Haze).< name="little shop"></> Although the rundown shop gets little business, there are some repeat customers; for instance, Mrs. Siddie Shiva (Judaism) (Leola Wendorff) shops almost daily for flower arrangements for her many relatives' funerals. Another regular customer is Burson Fouch (Dick Miller), who eats the plants he buys for lunch. When Seymour fouls up the arrangement of Dr. Farb (John Shaner), a sadistic dentist, Mushnick fires him. Hoping Mushnick will change his mind, Seymour tells him about a special plant that he crossbred from a Pinguicula and a Venus flytrap. Bashfully, Seymour admits that he named the plant "Audrey Jr.",<!-- the plant is only named "Audrey II" in the musical versions. --> a revelation that delights the real Audrey.
From the apartment he shares with his hypochondriac mother, Winifred (Myrtle Vail), Seymour fetches his odd-looking, potted plant, but Mushnick is unimpressed by its sickly, drooping look. However, when Fouch suggests that Audrey Jr.'s uniqueness might attract people from all over the world to see it, Mushnick gives Seymour one week to revive it. Seymour has already discovered that the usual kinds of plant food do not nourish his strange hybrid and that every night at sunset the plant's leaves open up. When Seymour accidentally pricks his finger on another thorny plant, Audrey Jr. opens wider, eventually causing Seymour to discover that the plant craves blood. After that, each night Seymour nurses his creation with blood from his fingers. Although he feels increasingly listless, Audrey Jr. begins to grow and the shop's revenues increase due to the curious customers who are lured in to see the plant.
The plant (voiced by writer Charles B. Griffith) develops the ability to speak and demands that Seymour feed him. Now anemia and not knowing what to feed the plant, Seymour takes a walk along a railroad track. When he carelessly throws a rock to vent his frustration, he inadvertently knocks out a man who falls on the track and is run over by a train. Miserably guilt-ridden but resourceful, Seymour collects the body parts and feeds them to Audrey Jr. Meanwhile at a restaurant, Mushnick discovers he has no money with him, and when he returns to the shop to get some cash, he secretly observes Seymour feeding the plant. Although Mushnick intends to tell the police, he procrastinates by the next day when he sees the line of people waiting to spend money at his shop.
When Seymour later arrives that morning suffering a toothache, Mushnick sends Seymour to Dr. Farb, who tries to remove several of his teeth without anesthetic to get even with Seymour for ruining Farb's flowers. Grabbing a sharp tool, Seymour fights back and accidentally stabs and kills Farb. Seymour is horrified that he has now murdered twice and after posing as a dentist to avoid the suspicion of Farb's masochistic patient Wilbur Force (Jack Nicholson), Seymour feeds Farb's body to Audrey Jr. The unexplained disappearance of the two men attract the attention of the police and Mushnick finds himself questioned by Det. Joe Fink (Wally Campo) and his assistant Sgt. Frank Stoolie (Jack Warford) (take-offs of
Dragnet (TV series) characters Joe Friday and Frank Smith,</blockquote>
The first screenplay Griffith wrote was
Cardula, a Dracula-themed story involving a vampire music critic.< name="Weaver"/>
After Corman rejected the idea, Griffith says he wrote a screenplay titled
Gluttony,< name="Weaver"/> in which the protagonist was "a salad chef in a restaurant who would wind up cooking customers and stuff like that, you know? We couldn’t do that though because of the code at the time. So I said, “How about a man-eating plant?”, and Roger said, “Okay.” By that time, we were both drunk."< name="Graham"/>
Jackie Joseph later recalled "at first they told me it was a detective movie; then, while I was flying back [to make the movie], I think they wrote a whole new movie, more in the horror genre. I think over a weekend they rewrote it."< name="Jackie"/>
The screenplay was written under the title
The Passionate People Eater.< name="Corman"/>< name="Gray"/>< name="Ray"/> Welles stated, "The reason that The Little Shop of Horrors worked is because it was a love project. It was our love project."< name="Gray"/>

