For this week’s “Things That Bring Back Memories” post, I am going to pick something in the topic of “MOVIES” and go with ” Little Shop of Horrors “. This movie was released in 1986, and was one that people either loved, or thought was too much like a musical, and didn’t like.
” Little Shop of Horrors ” had so many great stars in it, and such a funny story – if you were able to get past the Broadway sense of it, it was one that you would love. The stories were a crack-up, and it always made me laugh seeing the word horror in the movie…uh, not so much! 🙂
If, for some reason, you are of an age that makes it difficult to remember the ” Little Shop of Horrors ” movie, here’s the preview to the movie that we all saw before it came out on film:
Did you ever watch the ” Little Shop of Horrors “ movie when you were younger? or have you seen it on TV or Netflix later in life? Let me know what you thought of it, and if you have any memories of it in your life!
More Info on the Movie:
Little Shop of Horrors is a 1986 American rock musical horror comedy film directed by Frank Oz. It is a film adaptation of the off-Broadway musical comedy of the same name by composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman about a nerdy florist shop worker who raises a vicious, raunchy plant that feeds on human blood. Menken and Ashman’s Off-Broadway musical was based on the low-budget 1960 film The Little Shop of Horrors, directed by Roger Corman. The 1986 film stars Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, and Levi Stubbs as the voice of Audrey II. The film also featured special appearances by James Belushi, John Candy, Christopher Guest, and Bill Murray. It was produced by David Geffen through The Geffen Company and released by Warner Bros. on December 19, 1986.
Little Shop of Horrors was filmed on the Albert R. Broccoli 007 Stage at the Pinewood Studios in England, where a “downtown” set, complete with overhead train track, was constructed. The film was produced on a budget of $25 million, in contrast to the original 1960 film, which, according to Corman, only cost $30,000. The film’s original 23-minute finale, based on the musical’s ending, was rewritten and re-shot after receiving a strong negative reception from test audiences. For years only available as black-and-white workprint footage, the original ending was fully restored in 2012 by Warner Home Video.
In September 1963, Seymour Krelborn (Rick Moranis) and his colleague, Audrey (Ellen Greene), work at Mushnik’s Flower Shop, lamenting they cannot escape the slums of New York City, living in a run-down, beat up neighborhood referred to as “Skid Row.” Struggling from a lack of customers, Mr. Mushnik (Vincent Gardenia) prompts to close the store, only for Audrey to suggest displaying an unusual plant Seymour owns. Immediately attracting a customer, Seymour explains he bought the plant, which he dubbed “Audrey II”, from a Chinese flower shop during a solar eclipse. Attracting business to Mushnik’s shop, the plant soon starts dying, worrying Seymour. Accidentally pricking his finger, he then discovers Audrey II needs human blood to thrive.
Audrey II continues to grow rapidly and Seymour becomes a local celebrity. Seymour soon attempts to ask Audrey out, but she turns him down because she has a date with her violent, sadistic dentist boyfriend Orin Scrivello (Steve Martin). Despite this, Audrey is interested in Seymour, as well as dreams of marrying him and escaping Skid Row. After Seymour closes up shop, Audrey II (Levi Stubbs) begins to talk to Seymour, demanding more blood than Seymour can give. The plant proposes Seymour murder someone in exchange for fame and fortune: Seymour initially refuses, but agrees upon witnessing Orin slapping Audrey.
After Orin was finished with his patient, Arthur Denton (Bill Murray), who requested “a long, slow, root canal”, Seymour books an appointment with Orin and arms himself with a revolver: however, he cannot bring himself to use it. Orin, who abuses nitrous oxide, puts on a type of venturi mask to receive a constant flow of the gas. Accidentally breaking an intake valve and unable to remove the mask, Orin begs Seymour for help removing it as Seymour just stands there. When Orin asks Seymour what he ever did to him, Seymour replies, “Nothing, it’s what you did to her.” Orin dies from asphyxiation and Seymour drags his body back to Audrey II. While dismembering the body for the plant, Seymour is unknowingly spotted by Mushnik, who flees in fear.
After feeding Orin’s parts to Audrey II, Seymour discovers the police investigating Orin’s disappearance. Audrey, feeling guilty about wishing Orin would disappear, is comforted by Seymour and the two admit their feelings for each other. That night, Mushnik confronts Seymour, about what he witnessed, and is prepared to report him to the police for the murder of Orin. Holding Seymour at gunpoint, Mushnik offers to help him escape, in exchange for plant and the routine on how to care for it, but if Seymour refuses, they go to the police. Out of options, Seymour gives a fake care plan for the plant, and causes Mushnik to back into Audrey II’s open mouth, who then devours Mushnik.
Despite widespread success, Seymour worries about Audrey II’s growth and insatiable appetite. Offered money and a contract for a botany TV show, Seymour plans to escape Skid Row with Audrey using the money, leaving the plant to starve. After Audrey accepts Seymour’s marriage proposal, Audrey II catches Seymour leaving and demands another meal: Seymour agrees, but insists on meat from a butcher. While Seymour is gone, the plant calls Audrey, coaxes her into the shop and then tries to eat her. Seymour, returning in time to save Audrey, escapes the store with her. Explaining that he fed the plant to become successful and win Audrey’s heart, Seymour discovers she has always liked him. Approached by an executive from a botanical company named Patrick Martin (James Belushi), Seymour is offered a contract to breed Audrey II and sell the saplings worldwide. Seymour then realizes he must destroy Audrey II and the plant’s plans for planetary domination.
Confronting Audrey II, Seymour learns the plant is in reality an alien from outer space. Trapping Seymour, Audrey II collapses the store, attempting to kill him. Seymour, trapped under debris, grabs an exposed electrical cable and electrocutes Audrey II, causing it to explode. Leaving the destroyed shop, Seymour safely reunites with Audrey. The two wed and move to the suburbs: arriving at their new home, which is the one seen in Audrey’s daydreams, a smiling Audrey II bud can be seen among the flowers in their front yard.
