Little Shop of Horrors (1986) from Tuna

Little Shop of Horrors (1986) was based on a Broadway show, which was in turn based on perhaps Roger Corman's best known film, The Little Shop of Horrors (1960). 
I remembered the award winning music and the incredible special effects with the Audrey2, but had forgotten about the supporting cast, which included Steve Martin as the sadistic dentist, John Candy, Bill Murray and James Belushi. This film is a total delight, and the DVD does it justice. In one of the special features, I learned that they originally had the traditional ending where Audrey and Seymore were eaten by the plant, but the test audiences were so attached to the two characters by the end of the film that they nearly lynched the director for killing them -- hence the existing happy ending. 


although there is no flesh in the movie as it stands, there was a brief nip-slip from Ellen Greene in the original ending. That was included on the first release of the DVD, but was withdrawn because of copyright issues

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • Full-length director commentary

  • deleted scenes and outtakes

  • making-of featurette

Granted, some if the film is just plain stupid, but it has enough brilliant moments to more than make up for it. My personal favorite is when Audrey convinces Seymore to murder the sadistic dentist, and sings, "That guy sure looks like plant food to me." 

Very useful link. This details all the changes made from the off-Broadway version of the play in order to produce the final version of the movie. 

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: about three stars. Ebert 3.5/4, Maltin 2.5/4, Berardinelli 3.5/4

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 26 articles on file.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.3
  • With their dollars ... it wasn't a smash, hit, but it took in $38 million domestic in its theatrical release, and has generated $19 million since from rental income
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, I say B-, a good enough musical with crossover appeal due to a love story, a horror element, a history (the Corman Version), great puppeteering, and lots of humor.

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