Audrey Blue
September 23, 2012 10:59 AM   Subscribe

"On the 23rd day of the month of September...in an early year of a decade not too long before our own...the human race suddenly encountered a deadly threat to its very existence."

Presenting Little Shop of Horrors, the cult movie that became a musical that became a movie musical, a comic book, a game, and a Saturday morning cartoon. Besides starring Rick Moranis, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, and Levi Stubbs in signature roles, the 1986 film also launched the careers of Ellen Greene, Tisha Campbell, and Tichina Arnold, and one unforgettable scenery-chewing star named Audrey II.
posted by roger ackroyd (33 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
previously: the alternate ending (links eaten by Warner Bros)
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:04 AM on September 23, 2012


This show never fails to make me smile. I think of it as the first Lovecraftian musical.

As I've posted about previously, I love listening to foreign-language dubs of American show tunes. The hyper-American setting of Little Shop of Horrors makes it delightfully surreal to see these numbers ("Dans la banlieue," "Gib's mir").

Also, I have no source for this and I want none, but I am certain, certain that there is some complainy LJ post out there on the internet, faulting Little Shop of Horrors for its terrible portrayal of D/s relationships.
posted by Countess Elena at 11:10 AM on September 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also worth noting! The film was directed by Muppeteer Frank Oz, with truly great songs from Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, who would go on to write music for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:11 AM on September 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Not to mention, in the original movie, Jack Nicholson's best performance.
posted by HuronBob at 11:13 AM on September 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


They're screening the full director's cut with the restored ending at NY Film Festival this Friday.. but it's sold out. D'oh!
posted by ReeMonster at 11:13 AM on September 23, 2012


You bastard. I read the first line of the post and then the part of my brain I do not have control over caused me to repeat the entire opening narration AND the opening song. Out loud. Alone.

This is what happens when your grandmother only brings one VHS to entertain you with when she babysits.
posted by The Whelk at 11:13 AM on September 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


Howard Ashman's memorial service: Little Shop of Horrors
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:25 AM on September 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, there's a Wii Workout, because: why not.
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:32 AM on September 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm certainly glad I grabbed the "expanded OST" for this movie before it disappeared from the place where I found it. It's way more complete than the official soundtrack album, includes all the instrumental breaks and underscores, and has all the alternate versions of the songs (which were changed when they put the happy ending on the movie). It's something that regularly comes up in my music library, and I'm always happy when it does.

Plus, the death metal fanboy guy at the warehouse in which I work regularly breaks out in renditions of LSOH songs at odd points. Not quite sure how that got to be part of his musical vocabulary, but at least it's something my old man brain recognizes as music. :)
posted by hippybear at 11:55 AM on September 23, 2012



They're screening the full director's cut with the restored ending at NY Film Festival this Friday.. but it's sold out. D'oh!


Talk about a buried lede...that the restoration has finally happened is really cool and a big deal! Also says the restored blu-ray is out in October, with both endings present.
posted by anazgnos at 12:19 PM on September 23, 2012


"Dentist!" is amazing as a group karaoke song, that is all
posted by nicebookrack at 12:26 PM on September 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


It seems that my sister and I watched this countless times during the summer - maybe HBO had it on constant repeat at some point to fill in some programming slots.

But to this day, my musical-loving wife and I still laugh that as kids we thought Bill Murray's character was just a "weird dude" (TM). It only dawned us years later the hidden meaning behind his actions - something that we're still shocked our parents either ignored or had no clue about. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
posted by fijiwriter at 12:31 PM on September 23, 2012


My boyfriend and I smoked a giant spliff before seeing this in a multiplex near Renton, Wash. Maybe that's why I could never see it again.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:24 PM on September 23, 2012


Loved this movie!! What ever happened to Ellen Greene? She was so good in this.. Thanks for the post! Wonderful!!
posted by pearlybob at 2:13 PM on September 23, 2012


I think this movie is a rare instance of studio interference actually IMPROVING a film. Oz's original ending is visually impressive, but it just doesn't fit the rest of the film. You really end up feeling for these goofy characters, as they fall in love and pine to get out of Skid Row and all that stuff, and to just watch them die horribly at the end would've seemed nasty and unsatisfying. That closing song is kinds blah too, compared to the rest of the score. The ending they used, with the callback to Audrey's wedding fantasy and the Or IS it the end? gag, is a much better match for the tone of the rest of the film.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:16 PM on September 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


What happened to Ellen Green...
posted by The Whelk at 2:26 PM on September 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


pearlybob, Ellen Greene is on the ABC Family show Bunheads.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:26 PM on September 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ellen Greene was Sylar's mother in "Heroes" while it was still vaguely enjoyable.
posted by John Shaft at 2:30 PM on September 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow. I hadn't heard anything about that film since I actually saw that in a theatre. I guess I wasn't just imagining it after all.