Production

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The film was partially cast with stock actors that Corman had used in previous films. Writer Charles B. Griffith portrays several small roles. Griffith's father appeared as a dental patient, and his grandmother, Myrtle Vail appeared as Seymour's hypochondriac mother.< name="Corman"/>< name="Weaver"/> Dick Miller, who had starred as the protagonist of
A Bucket of Blood was offered the role of Seymour, but turned it down, instead taking the smaller role of Burson Fouch.< name="Gray"/>< name="Ray"/> The cast rehearsed for three weeks before filming began.< name="Weaver"/> Principal photography of The Little Shop of Horrors was shot in two days and one night.< name="CNN"></>
It had been rumored that the film's shooting schedule was based on a bet that Corman could not complete a film within that time. However, this claim has been denied by Mel Welles.< name="Weaver"/> According to Joseph, Corman shot the film quickly in order to beat changing industry rules that would have prevented producers from "buying out" an actor's performance in perpetuity. On January 1, 1960, new rules were to go into effect requiring producers to pay all actors residual (entertainment industry) for all future releases of their work. This meant that Corman's B-movie business model would be permanently changed and he would not be able to produce low-budget movies in the same way. Before these rules went into effect, Corman decided to shoot one last film and scheduled it to happen the last week in December 1959.< name="Joseph"></>
Interiors were shot with three cameras in wide, lingering master shots in single takes.</> The score was used in a total of seven films, including
The Wasp Woman and Creature from the Haunted Sea.< name="IMDb-Katz"></>
Howard R. Cohen learned from Charles B. Griffith that when the film was being edited, "there was a point where two scenes would not cut together. It was just a visual jolt, and it didn't work. And they needed something to bridge that moment. They found in the editing room a nice shot of the moon, and they cut it in, and it worked. Twenty years go by. I'm at the studio one day. Chuck comes running up to me, says, 'You've got to see this!' It was a magazine article—eight pages on the symbolism of the moon in
Little Shop of Horrors."< name="Gray"/> According to Corman, the total budget for the production was $30,000.< name="Corman2"/> Other sources estimate the budget to be between $22,000 and $100,000.< name="Gray"/>< name="Ray"/>< name="Peary"/>

Release and reception

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Release history

Corman had initial trouble finding distribution for the film, as some distributors, including American International Pictures, felt that the film would be interpreted as anti-Semitic, citing the characters of Gravis Mushnick and Siddie Shiva.< name="Gray"/>< name="Ray"/>< name="Weaver"></>< name="Halligan"></> Welles, who is Jewish, stated that he gave his character a Turkish Jewish accent and mannerisms, and that he saw the humor of the film as playful, and felt there was no intent to defame any ethnic group.
</><></> Because of this, the film is widely available in copies of varying quality. The film was originally screened theatrically in the widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, but has largely only been seen in open matte at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 since its original theatrical release.</>
Variety (magazine) wrote, "The acting is pleasantly preposterous. [...] Horticulturalists and vegetarians will love it."<></>
Jack Nicholson, recounting the reaction to a screening of the film, states that the audience "laughed so hard I could barely hear the dialogue. I didn't quite register it right. It was as if I had forgotten it was a comedy since the shoot. I got all embarrassed because I'd never really had such a positive response before."< name="Corman"/>

Legacy

The film's popularity slowly grew with local television broadcasts throughout the 1960s and 1970s.< name="Hogan"></>
Interest in the film was rekindled when a stage musical called
Little Shop of Horrors (musical) was produced in 1982.</> An animated television series inspired by the musical film, Little Shop, premiered in 1991.<></>
The film was Film colorization twice, the first time in 1987.<></> This version was poorly received. The film was colorized again by Legend Films, who released their color version as well as a restored black-and-white version of the film on DVD in 2006.< name="LegendFilms"></><></> Legend Films' colorized version was well received,< name="Gibron"></><></> and was also given a theatrical premiere at the Coney Island Museum on May 27, 2006.< name="ColorPremiere"></> The DVD included an audio commentary track by comedian Michael J. Nelson of
Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame.</> On January 28, 2009, a newly recorded commentary by Nelson, Kevin Murphy (actor) and Bill Corbett was released by RiffTrax in MP3 and DivX formats.<></> Legend's colorized version is also available from Amazon Video on Demand, without Nelson's commentary.<></>
In November 2006, the film was issued by Buena Vista Home Entertainment in a double feature with
The Cry Baby Killer (billed as a Jack Nicholson double feature) as part of the Roger Corman Classics series. However, the DVD contained only the 1987 colorized version of The Little Shop of Horrors, and not the original black-and-white version.<></>
It was announced on April 15, 2009 that Declan O'Brien would helm a studio remake of the film.<></> "It won't be a musical" he told Bloody Disgusting in erence to the Frank Oz film from 1986. "I don't want to reveal too much, but it's me. It'll be dark."<></> When speaking with Shock 'Till You Drop, he revealed "I have a take on it you're not going to expect. I'm taking it in a different direction, let's put it that way."<></>

  • The Little Shop of Horrors] at
  • Joe Dante on The Little Shop of Horrors''] at




    Category:1960 films
    Category:1960s comedy films
    Category:American films
    Category:English-language films
    Category:Films directed by Roger Corman
    Category:Black-and-white films
    Category:American black comedy films
    Category:Independent films
    Category:Works based on the Faust legend
    Category:Media franchises
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