Seymour is a young man who works in a flower store. He manages to create a carnivorous plant that feeds on human flesh. Nobody knows about it, so Seymour and the plant become good "friends". The plant needs food to grow up, so it convinces him to start killing people. Also known as "The Passionate People Eater (USA) (working title)
Running Time: 70 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: PG
Reportedly only two shooting days and $22,500 went into the making of this picture, but limited fiscal resources didn't deter Roger Corman and his game, resourceful FilmGroup from whipping up a serviceful parody of a typical screen horror number.
Little Shop of Horrors is kind of one big sick joke, but it's essentially harmless and good-natured. The plot concerns a young, goofy florist's assistant who creates a talking, blood-sucking, man-eating plant, then feeds it several customers from skid row before sacrificing himself to the horticultural gods.
There is a fellow who visits the Skid Row flower shop to munch on purchased bouquets ('I like to eat in these little out-of-the-way places'). There is also the Yiddish proprietor, distressed by his botanical attraction ('we not only got a talking plant, we got one dot makes smart cracks'), but content to let it devour as the shop flourishes. And there are assorted quacks, alcoholics, masochists [Jack Nicholson, as a dental patient], sadists and even a pair of private-eyes who couldn't solve the case of the disappearing fly in a hothouse for Venus Fly-Traps.
The acting is pleasantly preposterous. Mel Welles, as the proprietor, and Jonathan Haze, as the budding Luther Burbank, are particularly capable, and Jackie Joseph is decorative as the latter's girl. Horticulturalists and vegetarians will love it.
'The Little Shop Of Horrors' is one of the movies that Roger Corman's reputation as the "king of the quickies" is founded on. Filmed in two days on a budget less than Spielberg's dinner money, this is one of the all-time b-grade camp classics. While the humour is extremely dated the concept is very black and contemporary. Charles B. Griffith probably deserves as much credit for this movie as Corman. Writing this, 'A Bucket Of Blood', 'The Wild Angels' and 'Death Race 2000' has ensured him movie immortality! Corman semi-regular Jonathan Haze may not be as fondly remembered as Dick Miller, but he is well cast as the klutzy Seymour Krelboyne, "father" of the blood thirsty exotic plant Audrey, and Mel Welles hams it up as his tyrannical boss Mushnick. But the show is stolen by Miller as a flower eating hipster, and an astonishingly fresh faced Jack Nicholson as a masochistic dental patient (a classic bit!), as much as Audrey herself. Forget the crappy 80s musical version, stick with this, the real deal. It is pretty creaky in places but still a lot of fun!
Charles B. Griffith
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