Some of the Characters:
Rick Moranis (Seymour Krelborn) was born April 18, 1953. He is a Canadian actor, screenwriter and songwriter. He came to prominence in the sketch comedy series Second City Television (SCTV) in the 1980’s and later appeared in several Hollywood films, including Strange Brew (1983), Ghostbusters (1984), Spaceballs (1987), Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (and its sequels), Parenthood (1989), My Blue Heaven (1990), and The Flintstones (1994). In 1997, Moranis began an 18-year-long hiatus from acting to raise his children as a widowed father. He has not appeared in a live-action film since, although he has provided voice-over work for a few animated films, released comedy albums and made appearances at fan conventions.
Ellen Greene (Audrey) was born on February 22, 1951, and is an American singer and actress. Greene has had a long and varied career as a singer, particularly in cabaret, as an actress and singer in numerous stage productions, particularly musical theater, as well as having performed in many films, and television programs. From 2007 to 2009, she starred as Vivian Charles on the ABC series, Pushing Daisies.The energetic Brooklyn-born Ellen Greene had already made a name for herself with a prolific career in both singing and stage before she made her film debut in Paul Mazursky’s Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976). Having already performed the role of Audrey in the musical comedy “Little Shop of Horrors” (1982). She reprised the role in Frank Oz’s film adaptation of Little Shop of Horrors (1986). While Ellen has first and foremost been a product of the stage, we should acknowledge her performances before-the-camera in Talk Radio (1988), Stepping Out (1991), and ABC’s adored and well received Pushing Daisies (2007). She played the role of the agoraphobic Vivian Charles.
Steve Martin (Orin Scrivello – D.D.S.) was born on August 14, 1945 in Waco, Texas, USA as Stephen Glenn Martin. He is a writer and actor, known for The Jerk (1979), Shopgirl (2005) and Bowfinger (1999). He has been married to Anne Stringfield since July 28, 2007. They have one child. He was previously married to Victoria Tennant. Martin came to public notice in the 1960’s as a writer for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and later as a frequent guest on The Tonight Show. In the 1970’s, Martin performed his offbeat, absurdist comedy routines before packed houses on national tours. Since the 1980’s, having branched away from stand-up comedy, Martin has become a successful actor, as well as an author, playwright, pianist and banjo player, eventually earning him an Emmy, Grammy and American Comedy awards, among other honors. In 2004, Comedy Central ranked Martin at sixth place in a list of the 100 greatest stand-up comics. He was awarded an Honorary Academy Award at the Academy’s 5th Annual Governors Awards in 2013. While he has played banjo since an early age, and included music in his comedy routines from the beginning of his professional career, he has increasingly dedicated his career to music since the 2000’s, acting less and spending much of his professional life playing banjo, recording, and touring with various bluegrass acts, including Earl Scruggs, with whom he won a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance in 2002. He released his first solo music album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, in 2009, for which he won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album.
Levi Stubbs (Audrey II the Plant) was born on June 6, 1936, and passed away October 17, 2008. He was an American baritone singer, best known as the lead vocalist of the R&B group the Four Tops, a band known for a variety of Motown hit records and other songs created in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The power of Stubbs’ emotional, often dramatic vocals have received praise from many critics over the years; for example, Allmusic’s Ed Hogan has remarked that Stubbs’ had a “pleading urgency in his voice that perfectly captured the longing anxiousness of the songs written by the producing trio of Holland-Dozier-Holland”. As well, War band member Lonnie Jordan told Billboard.com he felt “blessed” to meet Stubbs and thought that the Four Tops singer’s “voice was so good he was just, like, from another planet.” He was also a voice artist in film and animated television series, most famously having provided the voice of the alien plant in the 1986 comedic horror film Little Shop of Horrors (an adaption of the stage musical of the same name) as well as Mother Brain in the 1989 TV series Captain N: The Game Master. Stubbs was admired by his peers for his impressive vocal range, having influenced many later pop and soul artists such as Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates. Stubbs had five children. Living in Detroit, Michigan for much of his life, including his last days, he was married to Clineice Stubbs for over forty years until his death. His last performance was at the Four Tops’ “50th Anniversary Concert” on July 28, 2004 at the Detroit Opera House.
Did You Know?
As part of the film’s promotion, the “Audrey II” plant was occasionally interviewed, in character, by the press. On at least one occasion, the interview concluded with Audrey II “eating” the interviewer.
It supposedly took Steve Martin six weeks to film all his scenes. He contributed ideas such as socking the nurse in the face (originally he was to knock her out using his gas mask) and ripping off the dolls head.
Frank Oz originally wanted the Greek Chorus (Crystal, Ronette and Chiffon) to be highlighted by a spotlight whenever they appeared, but this proved to be impractical as the light would spill over onto the other actors. He did manage to have them ‘magically’ remain dry during the rain storm in the title number.
The film inspired a board game by Milton Bradley called “Feed Me!”, which came out in 1987, which players had to drop marbles in the giant fly trap’s mouth.
Audrey’s on-camera growth at the end of “Grow for Me” was achieved by placing the plant on a track concealed by the flower pot and then drawing it closer to the camera.
The filmmakers originally offered the role of Audrey to Cyndi Lauper, before casting original stage star Ellen Greene. Madonna was also reportedly considered for the role.
The neon sign “CHOOZ” blinks the “OZ”; director Frank Oz’s surname.
The movie takes place in the early 1960’s in New York City and features a “total eclipse of the sun”. There was no such eclipse any time in the 1960’s. The most recent total solar eclipse visible from New York City was on Jan 24, 1925.
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