(Not quite the splash that Rocky Horror made.)
posted by Twang at 3:00 PM on September 23, 2012


Oh man, I wish this was the movie people dressed up for and sang at instead of Rocky Horror. I have loved it since it came out (I was 6!) and was never more disappointed than when I finally saw Rocky Horror. It's like I can see a whole alternative future ...
posted by dame at 3:58 PM on September 23, 2012


Oh man, I wish this was the movie people dressed up for and sang at instead of Rocky Horror.

A group of us watched the movie so many times over the course of about a year that we had pretty thoroughly Rocky Horrorized it with audience interaction. We never dressed up, but we sure had plenty of lines and sing-a-long stuff going on.
posted by hippybear at 4:38 PM on September 23, 2012


Yeah that kinda already happened via home video cause I know no less than five people in my immediate peer group who be counted on for an sudden, impromptu rendition of Somewhere That's Green.
posted by The Whelk at 4:42 PM on September 23, 2012


But not in high school and in public when I could have really used it, dammit. Now I just have my own party at home and then I get to play all the parts.
posted by dame at 4:57 PM on September 23, 2012


One of my favorite musicals! My high school drama club staged it one year - I didn't get in but ended up doing tech stuff, so I watched it dozens of times. I loved it so much that I chose it for the Parents' Weekend musical when I taught drama at an all-girls summer camp. My Audrey was amazing, and my Seymour and Orin the Dentist (played by two sisters) were both pretty cute too. I love both the movie and the play, but personally I think the darker ending in the stage version is completely hilarious. I just read this Frank Oz comment quoted in the previous thread, though, and it does make sense: "In a stage play, you kill the leads and they come out for a bow — in a movie, they don't come out for a bow, they're dead. And the audience loved those people, and they hated us for it."

I would LOVE for Little Shop to be RHPS-ified.
posted by naoko at 5:55 PM on September 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


To this day, any time I see a fairly large and alien-looking plant, I have to exclaim (or at least mutter) in as basso a voice as I can muster, "Feed me, Seymour!"
posted by Philofacts at 8:19 PM on September 23, 2012


I would LOVE for Little Shop to be RHPS-ified.

Frankly I really hope that idea doesn't catch on. I already can't see Rocky Horror or Hedwig and the Angry Inch in a public venue without people shouting through the whole damn thing. There need to be separate screenings for people who actually want to see a freakin' movie and people who are there to yell and throw stuff.

Oh man, I wish this was the movie people dressed up for and sang at instead of Rocky Horror.

For decades, the Rocky Horror phenomenon has provided a forum for thousands of shy small town boys to wear lingerie in public, and it has brought a lot of lonesome misfits together. It is, on balance, a pretty great thing. (Although, like I said, I'd like to see the movie in a theater just once without all the hullabaloo.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:29 PM on September 23, 2012


I definitely need a long, slow root canal.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:30 PM on September 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is what happens when your grandmother only brings one VHS to entertain you with when she babysits.

And is AWESOME.

And I say this as a fan of campy movies and bad movies and all of the songs and Meat Loaf but without audience participation Rocky Horror is borderline unwatchable.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:48 PM on September 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Steve Martin's turn as the dentist was so awesome that I retconned the memory of his rendition of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" in the execrable Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band movie to be much more awesome than it actually was.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:03 AM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


And I say this as a fan of campy movies and bad movies and all of the songs and Meat Loaf but without audience participation Rocky Horror is borderline unwatchable.

I've heard that a lot, and could hardly disagree more. Rocky Horror drags a bit in spots, but between the classic songs, eccentric performances and wall-to-wall quotable dialogue, the movie is absolutely watchable. I think it's fallen victim to the Ed Wood curse, where it's actually really interesting in its own funky way but it got slapped with the label of Worst Thing Ever. (The comparison is problematic, because Wood's movies truly are so inept they become fascinatingly bizarre, while Rocky was made by people who were much more talented in a conventional sense.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:35 AM on September 24, 2012


Sorry, Ursula H., but I'm going to have to agree with MCMikeNamara: RHPS is not a good movie. Like a lot of cult movies, it's got great performers and a great premise and not-bad songs, but the direction is flat. (The director, Jim Sharman, has had a lot of success with theatrical productions, but after the RHPS sequel, Shock Treatment, he wouldn't direct a film for over thirty years, until this year's Andy X. Similarly, Mystery Men is the only film directed by Kinka Usher.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:03 PM on September 24, 2012


RHPS is packed with unforgettable images. I mean, say what you wanna say about the story, but it's a great looking, well-staged movie! Even if a lot of those images originated in the stage show, it's still put on film impressively. I mean, Frank's first appearance didn't ONLY become iconic because of Tim Curry's amazing performance. The build-up with the elevator and the thumping high heel, the door slamming open to reveal Frank's garishly painted face, the moment when he doffs his cape to reveal the lingerie... That stuff didn't just happen, Sharman put the sequence together.

Charles Laughton only directed one movie, you know. It's not all about quantity. (And I think Frank Oz basically shot his wad with Little Shop, too. He hasn't made anything like a classic since... But the one was enough!)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:35 PM on September 24, 2012


Oh, I dunno. Oz directed Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and that's one hell of a movie.
posted by hippybear at 5:52 PM on September 24, 2012


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