Forgotten Friday Flick – “The Little Shop Of Horrors”

Halloween is almost here fright fans and so is yet another archived reposting of a prominent past picture nugget scary style – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Don’t let the 1960 elder black and white movie selection this week fool you, as there’s plenty of wit, sass and people eating botanical class to be had.  Originally posted on April 24, 2015 and now resurrected for WhySoBlu.com, it’s a joyous terror tale of sorts that was the origin of the famed character of a pesky plant with an unhealthy appetite that graced many musicals later on.  Surrounded by some equally particular people – a grouchy store owner, flower eating customers, funeral prone old ladies, a demented dentist and even a hypochondriac mom with an affinity for medicinal alcoholic tonic – welcome everyone to skid row home of Mushnick’s Flower Shop and known to the precious few as the…The Little Shop Of Horrors!

Seymour Krelboyne is an accident-prone loser going nowhere.  He has a second rate job at Mushnick’s Flower Shop on skid row, constantly messes up at work, he’s shy around the opposite sex and he lives with his ailing heavily medicated mom.  But Seymour does have once good thing he’s been working on – it’s a plant he’s crossbred from a butterwort and a Venus flytrap.  It’s an unusual looking specimen that he’s named Audrey Jr. (after co-worker Audrey Fulquard whom he’s got a crush on) and its arrival could not come at a better time.  Seems Seymour’s boss Gravis Mushnick is looking to fire the inept horticulturalist, but after unveiling his small special plant in a can creation he’s given a slight reprieve – he’s got one week to bring the lifeless plant back to life.  Problem is it only eats one thing…

I’m assuming everyone at this point knows the story of the bloodthirsty plant with attitude, though sadly most attribute it to a musical production.  This original version is far removed from the later evolved campy tale of a soulful singing plant – an idea via the mind of early Roger Corman.  Meaning the cool and quirk minus the crooning comes mostly from the characters and not just the concept here.  And what a colorful cast (though fittingly captured in black & white!) it is, as the trio of laugh-inducing leads including Jonathan Haze as the hapless Seymour, Jackie Joseph as the simple Audrey and Mel Welles as the caustic (and damn funny!) Gravis give the simple staging of Corman’s low budget serious sizzle.  Not to say that Corman doesn’t have an eye for casting actors, as even his smaller roles are filled with memorable minions (see early Dick Miller as a flower eating freak, Leola Wendorff as a funeral junkie, John Shaner as a maniacal dentist, Myrtle Vail as Seymour’s hooch drinking momma and especially early Jack Nicholson as a masochistic dental patient!), but all rise above the obvious no money restrictions to build the twisted world within.  And frankly this is Corman at his most creative, utilizing everything from horror (is that a leg he’s feeding that plant?) to humor (there are so many quotable lines – ‘Love those kosher flowers!’ – it’s mind-blowing!) to create one unforgettable yarn that stands the test of time.

But if there is a star besides Corman to emerge from the ashes of The Little Shop Of Horrors it’s most assuredly the peppy plant itself.  Going from a single minded little flower bud with gumption (‘Feed me!’) to a big gutsy glutton with attitude (‘Shut up and bring on the food!’) and all the while maintaining a level of mystery and fun, Audrey Jr. (voiced here by writer Charles B. Griffith) is a wonderfully realized flowery foe.  It’s no wonder Hollywood and Broadway came calling and turned the green guy’s story into a more grandiose affair.  But when all is said and done, it’s the cool and corny of Corman that gives the shop its humor and horror.  Traditional fertilizer be damned – B-movie blood always does the trick.


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

1 Response to “Forgotten Friday Flick – “The Little Shop Of Horrors””

  1. Michael

    You got this one right, Jason. This gem is filled with so many jewels and surprises it is hard to believe this original version is relegated to YouTube and is rarely mentioned. most people do not own a copy but treat yourself anyway by pulling the complete gem off YouTube and ENJOY!