The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

The Little Shop of Horrors is the B-movie that the musical Little Shop of Horrors is based. It is one of the first films Jack Nicholson was ever in as he was in several of Roger Corman’s other B-movie. According to Turner Classic Movies this film was made in the week between Christmas and New Year’s in 1959 and was filmed on the set of another movie, just redressed. Spoilers to follow.

The movie is set up completely different from the musical as in the film’s narrator is a police officer who worked on the missing person case. The other big difference in Seymour’s mother. In the film she is a hypochondriac and is missing from the stage musical.  The film begins in Gravis Mushnick’s flower shop with a bumbling Seymour and simple Audrey who work there. We meet three regulars the neighborhood funeral home owner? Mrs. Shiva who buys flowers daily, a guy who comes in and eats flowers for lunch daily and they get a call from the sadistic dentist who orders some flowers. Seymour messes up this order and Mushnick fires him but Seymour convinces Mushnick that if he can attract new customers by bringing in a new plant that Seymour has crossbred a butterwort and Venus flytrap, which Seymour calls Audrey Junior. We know where it goes from here Seymour accidentally gives it some blood and it perks up. Later on it starts talking and asking for more eventually this become people that Seymour feeds the plant with. The police come into the shop looking for any help in locating these missing people. Seymour is going to be honored by the Society of Silent Flower Observers of Southern California  when the plant finally blooms one evening and the faces of the missing people are in the buds and to everyone’s horror it was Seymour who runs out of the store and tries to escape the police. He eventually loses them and comes back to the shop where Seymour jumps in into the plant with a knife to kill it. That’s how the film ends. It is a different than the musical where everyone dies.

All in all it was an enjoyable film sure it won’t win any award being great but it was fun to watch especially at this time of the year when things turn toward the creepy and spooky. If you are a fan a Jack Nicholson this is something that needs to be seen at least once. TCM might play it again this month or you might have to wait till next year when the air it again.

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