Sunday, June 5, 2011

CORMANIA 2011 #11 - Little Shop of Horrors

3.20pm - Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
Our King's role: Director and producer
Cast: Jonathon Haze (IT CONQUERED THE WORLD), Jackie Joseph (GREMLINS), Mel Welles (ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS), Dick Miller (BUCKET OF BLOOD), Jack Nicholson (THE SHINING).

Plot: Seymour (Haze) is a klutz who works in a skid row florist shop. He can't seem to do anything right, until he brings in a strange plant that grows after eating human blood. He names it Audrey 2, after the daughter (Joseph) of the store owner (Welles). It begins attracting onlookers and bolstering the store's business, making Seymour more popular than ever. But he has to keep feeding Audrey 2 human flesh to keep it alive, and sooner or later that's going to be a problem.

- Full disclosure: I have never seen this version. I've seen the 1980s musical remake, but not this one.
- Animation opening to show "skid row". I guess it was the cheap option. Apparently this movie was made in two days, so plenty of shortcuts had to be taken.
- Dick Miller on screen right away, seguing us nicely from Chopping Mall.
- Mel Welles is great as the harangued shop owner, providing most of the early laughs.
- I'm a huge fan of the Gremlins movies, but up until now didn't realise that the old couple (Dick Miller and Jackie Joseph) in Gremlins had appeared together in this film. It's always great to find out about hidden homages like that.
- "Feeeeeed me".
- Ah, the famous Jack Nicholson appearance as Wilbur Force, the sadomasochist dental patient. Good stuff.
- Just noticed on IMDB that Audrey 2's voice was provided by screenwriter Charles Griffith. Another similarity to our last movie (where writer and director Jim Wynorski voiced the killbots).
- So many great, wacky characters. The old lady whose relatives keep dying is fun, as is Seymour's hypocondriac mother.
- Hey, I guess you really are what you eat.

Overall thoughts: What a fun way to finish this marathon. I had read enough over the years to know that this original Little Shop of Horrors wasn't a musical, but I was also expecting it to be lacking in the comedy department. Boy was I wrong. This one's funny from start to finish, with great, quirky characters. Coming a year after Bucket of Blood, it's in the same vein, centring around a bumbling klutz who gains popularity by accident (through art in BoB and the plant in this one) and has to kill to keep that popularity going. Black comedy at its best!

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