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  • Writer's pictureibetyoudidnt

I Bet You Didn't See... The Little Shop of Horrors

Updated: Jan 13

Contains Spoilers!

Part of the Roger Corman series.


Everyone knows the story of Audrey Two, the alien plant Seymour Krelborn finds, feeds and grows into a monstrous, carnivorous beast. I bet there are a few things about the story you didn't know though.

In 1960, well-known among movie fanatics, Corman had access to a previous film's sets for two days and decided to shoot The Little Shop of Horrors. It would become one of his most famous and successful creations.

The original film lasts just over an hour. It's well paced, funny and looks wonderfully cheap. Narrated by a police officer, Gravis Mushnick (Mel Welles) is wonderful Hollywood stereotype of a penny-pinching foreigner, while Seymour Krelborn (Jonathan Haze) and Audrey Fulquard (Jackie Joseph) are like young children not knowing how to act with each other.

Nicholson (left) and Haze

A young Jack Nicholson - fresh on the cinema screen - appears as Wilbur Force, the masochistic dental patient and steals the show with a manic, bizarre performance in his few minutes on screen. Nicholson was appearing in only his fourth film (he would do four in 1960 alone) and was a regular collaborator with Roger Corman for the next 10 years.

In 1982, a revival would lead to an Off-Broadway musical. The show's success was massive and Frank Oz would go on to create the musical on screen. The basic premise is the same, but the differences are significant. The dentist, played in the musical version by Steve Martin, is the abusive, sadistic boyfriend of Audrey. He steals the show with his Elvis-style swagger while Bill Murray takes a page out of Jack Nicholson's book and reflects his performance really well. Apart from the music and Ellen Greene's rather irritating high-pitched voice, all the principle aspects are there. Rick Moranis plays Seymour well, and doesn't do a bad job singing, but it's Stubbs and Martin that make the movie memorable.

Steve Martin throws everything at the role

Of course, Audrey Two is the huge difference. It is a creation of Seymour's in 1960, but an alien in 1986. However, while just being a talking plant in the original, the sassy, singing, in-your-face Audrey Two was voiced by Levi Stubbs. Audrey Two is the star and Stubbs makes sure it was unforgettable.

They are good fun movies, although I would highly suggest you watch the original to appreciate how successful the phenomena has become.

1960 Original -

Directed by: Roger Corman

Screenplay by: Charles B. Griffiths

Starring: Jonathan Haze, Jackie Joseph, Mel Welles

Released: September 14th, 1960

My Rating: 6/10

1986 Musical -

Directed by: Frank Oz

Screenplay by: Howard Ashman

Starring: Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, Bill Murray

Released: December 19th, 1986

My Rating: 6/10

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